I'm probably what you'd describe as a lukewarm activist. Never one for crowds, slogans and rallies, I prefer to let my consumer persona do the talking. I have steadily imposed a personal bouycott on so many unethical and/or environmentally damaging brands over the last 20 years that there are certain supermarket aisles I now no longer even bother with. Then there's my attempts to live life 'plastic lite'. The fact that I don't own a TV. Trying to support small businesses. Cleaning up beaches. Buying a lot of goods secondhand. Donating to environmental groups. Writing letters. Getting three degrees in environmental science...that kind of thing.

Still, I've always tried to bring a scientific balance to my inner knee jerk hippie that likes to commune with nature and eternally wonders where 'everything else' is meant to live. I try to consider the reality of development in the face of a growing global population as well as recognizing the mineral, petroleum and energy resources that, as a citizen of a developed country, I use every day.

But every now and then I hear of a proposal so idiotic that even I have to haul butt out to a demonstration. In the last 3 months I've joined in on two rallies, the first was a demand for increased investment in solar and a move away from the frightening  and recent increase in fracking, while today's outing was in response to what must be the most insane development idea I've heard since London's mayor Boris Johnson thought a third airport terminal in the middle of the Thames could be a goer.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Nightcliff Island

An idea so unconventional that many people initially thought it was a joke (and I still have problems believing it isn't to be honest). A sprawling development proposed for the middle of the Nightcliff/Coconut Grove mudflats, surrounded by mangroves, in a storm surge zone. In a part of the world where cyclones occasionally visit.

Part of today's protest invited residents to take part in a short walk around the mangroves to help people appreciate first hand the kind of amazing habitat we have around our foreshore. By Darwin standards it was a massive turnout, several hundred people turned up to voice their concerns and opposition to the project, as well as the complete lack of consultation with the public that has been a feature of this process to date.

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em

That said, I do have serious doubts such a project would ever go ahead. Though some idiots locals are for the idea, I think that the majority of residents in the area would be strongly opposed if it ever got green-lighted. The increasing rapid pace of development around our harbour is already a concern for many, particularly since the approval of a major gas pipeline operation a couple of years ago. These types of projects are not only putting increasing pressure on our prized local fisheries but also threaten many of our region's endangered species such as dugongs and turtles. Although there have already been accusations from those in government of opponents being 'anti jobs' (*cough* Darwin's current unemployment rate is less than 2%), it's not the idea of developing Darwin that is a concern, but the scope, pace and sustainability of these plans. Currently one of Australia's most ecologically healthy capital cities, this paradise is on a fast track to being paved over.

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Til it's gone


  1. nice to have an inside view of our Northern capital. Sydney is still waiting for its second airport, after 40years of squabbling the politicians still can't decide where to put it. Its even been suggested that it be a floating one out in the ocean??

  2. Our own airport is causing issues here too. It's smack bang in amongst the northern suburbs with a growing urban population surrounding it. Not only that but the runoff from this increasing development in the catchment is starting to have an impact on our largest city creek system too (sigh, one more thing I have been lending my protest voice to lately!) Also we have a lot of army training exercises around the middle of the year - fighter jets taking off every evening? Not ideal...Our urban sprawl is certainly starting to strain at its seams.