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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Sticking the knife in: the Coalmonster, the CSG Daemon and us

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David Lowe and Eve Jeffery are Cloudcatcher Media. See them on Facebook or at cloudcatchermedia.com.
David Lowe and Eve Jeffery are Cloudcatcher Media. See them on Facebook or at cloudcatchermedia.com.

Eve Jeffery


I am getting fairly pissed off – I am just saying that at the outset so you don’t read to the end and get shirty when you find out that the person I am pissed off with is you.

The Coalmonster and the CSG Daemon are devouring the guts of our planet and it’s pretty much your fault (and mine). You either consume too much, and/or you voted for the morons who sold us out for 30 pieces of silver.

By day I am moody-mannered photojournalist for the best news publication on the planet – yes, The Echo – and by night I am an even moodier, meaner and crankier doco maker. Award-winning filmmaker David Lowe and I teamed up 18 months ago to create independent production company Cloudcatcher Media, to make some dollars in the most ethical way we can from the commercial sector to help us finance our mission of sticking the knife in the Coalmonster and finishing off the CSG Daemon.

In my other ‘job’ as an artivist, I spend a lot of time interviewing farmers and people who live off the land, people who grow food so we don’t have to get our lily-white paws muddy. Sure, a lot of those farmers grow animals for the dead-flesh-eaters market and there is a fair amount of scary chemicals used in Australian farming. Sometimes it does feel like we are fighting for the lesser of two evils, but these extraordinary men and women are trying their damnedest to make it work. They don’t always get it right but they are constantly educating themselves about sustainable practices and are working their butts off to put food in your bowl.

From Tara to Bowral and from Byron to Breeza (via Gloucester, the Pilliga, Doubtful Creek, Glenugie, Brisbane, the growing cesspit of frack wells in Queensland and the list goes on…), David and I and our team have filmed the wins and losses and the tragic and heroic battles of the people of this country against the carnage our elected officials are visiting upon us. Between us we’ve seen a lot – terrible wars lost to black pits and humans standing up to the man and woman while ‘Confusing Them with Our Joy’.

We – when I say ‘we’ I mean humanity – had a win at Bentley. The vote came in, the shareholders cut their losses and Metgasco has been sent packing. I’m super happy about that. Yay!

Then, we all went home and saluted the yellow triangle on our letterboxes as we passed through a gate onto manicured lawns, we sat down to our steak dinner while we flicked on the telly, cracked another ice-cold Moet or Perry and felt very satisfied with our hard day at the office. The problem is, some other poor bastard in Hopeland or the Hunter is paying for the sizzle in your snag or the chill on your brew.

NIMBY or what?

I love a sunburnt country – that’s the first clue, right. The trick word here is ‘sunburnt’. That’s the part where the sun comes into it. That is, the actual big fireball in the sky that gives thousands of us ultraviolet cancer on a regular basis. Every day a gazillion rays go to waste on car, house, factory, bus and sunshade roofs. We have wide expanses of asphalt crisscrossing this wide brown land, roads that should go solar!

I love the sound of a wind farm in the morning.

We have so many non-violent sources of energy generation in this country that we have no excuse to dig a hole or tap that gas; we are just bloody-minded fools!

When I am prime mistress, it will be illegal to have aircon blasting and the door of your business, house, day-care centre, or prison open. The Byron vibers and Mullum cool cats for all their hippy-ippyness are the worst offenders. Can’t have shoppers buying their mung beans and nag champa without the lure of breezy shopping-ness-ess casting its icy tentacles through the beaded curtains.

When I rule the world there will be no question about it. All houses will have solar panels that either feed back into the grid, keep at least one appliance in the house going or, even better, powering their entire life. Seriously, I have heard that you can make the idiot box work from an exercise bike – a great lesson for the kiddies: you want it? Earn it.

If humans did just one small thing and closed the door on aircon, that would be a huge slap in the face for the Coalmonster. You can conserve energy. If you can’t kick your addiction to destructive power you can at least moderate your fix and save a few corn fields and chickpea crops on the way.

It is possible to live off the grid – it just takes some management. I know, I know – storage cells and what watts and stuff like that. If you are even vaguely a soccer mum, you can do this! A few panels on the roof, a nice genny for emergencies and awareness enough to turn off the lights when you don’t need them can make one helluva difference.

The real truth is: Gaia doesn’t give a shit.

We need Earth but you can be damn sure she doesn’t need us. She will be here long after humankind is next week’s coal deposit. We can rape and pillage, torture and tear her but at the end of the day, at the dawn of human extinction, Mother Earth will simply chew her gum, click her fingers and say, ‘Next.’

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