The Man Who Stares at Cockatoos

(Dana’s friend feeding bread to the cockatoos on her porch. Photos from his Australia tour.)

Lock the Gate to Coal Seam Gas Drilling/Fracking, Queensland, AU

Dana meets with farmers, ranchers, naturalists, and activisits in Queensland, Australia to learn about their efforts to keep coal seam gas drilling (fracking) out of their communities.

Dana, Nat McGhee & Rod Anderson

Dana with farmer Rod Anderson and rancher Nat McGhee discussing the impact of coal seam gas drilling (fracking) on their animals. Nat explained that if his well water (which takes care of 500 of his cows) is polluted by coal seam gas drilling 20 km away in the same aquifer, the cows won’t drink it. That would reduce his heard by 80% and put his 4th generation ranch out of business. Both have “Lock The Gate” signs on their front gates.

Rod Anderson locks the gate

Farmer and carpenter Rod Anderson poses with a “Lock The Gate” sign in front of his farm in the Kerry Valley of southern Queensland, Australia. As we drove through southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, hundreds of farms had the yellow triangle “Lock The Gate” signs on their fences. Farmers are worried that fracking and drilling will damage local wells and the aquifer, poisoning the water for their families, beef cattle, and dairy cows.

Dairy farmers lock the gate

Dairy farmers against gas drilling and fracking: Lock The Gate in the Kerry Valley, Queensland, Australia.

Farm after farm locks the gate

Farm after farm “Locks The Gate” to coal andgas companies, Kerry Valley, Queensland, Australia.

Dana, Drew, Bob & Dayne

Dana, Lock The Gate President Drew Hutton, naturalist Bob Irwin (Steve Irwin’s dad), and blockader Dayne Pratzky at Tara, Queensland gas fields.

Drew Hutton & Bob Irwin

Lock The Gate President Drew Hutton and naturalist Bob Irwin (Steve Irwin’s dad) filming a segment for YouTube to raise awareness about the giant gas fields being built on state park land and private land in southern Queensland, Australia.In Australia, international mining corporations can drill on private or public land without the permission of the owner. Lock The Gate, an amazing coalition of farmers, greenies, hippies, back to the landers, and trade workers, are organizing street by street, community by community to help communities fight back. Many communities have voted over 80% against the coal seam gas drilling, which threatens the aquifer, the drinking water supplies, their property values, and the way of life in small Australian rural communities.

No Smoking CSG

No Smoking Please (while visiting the coal seam gas fields): 27,000 workers have descended on the tiny town of Tara, Queensland, Australia to drill and frack for coal seam gas (natural gas). The gas can now be found bubbling up through the local river, through the ground, in people’s well water, etc. Cigarette anyone?

Lock the Gate basecamp kitchen

Concerned citizens from around Australia come to camp at the coal seam gas blockade base camp in Tara, Queensland. Every week or so, folks will go out and block the roads to slow the efforts of international mining companies to drill on private property, often against the will of the land owners. While the blockaders in Tara haven’t yet been successful in shutting down the drilling companies entirely, they have been successful in keeping them off of some private land holdings. Lock The Gate organizers in Northern Rivers, New South Wales were successful in blockading the drill companies, keeping them out of their communities, and were also instrumental in causing the stock price of one drilling company to drop from 56 cents a share to 8 cents a share. That company has pulled out of the region and, for the time being, no other drilling company has attempted to drill in that region.

For more info about Lock the Gate: http://www.lockthegate.org.au/