Bibra Drive Protest

Some writing and media from our protest over wetland and tree clearing on Bibra Drive 16th to 29th of November 2018. 



Death Row, Bibra Drive

Camped beneath the ‘eastern states’ tree,

a snake and Doug and Fox and Jan and me.

Camped under a tree that we know will be bulldozed, 

the red bleeds as the arms are severed, the fingers

there’s bastardry in those white dongas

and the State Security sniffed at the air with forked tongues

duplicitous, but uncompromised, 

and as the Mueller investigation comes to a head, 

and the Extinction Rebellion grows in the UK

there is the sound of motorbike frogs

awkwardly reversing, retreating, as the bobcat

prepares the pavement for landing. 


At 4am I cannot sleep, soon our shelter will sleep forever.

Sarah’s tree will sleep forever. Main Roads are waiting. 

We know their tricks. The dozers will mobilise 

as soon as we move on to protect the other wetlands. 


Some of the drivers can’t wait. Some aren’t so sure, now. 


A little film by Natasha:


A Report

Fumes and sand flick

between the temp fence grid, 

across Bibra Dr, and over the wetlands,

over our tents, into our faces. 

I know now, as the sand, 

from a mine further south, 

where banksia once grew, 

is piled high, and the dump truck

reverses in with that reaper-like gasp  

hurh Hurh hurh, I can feel the loss,

because I can clearly see 

what will happen, the temp fence 

will be removed, Bibra Dr 

will be closed and the great Cats, 

yellow, like the sand, like bile, 

will gasp their way across the threshold

and expand into the wetland, 

going the wrong way, in reverse,

as always, as we know the wetlands 

must be reclaiming the roads, 

that the loss must be replaced with gain,

that the drift into adjectives 

will be permissible for a while, 

that celebrate and relax 

might be used in our lexicon. 

Until then I’ll sit in the grey dirt,

where someone has inserted 

a love heart out of flower pods, 

and watch for the fencing 

contractors to open the access gate. 

I wish I had better news. 


The Ways Part – Bibra Drive Widens

High in the rushes, deep in the swamp

the reeds scatter, breeze bends,

eight wolf spider eyes glow and glisten

they reflect like Vic’s jacket,

as he brings the dawn and a song

and we duck behind bushes

as the tyres and headlights approach 

as the perpendicular floodlight 

lights up the Lilly Pilly

and Nicole, black, from head to toe

does a child pose, her nose sniffs the soil

and she closes her eyelids

and I see that her desire to ‘fuck shit up’, 

is her voice not being heard,

her dreams undreamt

her scars revealed, her tattoos fading

in the dying days of Beeliar wetlands. 

We weren’t reflective like wolf spider eyes

or Vic’s jacket, we shook the space

around the steel, we shook off

our traumas to prevent future traumas.

That’s our truth; we know the quendas

are watching, Corina said the tiger snakes 

will share the swamp with us, and Amanda 

works within that reptilian charm, 

and when Dougie whips out his eight inch …

lens, he zooms in on the greenheaded gum hopper;

what he sees is clues, 

what he has found in this neglected nook 

is a place to turn to, to make sense

of what’s beyond our comprehension

to transfigure the fabric into a tent

to capture the insects before extinction. 

The tree sitter, Sarah, who knows 

the jiddy jiddy twist, ohh jiddy jiddy proud and puffed

who smile with grasshoppers in their beaks

their black burns holes in our chests,

damsels and dragonflies grow in our stomachs

for now the Main Roads fauna fence is up

lacking support we lost the wetland;

we’re as hollow as a fuel tank,

as if we could’ve done more

as if our chats and attitudes 

and arguments and lost lighters

could have lit a path, could’ve been refueled, 

that the arrestables were replaceable. 

We were born in mud, as our lungs grew

we knew we weren’t born Olympians

or politicians, in darkness we held this space, 

we stretched the fibres, we felt the leaves 

shield skin from burning rays, 

and as the distance from trunk to trunk widened, 

the road widened the seasons widened – 

our lungs had to widen to take deeper breathes. 

But now you’re about to go 

you’ll turn your sun burnt face and take your medicine,

and make jokes about your bucket of poo

and reminisce about how the bucket snagged 

on branch and the piss nearly exploded on Doug’s head, 

or you’ll return, gradually, to a non-frazzled brain, 

to quiet hours where your brain is a unified page, 

not sticky notes, but we can sense, 

as the wolf spider eyes glow, that soon the shit will hit the fan, 

that craziness, spacelessness 

and fractures will be the new norm. 


The Bibra Drive Declaration

For too long we have lived in hope.

In primary school we were warned about global warming.

We were told about the importance of pollution.

We were told that trees turn carbon into oxygen.

For too long we have listened attentively for tiny glimpses of the truth, for signs that our politicians ‘get it’ – that they understand the ecological crisis Western Australia faces.

We have held our breath hoping for the signs that change is upon us, that the environment and the place where we live is valued, and that what climate science is telling us is to be taken seriously, and discussed out in the open.

We have held our breathe that the government with all of its powers and contacts will utilise their own institutions to tell the people, to tell us, that the problem is real, that the graphs are not fake, and that, indeed, the planet is warming beyond our control, and the gases are increasing beyond our control, and the oceans are rising beyond our control, and that we humans will have done irreversible damage to our atmosphere and that soon our ecosystems will collapse.

We have listened to the elders who have been silenced since the first tall ship arrived.

We see, day after day, our brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles and aunties depressed and detached and suicidal, hopeless and worried.

We no longer see migratory honey eaters return year after year to nest where Main Roads have chainsawed and mulched native bush for tarmac.

We have heard the cries of the dying cockatoo.

We have seen the tiger snake and the bobtail lizard flattened on car tyres.

We still see attacks on the wonderful great white shark.

We have smelt the smells of our forests lit up in flames as the fires they have lit drift over our homes.

We have seen the bones of the kangaroo, who tried to run from the fires lit by our government departments, and had a choice of jumping off a cliff and into the ocean, or face the flames that burnt their home.

We have stood by as the executive have been used like pawns to stop us from trying to stop the bulldozers destroying the existence of one wetland after another, one woodland after another, one forest after another.

We have listened to the judiciary claim that their hands are tied. That until the laws are changed they are powerless to prevent more destruction. That environmental offsets do not replace the habitats that are lost. Habitats that we depend on for food and water.

We have listened to the judges and lawyers who agree with us that ten cricket ovals a week cleared along the Swan Coastal plain is unacceptable.

It is not inconceivable to imagine suburbs stretch from Albany to Geraldton. For almost all of the heath land and banksia woodland to be bulldozed. The master plan handed down from our planners anticipates a scorched earth policy such as this. But this will not happen. There is not enough time. The environmental crisis it to urgent. The situation is too deadly. Our premier knows this. Our prime minister knows this.

We have seen continued attacks on the Great Western Woodlands.

Today we have heard that fracking will be allowed in the Kimberley, and that the Browse Basin will be mined for gas.

We have seen EPA approvals rushed through parliament to allow uranium mining up in the Kimberley and in the great Yilgarn block.

We have heard our representatives say they want more defence funding to build more warships and tanks in Henderson, south of Fremantle.

We have heard our representatives say that they are ready for war and to fight injustice wherever they see injustice across the globe.

But we have not seen our representatives use those same resources, and that same money to fight a bigger war, and a bigger problem that effects every person on this planet, the problem of the climate crisis and species extinction.

We have been blind to their language that invites a rhetoric of conflict and division.

A language that leads us away from peaceful protest and pacifism.

They make us believe that we should lose the ‘battle’ to win the ‘war’.

But everyday there is a new battle that we are told we should let go.

We are told we should let Bibra Drive be built, and that there are more precious places to preserve.

We are told we should let the wetlands on Armadale Road be smashed.

We are told that Great Northern Hwy should be widened and that the frogs and snakes that live there were an unfortunate casualty.

We are told that the ‘battle’ of Brixton Street Wetlands is one we should let go, there is a more important war to win.

But we don’t agree.

We do not agree that we have time to deliberate about how deadly our situation is.

For too long we have believed that our representatives will make the right deals and put people before profit.

But from now on we will not just defend ourselves from the rapacious machines and unwieldy planners who seek to destroy our wetlands, our lungs.

We demand that our governments place a moratorium on clearing any more land.

We demand that our government do no deals with those who value profit over clean air.

We demand a cultural change within the intuitions, organisations, and companies whose operations impact the natural environment.

We understand that you can’t go around what you cannot see.

We know that Main Roads do not see trees.

Main Roads do not see wetlands.

Main Roads do not see forests.

Main Roads can not change until they apologise for the wrongs they have done to the ancient land that is Western Australia.

A land that is unique and diverse and awe inspiring.

But Western Australia is not infinite. Western Australia is not ‘hardy’ and invincible.

For too long our governments have preyed on our defensiveness and our infighting, and cut down the trees when we were at work, or when we are asleep.

For too long our politicians have been more concerned with the security of their seats, rather than the security of the trees in the soil.

For too long our politicians have resigned to a culture that enables more and more trees to be cut down.

We know that salinity is too great a problem to be tackled.

Climate change is too great a problem to be tackled.

Main Roads is too big a problem to be tackled.

We say we have no choice.

We say that Bibra Drive is the line that cannot be crossed.

We no longer live in hope.

We will put our bodies on the line.

We will protect the wetlands at all costs.

James Quinton

25 Nov 2018

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close