WE HAVE come to a critical point in the community conversation about the establishment of an AGL gas terminal at Crib Point on Western Port Bay. The issue has been in our awareness for years, but we have a short window now to gather our collective strength, listen to the science and do what we feel the future is asking of us.
My husband Terry and I live on Phillip Island (Millowl) and we love Western Port Bay (Warn’Marring). We love its beauty and its stillness and we love its birds. It is from this place of love that we have been writing songs, making films and bringing community members together in response to AGL’s proposal.
The COVID times we are living through have heightened our perceptions of what matters most and how interconnected we all are. The economic imperative is not the main narrative here. It is life itself and our collective responsibility to care for it. Wendell Berry has a version of the golden rule that applies in this situation. ‘Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you’, he writes. ‘Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.’
We want to celebrate the richness of life in Western Port Bay and stand up for its protection. Here are links to three of Terry’s films which contain songs from the Western Port Bay Song Cycle.
We will be including links to these films and songs in our written response to the Environmental Effects Statement and the call for submissions which is open and receiving submissions until August 26.
Here are SoundCloud links, descriptions and lyrics of the seven songs in the Western Port Bay Song Cycle.
1 Time to See
Migratory birds enlarge our worlds. They connect us to places across the planet and to those who share our love for them.
2 Flowing On
Everything is interconnected. The past flows into the future, carrying the memories and the stories of the living beings who have preceded us.
3 No Way
Some things in life are so precious, they are priceless. The AGL’s proposed gas facility in Western Port Bay highlights the question of what we value most.
4 Beautiful Bay
Clean water is central to all of life, everywhere. It is the source of life. There is a Slovakian proverb which says, ‘Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine’.
5 Taking a Stand
As we witness the damage being done to the Earth, we are all diminished. We experience the sense of loss and it is profound.
6 Out on the Bay
Life has its own rhythm. The seasons and the cycles of the natural world keep it steady and balanced.
We are in relationship with Country. First Nations people around the world wait for us to listen and learn and so does the Earth.
If you would like to write a response to the Environmental Effects Statement, Environment Victoria is hosting a submission-writing workshop on Zoom for the AGL campaign on August 17, 12 - 1:30pm. Register here.
Submissions are going to be reviewed by an Inquiry and Advisory Committee, led by the Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne. A directions hearing will be held on September 17, followed by a public hearing starting on October 12 which is likely to run for eight weeks.
We are sharing these films and songs with the community and with decision-makers as an act of hope and in solidarity with the natural world. In Albert Einstein’s words, it is time to ‘widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.'
We warmly encourage you to take your place in this widening circle of compassion and to raise your voices on behalf of Western Port Bay.