There's a rally in our town tomorrow. A rally to save Spring Creek, a rally to save our town. A rally where already I see our young people discovering something worth fighting for. The older people in this town already know it is worth fighting for.
Maybe, if you've known me a long time, or read my blog in earlier years, you wonder where my greenie principles have gone.
Like many women, I honed my greenie interests and passion as a new mother, thinking at home instead of being out at work, looking for a better future for my children and grandchildren by treasuring the natural resources in our world. I used cloth nappies, grew vegetables, made food from scratch as much as possible, experimented with home made lotions and potions and campaigned for better recycling facilities.
Tomorrow's rally is also about creating a better world for our children, for the young and old, those single and those in families, in Greymouth. I do realise that coal is vilified with reason in green circles and academic literature. When I look around me and see so many people dependent on Spring Creek for work, contemplate so much loss to our community if Spring Creek closes, I cannot consider the "green" argument (not that Solid Energy is either).
My Dad was a freezing worker from when I was four years old until I was 31. I remember listening carefully as freezing works around the country closed, and communities suffered. I remember Islington, in particular, closing, as my uncle and one of cousins worked there. My uncle, I later learned, never really recovered from the loss of the mateship that he experienced at Islington. His son, who had a large and young family at the time, went to Western Australia and never came back.
The freezing works in Nelson is still going, albeit in dramatically changed form. The axe swung above it many times, and although that was worrying for our family and for our community, I never experienced something as central to a small, isolated community as the mines are here on the West Coast.
It is hard to put a percentage on how many people I know, who stand to be out of work by the end of this month, and how many more by the end of the year. But I do know that everywhere I go, whether to work, to the primary school, to the supermarket or into town, I see many people who will be directly affected. I worry about our hospital, a service which wasn't guaranteed in its current form even before the series of recent announcements from Solid Energy.
12pm @ the skatepark, Greymouth, Tuesday 4 September 2012.