All too often it seems, the pressing issues of the day that demand the attention of us all, are just too vast, too remote, too mind-bogglingly complex, that that attention is left wanting. We leave it to ‘them’ – to governments, corporations, our formal institutions, and so on - to fix the changing climate, the threats to world peace, the instabilities of financial systems, the loss of biodiversity and the quality of the environment. We feel overwhelmed not just by the immensity of the challenges but also by the sheer volume of the noise of information, knowledge, attitudes, opinions, mindsets and biases that fills the air of the ecosystems of the media upon which we increasingly rely for the basis of our decisions about how we should be better living our lives.
But then, on the rarest of occasions, come individuals and community groups that challenge that status quo: Inspired and inspiring people who shift the focus from the global to the local in taking informed actions that illustrate what can and should be done to right systemic wrongs.
Richard’s guest in this episode provides just such an inspiration. For many years, Dr John Drinan, scientist, writer, environmentalist, farmer, and genuinely concerned citizen, has, with others, been actively highlighting the many environmental, social and economic impacts of coal mining on the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales. John is the author of a recently published outstanding book, The Sacrificial Valley, in which he eloquently and passionately describes the complexities of the changes that the open mining of coal has brought to his ‘homeland’ and the role that corporations and governments have played in contributing to the circumstances where: “Once-grand landscapes are gone, replaced by featureless ridges and mountainous piles of spoil, interrupted by man-made drainage lines and huge empty hole in the ground. Streams above and below ground are broken and contaminated. The air is filthy”.