This article first appeared in The Echo in August 2019
No matter which way you look at it, the statistics around poker machines are devastating. Every day, money is wasted, homes are gambled away, families are broken and lives are lost.
The suicide of a mate in 2001 prompted local filmmaker David Lowe to write about the subject and when the opportunity came up to put an anti-pokies message on the big and small screen, Welcome To The Machine was made…READ MORE
Thinking about going off grid? ‘Do it!’, says local filmmaker David Lowe.
‘Being responsible for your own power (and water, waste, food etc) is a beautiful and life-affirming thing,’ says Lowe. ‘In terms of solar power, I’ve been living this way for over ten years.’
Lowe is just one of a growing number of people who are using the sun to power their lives by living off the grid or using grid-connected solar power…READ MORE
As part of the current exhibition, Protest Songs: Artful Actions at Lismore Regional Gallery and its sister exhibition, Artful Actions at Lismore City Hall, the gallery has commissioned two films by local filmmaker David Lowe which provide two very different portraits of Benny Zable and Greedozer/Fossil Fool, the iconic characters Benny plays in his protest performances.…READ MORE
By way of an apology to my children.
There are no words to express my sorrow toward all earthlings.
I wasn’t always a vegan.
I am happy to admit I was wrong.
Not many vegans have been a vegan all their life. Mind you, I have been speaking to some families who have happy healthy teenage children who have never consumed animal products – but, for the majority of us, being a vegan is something we have come to later in life.
Like ex-smokers or ex-alcoholics, ex-carnivores can be a little bit ‘militant’ when it comes to their food choices because we’ve seen the light, or maybe, we’ve seen too much of the dark…
The buzz on bees
As I said in last month’s Being Vegan, one of the questions I get asked a lot is: why don’t vegans use eggs and honey?
Again, my personal reason for being a vegan is because I believe all the creatures on this planet are earthlings and as such we all deserve equal rights.
When it comes to consuming anything that belongs to another earthling, I ask myself: what was this ‘food’ item intended for? What was it created for?…READ MORE
Chickens are birds too!
One of the questions I get asked a lot is: Why don’t vegans use eggs and honey?
The answer is not complicated, but it does take a bit of explaining, and usually the short answer draws ‘yes, but what about?’ questions…READ MORE
The first thing that people usually say when the subject of my veganism comes up is ‘Where do you get your protein from?’.
Actually that’s not totally true – usually, the first thing people say is ‘but what about bacon?’, and to be totally honest, when I was an omnivore that was a question I asked.
The protein comment usually comes second and I could pretty much almost guarantee that just about every vegan has been asked this question.
I’m not going to acknowledge the first question which is more about hurting someone’s feelings than about the taste of charred pig flesh, but I can address the second.…READ MORE
Though the days are warm, the nights are still very cold and will be for a couple of months to come.
For people sleeping rough, this is a really hard time of year and services for the homeless and needy are stretched to their limits.
The problem of homelessness is not getting any closer to being solved; in fact the opposite is the case and it’s difficult to accurately gather statistics because of the nature of homelessness…
Veteran environmental campaigner Murray Muzz Drechsler has joined the Extinction Rebellion holacracy, in an effort to make governments at every level sit up and take notice as the climate crisis becomes the climate emergency.
Drechsler says that Extinction Rebellion (XR) will be holding the Byron Shire Council accountable for their actions.
‘They have declared a climate emergency but they haven’t acted upon it. Not only have they not acted on it, they are going to clear critically endangered wetland rainforest for a bypass. That’s not going to happen'…READ MORE
If you had to walk a kilometre to pump your water from a well, do you think you would be careful how many drops you used?
If you lived in Beijing would you value clean air, or in Brazil would you hug trees? What if your turnips grew in Chernobyl soil?
Across the globe people are suffering because of greed. It’s as simple as that. You can argue about progress all you want (if I hear one more person ask me if I type my stories on a computer)…
After last week’s news that the Federal Court recognised the Native Tile of the Bundjalung People of Byron Bay, the Arakwal-Bumberbin, many are wondering what this means in terms of day-to-day life in the Byron Shire.
Australian law has recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Native Title since the historic Mabo case in 1992.
Native title is the recognition by Australian law that the Indigenous people, who were the traditional owners of an area prior to 1788, have ongoing rights and interests in land, seas, and waters that derive from their traditional laws and customs…READ MORE
In a case of ‘oh, look over there’, while we are all focussed north to Adani and the Galilee Basin, a mining company is inching its way forward out west.
The Watermark Coal Project is a proposed coal mine in the Liverpool Plains near the village of Breeza and carried out by state-owned Chinese mining company Shenhua Group…READ MORE
A tiny baby goat, tied up in a hessian bag and left on a rubbish tip in Broken Hill to die, has done more for the lives of animals and the lives of humans than she could ever have imagined.
‘Sunshine’ as she was named by Kelly Nelder, the earthling who ended up with her, was nursed back to health and was soon joined by Sugars, a (not so) mini piglet from a failed mini pig breeding business.
Sugars and her family had been sold to a man who bought pigs to butcher for meat. She was separated from her family and when she arrived on Kelly’s doorstep, she was covered in lice, cold and stressed…READ MORE
I for one was beginning to think Bob Brown was wasting his time with the Stop Adani convoy. The plan is to leave Hobart for the Galilee Basin tomorrow, April 17.
I (stupidly) assumed, with the weight of science behind it, the argument against the Carmichael mine would see the venture stopped once and for all.
For starters, the name of the area is the clue – it’s the Galilee Basin – it’s a basin, it holds water. It encompasses the headwaters of seven major river basins and includes aquifers that are a part of the Great Artesian Basin.
What could be simpler?
We are the driest continent. There is precious water in the vicinity. Leave it alone…READ MORE
Native American tribes consider the presentation of an eagle feather to be one of their highest marks of respect. A recipient would earn the feather through selfless acts of courage and honour, or be gifted them in gratitude for their work or service to their tribe.
The medicinal use of cacao originated among the Olmec, Maya, and Mexica (Aztec) peoples. It is sacred.
Didgeridoo healing is an ancient method – very few today know its true secrets.
Cultural appropriation is not cool. No, it’s not cool to get pissed and wear a war bonnet to a music festival; unless you are the product of generations of Mexicans, and no, you cannot make cacao medicine; and unless all of your ancestors were born on this country, it is not your place to put a didgeridoo on someone’s chest…READ MORE
In September 1974, a young couple, Hugh and Nan Nicholson, bought an abandoned farm at the end of Terania Creek Road adjoining Whian Whian State Forest.
They didn’t know what lay ahead. Their plan was to start a specialist rainforest nursery.
They were pioneers in the propagation and extensive use of rainforest plants in gardens and in reforestation on degraded lands, and they had made The Channon their home…READ MORE
The thing is, when you have daughters, you spend the first 20 years or so trying to stop them getting pregnant, then you spend the next 20 years hoping that they will get pregnant.
It’s funny how as prospective grandparents we feel we have so much sovereignty over our offsprings’ bodies.
It’s also funny how when we have kids we don’t have enough time for them because we’re busy doing other things and then when we have all the time in the world, we look to the little people in our lives to somehow fill the void left by what we couldn’t provide for our own children.
My children are now in their 20s and I have watched as my friends one-by-one have become grandparents, and I must admit, there has been a little touch of envy for me. I can’t wait to pinch those chubby cheeks and nibble those wiggling toes.
But, something has happened to me in the last couple of years. A sad, terrible tragedy…READ MORE
Is it a coincidence that national Anti-Poverty Week starts on the calendar the week right where Responsible Gambling Awareness Week finished off? Or that the week where we look at homelessness also falls the week after Mental Health Week?
One would have to say that two of the main contributing factors to homelessness are gambling and mental health.
Nothing makes poverty and homelessness more poignantly apparent than six days of solid rain. There’s nothing quite so sad as a homeless person bedraggled and wet.
It’s becoming far too common. I saw it today on my way into work – a man huddled on a step with a blanket around him, right in the centre of Mullumbimby…READ MORE
According to the Christian bible, the prophet Jesus tells us we must love one another. There’s no addendum stating that the love can be retracted if the recipient turns out to be LGBTQI+, that is, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other gender and sexual preferences.
Apparently a new document has superseded the ancient text – a report that suggests Jesus’ love has conditions attached.
On 22 November 2017, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, announced the appointment of an Expert Panel to examine whether Australian law adequately protects the human right to freedom of religion…READ MORE
I’m an old, fat, white chick so people get quite a shock when they have been vilifying the progeny of my ancestors and I happen to mention I am one of them – The Chinese that is.
I don’t actually look Chinese so when people are spewing their venom about Asians, they don’t think they’re offending anybody in earshot.
I don’t look vegan either, but people don’t care at all about offending them…READ MORE
I love the smell of an election in the morning… not!
I don’t get politics. I just don’t. Okay? I don’t understand the mechanics or the machinations, I don’t know my senate from my double dissolution, from my hung parliament. I don’t understand the greed. I don’t understand the dishonesty. It’s as simple as that.
My partner was born in Canberra. He lives and breathes the stuff. It’s like second English to him.
His disbelief in my disinterest borders on embarrassment. I think he sees me as a recalcitrant teen who wants to eat off clean crockery, but won’t do the dishes. Or cook the dinner. Or pay for the food.
I frustrate him to the enth…READ MORE
I am getting fairly pissed off – I am just saying that at the outset so you don’t read to the end and get shirty when you find out that the person I am pissed off with is you.
The Coalmonster and the CSG Daemon are devouring the guts of our planet and it’s pretty much your fault (and mine). You either consume too much, and/or you voted for the morons who sold us out for 30 pieces of silver.
By day I am moody-mannered photojournalist for the best news publication on the planet – yes, The Echo – and by night I am an even moodier, meaner and crankier doco maker.
Award-winning filmmaker David Lowe and I teamed up 18 months ago to create independent production company Cloudcatcher Media, to make some dollars in the most ethical way we can from the commercial sector to help us finance our mission of sticking the knife in the Coalmonster and finishing off the CSG Daemon…READ MORE
The soil is so rich and sweet across the plains at Breeza it seems criminal to even drive on it, yet here we are travelling across almost edible earth to speak to farmers who are fighting for the land they want to continue to grow food on, not only for New South Wales, but for the country and the world.
As part of a film crew I travelled to Gunnedah to record a human sign and the community Gasfield Free Declaration celebration event for the people of the Liverpool Plains – they are grappling to save their land and their livelihoods from the coal monster and the CSG daemon.
Like a silent hero, they are saving our food resources for us and we pretty much haven’t a clue what’s happening behind the scenes and to our future food…READ MORE
It was a peaceful day on Saturday at Glenugie, a long way from the fight two years ago when the headlines read ‘More arrests follow new Glenugie lock-on’.
The protectors of Glenugie gathered at the Travelling Stock Reserve (TSR) water hole to commemorate those dark days and celebrate the silver lining.
Despite massive community opposition, Metgasco managed to get their test drill into Glenugie, but the threat of invasive gasfields brought this small community together like nothing before…
There are few who would disagree that Arakwal woman Yvonne Stewart is a strong, intelligent woman who is a role model for indigenous people, in particular, Aboriginal girls.
This assumption is flawed in that Yvonne is actually a strong, intelligent woman who is a role model for all people regardless of race and, in particular, a wonderful example to all girls regardless of nationality or creed. And there’s the rub for reconciliation.
Too often white fellas, in their ‘tolerance’ of the first peoples, relegate Aboriginal Australians to a ‘them and us’ status as a nation and a people. White Australia, in its rush to fall over itself over-compensating for the horrors of the past, is missing the point: we can only be reconciled when we are one body of humanity.
It has become a habit in recent years for the worst type of separation to happen and it is not helping the ‘Aboriginal problem’…READ MORE