This is Spike, the Christmas Echidna. Still lacking a voice and a gender. Must mount a rescue soon.
This is Spike

I am by way of being an aging community artist still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.
I live in the Town of Mallacoota in the land of Oz. Alas, the Emerald City has been sold to Coca Cola/Amatel for a theme park, the Wizard turned out to be a member of the raincoat brigade and Dorothy opened up a bordello in Abbotsford. Still, I do what I can.


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Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.” Greta Thunberg on Twitter

Greta Thunberg in her passionate speech to the UN drew a line in the sand.  It was the line between greed driven exploitative behaviour and the right of our children and coming generations to a healthy endurable existence. It was a line in the sand between a barren impoverished ecosphere and one of rich healthy diversity.


Drawing the line is a very practical thing that you can do in support of our children and their children. If you do not care about our children, please read no further.

Drawing the line can be done with chalk, paint, tape, string or just in your mind. This is about people power. This about you exercising consumer choice to influence how our country does business. The children are depending on us.


Where to draw the lines?

The Car

Draw a line around your car.  Cars are convenient but they pump the atmosphere full of greenhouse gases, they kill wildlife and deprive you of exercise. So, walk if you can or ride your bike (buy one if you don’t have one).

Cars are not bad in themselves, people (especially in the country where there is little public transport), need them to get to work, if work is farther away than a practical bike or mobility scooter ride. Tradies need them to carry the tools of the trade. People with disabilities and other mobility issues need them to get around. We also need them for transporting bulky or heavy loads.

Cars – use them sparingly. I seem to only need mine less than once a week. Get a mobility scooter if bikes are challenging for you. Carpool for out of town excursions. Cooperating with each other to minimize environmental harm is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.


The Supermarket 

Draw a line across the door of the supermarket. Remember it is much better not to make plastic at all rather than buying it and then recycling it.  Increasingly fresh food is arriving in plastic packages and soft plastic bags. Choose to buy alternatives if available.  If there are no available choices remove the product from its wrapper and leave it on the shelf or shop counter. There soon will be alternatives if you persist in doing this.

If there is a choice between a product in a plastic container or a glass/ metal container choose the latter. If there is not a choice, try a different shop. Wholefood stores in Bairnsdale, Pambula and Bega give you the opportunity to buy product and fill your own containers. It is very, very important to buy locally wherever possible but local traders must cooperate in the preservation of our children’s future well-being if they want to do business with those of us who care.

Take your own packaging for deli items.

Many cosmetic products are plastic wrapped or sold in plastic containers. If there is a choice between plastic or foil, choose foil. If there is a choice between plastic or glass/metal choose the latter. Many cosmetics contain microplastics that are a major plastic pollutant and potential health risk. Do not buy these products.  If there is no choice, try another store or look on-line. The stores will soon include choices if they are losing business.

A recent look in one of our supermarkets revealed only one snack item wrapped in a package that was recyclable.  Choose not to buy products wrapped in unrecyclable plastic. Soft Plastics coated with foil on the inside or outside are not recyclable. Encourage your supermarket to set up facilities to recycle soft plastic. To get around the new regulations on soft plastic bags some supermarkets are stocking thicker plastic bags. These supermarkets need to be boycotted until they stop.



The Climate Emergency is not just about Greenhouse gases. It is about a viable ecosystem that sustains human, animal and plant life. Draw a line around your leisure activities.

Avoid activities involving the combustion of hydrocarbons. Avoid activities that harm creatures in their own environment. Take up rowing, sailing, walking, cycling, gardening, arts. Do not fly unless it is a medical or family emergency. Offsets don’t mean a damn, the tonnes of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere by a plane are not in any way affected by the number of plastic shopping bags the passengers don’t use. Once the gas is in the air it stays there!

Visitors to Mallacoota burn over 500,000 litres of petrol annually just to get here and back.


General shopping.

Draw a line around your shopping bag. Everything comes in bubble packs. At the point of sale remove the packaging and leave it on the counter. Encourage the shop to return the packaging to the manufacturer or wholesaler.  This will encourage them to change their practices.


In the kitchen

Draw a line around your food preparation.

Plastic is forever. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it which creates huge atmospheric problems. Recycling means it just gets turned into another more degraded form of plastic until it reaches the end of the line and becomes landfill.  It is then  broken down by weathering and ends up in the food chain of earthly creatures with often fatal results.

Plastic is very useful. Use it with discretion. Good quality plastic food containers will last indefinitely if treated well. Do not use single use take away containers. If you go to buy take away food, take your own container. If the shop refuses you – go somewhere else.

Do not use cling film. Grease proof and waxed paper works well and beeswaxed cloth coverings are available.  Never microwave food in plastic packaging or plastic containers. The process releases polymers which will contaminate your food and potentially cause cancer in the future. Use oven proof glass or ceramic containers in your microwave cooker. Draw a line around your children – don’t kill them.

Draw a line around drinks in plastic bottles. Soft drink and bottled water are a major cause of plastic pollution.  An alternative is Soda Stream or similar product. The bottles can be used many, many times. You can buy cordial in glass bottles or make it yourself.

It is well known how bad livestock farming is for the country and the atmosphere, but people still eat meat. If you must -reduce and buy organic. Reduce dairy.

The toxic wellness craze has caused a huge variety of ‘milks’ to come on the market. They are between 75 and 95 percent water, loaded with sweeteners, use huge quantities of water in their production (sometimes even more than cow milk) and the packaging is generally mostly plastic and not recyclable. Draw a line around these products. You can make the ‘milk’ in your kitchen very cheaply. Google how.


Draw those lines. Convenience is almost always destructive of the environment and bad for your health. Convenience is always expensive. Convenience is a barrier to engagement with life’s rich realities. Convenience is killing your children.


Draw those lines. Take your power in your hands and exercise it. Without customers businesses fail. Demand that the businesses you deal with support the continued environmental wellbeing of our children and their children. Government needs to do the same. They want to treat you like a customer or a subject, but you are their employers. Demand that they are environmentally responsible. Draw the line in the streets between you and those who wish to curtail your right to protest.  Don’t hand over your power out of fear, laziness or complacency. There are no jobs on a dead planet.

Draw those lines!

Come on down to The Gazebo between 11.30 and 1.30 Fridays to chat, play music, share food and hand out choc chip muffins.  We will be there every week through the summer saving the planet one choc chip muffin at a time.




Hey There

Never in human history has our species been under a greater existential threat. The disaster is not going to happen – it is happening right here and right now.  It’s happening to the planet and its particularly happening to your children and grandchildren. They will suffer and some will die.  You need to act.

In a country, where right across the political spectrum, obfuscation, misrepresentation and rhetoric substitutes for meaningful action and the greed for power and wealth over-rides the responsibility to effectively govern, personal grass-roots action become critical.

Only if all the little people get together and rise up in anger and concern will any changes be made.

We are asking your community group to declare A CLIMATE EMERGENCY,  to display the fact where possible and announce your declaration in The Mouth and the Snowy Mountain Mail. We have included a small display poster, or you can log onto ‘skullthorpe.com’  where you will find a PDF that you can download and print for display without creases. We are also asking you to lobby The East Gippsland Shire Council to declare the emergency by writing or emailing all the local councillors.

You can meet with us on Fridays between 11.30 and 1.30 at The Gazebo. We have choc-chip muffins to share.

Please do not fail your children and their children.


Don Ashby

PO BOX 525



PS Please text 0407272358 when you have declared The Emergency and notified the papers.


“Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

Greta Thunberg

Greta threw down the gauntlet at her recent speech at the UN.  Certainly, one of the most powerful speeches delivered by a sub-adult ever.  It is very comprehensive and concise. If you haven’t read the whole text, I commend it to you.


or you can watch it –


Sadly, the speech will probably go down in history as the speech that everyone has heard about, but few have heard or read all the way through.

What is this line of which she speaks?

Let’s have look. Mostly it is a line of equivalency.

Let’s look first at the responsible media.  They are in themselves an endangered species thanks to cowardly/corrupt governments failure to pass and/or enforce media ownership laws.

The line for responsible media is primarily very simple.  Stop giving equal time to denialists.  The equation is simple – the vast majority of reputable scientific evidence puts human activity centre stage in the Climate Emergency.  Denialists either make up stuff, incompletely quote scientific sources out of context or quote each other. So, giving them equal time is equivalent to giving ‘The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ‘


equivalency with The Roman Catholic Church. The denialists operate out of rightwing think tanks funded by fossil fuel industries, Fundamentalist Christians or Free-Market Fundamentalists.  There are also the denialists who are so comfortable in their own self-interest that they prefer to be wilfully ignorant rather than take notice or action. The denialists also come from the ranks of the psychologically sad who feel compelled to be contrarians in order to boost their own sense of inadequacy. There is at least one within our own small community.

If publications still feel compelled to publish their stuff, they should at least fact check them.


I was discussing the Children’s Strike with someone the other day, they commented that the children were, in some way, wrong to go on strike because they wanted new toys and mobile phones.

Here we have the equivalency line again, this time  between children and adults. Here we have worldwide corporations, national governments and media organizations obfuscating, lying  and engaging in corrupt practise in ways that are obvious even to small children.  These children, after being subjected to relentless unmediated consumer advertising bombardment, are being criticized for responding and for being children.

As if a child’s desire for a Barbie Doll is equivalent to –

  • a governments approval for mining of and international sale of millions of tons of fossil fuels.
  • an agrarian industry that contributes millions of tonnes of green house gases to the environment.
  • the structure of our local economy that depends on tourists burning around 500,000 litres of petrol a year to holiday here.

These are the children that have been told to be children and not to strike. They have been told that if they do strike, they will become unemployable, dole bludging bums. These are the children who see the adults around them doing little or nothing in the face of Climate Emergency. These are the children that fear for their future.

 I was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; I could become whatever I wanted to. I could live wherever I wanted to. People like me had everything we needed and more. Things our grandparents could not even dream of. We had everything we could ever wish for and yet now we may have nothing.

Now we probably don’t even have a future anymore.

Greta Thunburg

The most difficult line is the one we are all confronted with every day.  How much of our time, inconvenience and resources are we willing to devote to trying to help remediate our Climate Emergency?

For those who see the line, what to do?

A question – if you come home from work and your house is burning down with your children  inside, would you ignore it because you really want to go out in your boat?

It’s only through action that we can make a difference.  Forget sustainability, that is a rich person’s fantasy.  ‘Sustainability’ implies we can find ways to do what we have always done by applying new technologies and processes. This is delusional.

Forget offsets – if the carbon is going into the air from running your aircon 24/7 it doesn’t matter how many plastic bags you don’t use.

Remember ‘convenience’ is almost always bad for the environment and threatening of our children’s future.

Be proactive.  It is next to impossible to entirely eliminate plastic or the burning of fossil fuels from our domestic economy.  However, there are some steps we can take. Here are a few examples.  Increasing amounts of fresh food is coming into the supermarkets wrapped in plastic.  Don’t buy them.  If you do that they will stop selling them.  A significant reduction of creature-based products in your diet will certainly help.  Avoid leisure activities that add to the carbon burden.


There is a line also between private and public action.  Only major organization both political and commercial can make large-scale substantive differences in support of our children’s future.  It is up to us to make them act.  If you care, it is time to come-out. What you can do is unrelentingly get on the email, write letters, make phone calls, demonstrate, talk to your friends, support your children.  The hardest thing of all is to call out the deniers, trolls, bullies and abusers.  They are confusing the issue, making our community less safe and more people reluctant to speak their minds. You have to be brave and of tough stuff to do this.  Many of our local social media sites are dominated by a handful of toxic trolls.  Do not engage with them online, it is a waste of time, just fuels their sad sense of self-importance and leaves you feeling bad. A less confrontational way  of dealing with these people is to pressure the administrators of the sites to actively moderate their sites.

Please note that the notices I put up about our meeting at The Gazebo were all torn down. This is freedom of expression?

Make it clear where you stand.  Badges, bumper stickers and signage are a way to help create an environment for change.  Join and financially support activist organizations. I recommend

The Bob Brown Foundation –



Extinction Rebellion



Become more informed about the Climate Emergency.


“Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?”

Greta Thunberg



One email is not enough.  You need to pepper them relentlessly.  Send – articles supporting your position, news of actions and events and exhortations for them to publicly declare their support for action.

  • TIM BULL MLA (State) bull@parliament.vic.gov.au
  • DARREN CHESTER MP Darren Chester does not publish his email address. PO Box 486
    Sale, VIC, 3853



CR NATALIE O’CONNOLL – MAYOR mayor@egipps.vic.gov.au


Very importantly – SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN. Encourage them to be active at school and in the community.

As Carl Sagan said – “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch – you first have to invent the universe.” We must reinvent our world if our children are to have a future.


Come on down to The Gazebo between 11.30 and 1.30 Fridays to chat, play music, share food and hand out choc chip muffins.  We will be there every week through the summer saving the planet one choc chip muffin at a time.



“We are all driving in a great big car heading for a brick wall and arguing about where we are going to sit.” David Suzuki

We are growing as a planetary population.  We are increasing steadily in our technological complexity and sophistication.

As a result, we are creating ever increasing quantities of gases that trap heat  in our atmosphere.  These gases include carbon dioxide  and methane.  At the same time, we are rapidly killing off the organisms  that utilizes and stores carbon dioxide and creates the oxygen we breath.

Trees and other organisms have been storing carbon dioxide for millions of years.  We are extracting the deposits, made over those millions of years – coal, oil and gas and burning them in just decades.

The human race has survived so far because we are ingenious and adaptable.  These qualities are now leading us into a trap  and all that we have steadily built over the millennia will soon be drowned, burned or blown away. We will take the planets intricate and rich ecosystem with us.

This is a problem. It is not The Problem.

About one percent of the world’s population control most of the world’s resources.  They, not unsurprisingly, consider this to be a very congenial situation. They wish to keep it that way at all costs.  They believe that should everything become totally pear shaped that they control enough resources to live as comfortably as they are now. That one percent also controls most of the sources of information and through donations and corrupt behaviour co-opt or in other ways control our politicians and senior public servants.

This is not a good scenario for our children and their children.

Human ingenuity and adaptability has devised  systems and technologies to reduce the effects of our climate emergency.  These strategies are not being deployed because they represent a radical shift in wealth distribution and a huge change in how we conduct our lives – how we eat, spend our money, engage in leisure activities and get around.

How much do you care?


  • Become more informed about the Climate Emergency.
  • Support your children in their protests.
  • Take the time to engage in local Actions.
  • Discus the Climate Emergency with your family and friends and try and persuade them to take action.
  • Take care in how you shop and what you shop for.
    • Think about single use plastics. Do vegetables need to be cling-wrapped? If you stop buying, the shops will stop selling.
    • Remember ‘convenience’ is almost always bad for the environment.
    • Reduce or eliminate the use of creature-based products.
    • Do you really need it?
    • Only fly in an emergency
  • Contact your local politicians and authorities persistently demanding radical action.
    • TIM BULL MLA (State) bull@parliament.vic.gov.au
    • DARREN CHESTER MP Darren Chester does not publish his email address. PO Box 486
      Sale, VIC, 3853



CR NATALIE O’CONNOLL – MAYOR mayor@egipps.vic.gov.au

  • Join The Extinction Rebellion –


Donald Ashby



It seems the kids are in trouble. They are worried. Some of them are very angry.

We have put devices into their hands where they can find out about the world.  Some of them have found the more egregious neighbourhoods of the World Wide Web like: Pornography, Shopping and Social Media. A great many of them have found The Climate Emergency.

The scientific community is convinced that anthropogenic climate change is now indicated with a very high degree of probabilistic certainty.  Those scientists and others who do deny it are demonstrably in the pay of corporate and  political interests who wish to do so on reasons based on short term self-interest, a sad desire to be contrary (as a way of attracting personal attention) and/or a sociopathic ideology, or their dupes.

In our children’s minds (gleaned from the content of their speeches), the most pressing problems are –

  • Those who admit it’s a problem but say it’s none of their (the children’s) business and they should stay at school to learn how to follow in their elder’s footsteps and continue to contribute to the problem.
  • Those who admit there is a problem but do nothing about it.
  • Those who admit there is a problem and lie or misrepresent what they are doing about it.
  • Those who say the problem is all too hard and all too late and do nothing about it.
  • Those who admit it’s a problem but are unwilling to radically adjust their personal behaviour or take social-political action to do anything about it.
  • Those who say there is no problem.


Looked at it clearly, the above list pretty much covers everyone. So, our kids have good reason to be worried and angry.


A great many of them went out on strike on the last day of last term.  The impulse to strike came from them.  They were inspired by Greta Thunberg, who has overcome personal disability and a vast social resistance to courageously stand up for the survival of hers and subsequent generations. They took to the streets both in Mallacoota and around the world.  They were supported by community members of all ages and classes.

They were calling for our government and opposition parties to declare a Climate Emergency and deploy domestic national policies to deal with it.  They were asking our government to recognize that we as a country have responsibility for the effects the hydrocarbon fuels we sell overseas have on the global environment.  They were asking that workers and their families whose lives are disrupted by the economic changes we must make are supported in the transition.

Sadly, but predictably, some members of our local community jumped on social media and lambasted the event with potty-mouthed vituperation. I was discussing this the other day and the person with whom I was talking opined that ‘everyone was intitled to an opinion’. That is true enough.  However, we are faced with matters of equivalence.  If 99% of  group are in agreement, that does not mean that the remaining 1% gets equal time to argue their case or that their argument has equal weight.

Our children deserve our praise not our censure for their Action.  They deserve our sympathy that they cannot live their children lives untroubled. They deserve our wholehearted support.  They also deserve that we all look very closely at our own lives. We must take the necessary steps to adjust our behaviour to reduce the awful future consequences of decades of inaction and denial that have been inflicted upon them.

So, the kids that organised, the kids that participated and the community members who supported – well done!  Keep it up!

The level of articulation and self confidence that the children’s speeches, at our march, demonstrated was a credit to them and the teachers who have taught them. This is the generation that will have to fight the hardest battles, we seem to be equipping them for the task if not assisted them in solutions.


Our leaders at all levels of society must be given no rest until our society is on a trajectory to, as much as possible, minimize the effects of the emergency both on our children’s lives, the planetary ecosphere and the countless members of the developing nations (like our children) who will feel the brunt of the disaster but have participated hardly at all in its creation.




“We are all driving in a great big car heading for a brick wall and arguing about where we are going to sit.” David Suzuki

For the sake of our children we have to take action.  The action must be radical and far reaching.  We must hold all Australian political parties, industry leaders and government officials to account for decades of corrupt innefectual  inaction.  Individuals need to ramp up their own responses.  We must change how we live.  Bamboo tooth brushes and cotton shopping bags, while a baby step in the right direction, are just not going to cut it.

Notions of ‘sustainability’ are a rich persons phantasy. Our lifestyle changes need to be fundamental and revolutionary. How we eat, how we work, how we spend our money and our leisure time all must change.

We have to eliminate destructive industries and support the workers redeployment into other activities.  Speak out against the corrupt bribery of tax-cuts for the rich when more taxes are needed to enforce regulation to turn our economy and ecology around. Visitors to Mallacoota burn over 300,000 litres of petrol a year to come here.  Thats a big offset even before we start to make a positive difference.

So – Off we go!  Let’s see if we can get a gig going for Friday lunchtime. 11.30 to 1.30 at the gazebo.

Things we could do –

  • Hand out pamphlets outlining possible actions that us punters could take.
  • Get together and make some music.
  • Hand out some free food.
  • Display some banners.
  • Make some speeches.
  • Maybe set up a local chapter of XR in Mallacoota.
  • Alison is going to see if she can get together some XR Tee Shirts.

If you are interested in participating  email me on goblinhag@gmail.com or ring/text me on 0407272358 or just show up.



The owl has her claws in the moon

And the starlights’ drunk by her eyes.

The tree shadows cast a dark rune

On predator wings as she flies.

Small life hides in the hollows

Wild eyed with panic and shame,

Reason has fled with Apollo

And terror consumes like a flame.

Bloody spots spatter the tree skin,

Crimson drips the blade of the knife,

Hatred has sundered our kin,

And life takes a life takes a life.

The spark is extinguished in leaf mold

Compassion is lost in the dark.

Now nothing can warm the old cold,

Every dark choice leaves its mark.

Dead love weighed down with piled stones,

Dead heart staked hard to the ground,

Wind makes rattles of dry bones,

The Dreaming dead utter no sound.

Fang shadows lurk under bone trees,

Talonned death out of the sky,

Twig lattice scribbles  a star frieze,

A backdrop for creatures to die.