There is a change in the air. I think it smells like smoke. Finally, after 200 years of failing to listen to Country, this land has said: no more. I can only go on for so long.
The other day, in my car with hubby and babe, we passed a landfill site. What a depressing thing, is a landfill sight. On the outskirts of the city, it stands, hunkering, rotting and brown, as much a testament to the achievements of humans as a shining skyscraper in the centre of town. There is no shopping mall without a landfill site, no amusement park without a landfill site, no supermarket, no finely-tuned highway system, no brand-spanking-new housing development, without a landfill site. The rubbish dump is an essential component of the kind of lives we live.
When white people arrived on this land over 200 years ago, First Nations people met us with hospitality, but we responded with violence. People, landscapes, trees and animals – anything that got in the way of our insatiable appetite to take, take, take was shot down, ploughed through, trodden on, or cut down. This society was founded on violence, and violence is, to this day, the main way that we know how to interact with the land.
The land, for us, is a commodity, good only for as much as it supports our consumptive requirements. The means of extraction are violent, and then it is with violence that we use what is taken: we burn oil and coal which pollutes the air, we make plastics that strangle the oceans. We create toxic substances that, when no longer required, get buried again in another piece of earth, which has been desecrated through years of this mindless, endless consumption and dumping.
Settler Australia has spent 200 years treating the land as a thing, taking and taking to stuff our bloated bodies and culture. We were meant to treat her as a sacred mother. And now she has said: no more.
I can’t take it anymore. I can only give so much, before my withered body begins to stoop and keel. My breasts are empty, my arms can no longer hold you close, or lift you up in delight. My eyes have gone dull and you have taken the song from my throat [...]