The following was sent to The Pen by contributor Ugly, and it is about 16 year old Grace Gardiner’s appeal to support the effort to stop deep sea oil drilling near Apollo Bay in Victoria. Grace is involved with Greenpeace, which has taken on protection of the Great Australian Bight as one of its important environment protection projects. This is what she has to say.
My name is Grace, I’m 16 years old and last week I organised a flotilla – a floating protest against deep sea oil drilling – in my home of Apollo Bay, Victoria.
Apollo Bay is a small, beautiful town on the Great Ocean Road, located just by the sea. I’ve lived here my whole life. When I was much younger, I was kayaking with a mate in the local harbour when a pod of three dolphins swam up beside us and jumped around for a while, so close I could reach out and touch them. It was the most exhilarating and beautiful experience from the ocean.
For us, the ocean is more than just a beautiful view. It’s the lifeblood of our community, with tourism and fishing supporting so many families here in Apollo Bay.
But big oil companies are planning to drill for oil off our coast, risking our pristine environment and our way of life.
One thing I love about my community is that we come together to do incredible things – like standing up to those greedy oil companies.
One little community can do big things! It got me thinking about what we could achieve if everyone in Australia said no to deep sea oil drilling.
But we need as many people on board as possible.
As a young person, I care deeply about climate change. My generation will have to deal with the consequences of the decisions being made by big fossil fuel companies trashing the environment. I may not be able to vote yet, but I know that Governments have a responsibility to do the right thing by the people they represent.
If enough people – no matter their age – are talking about protecting the Bight from oil drilling, our politicians will have to listen.
Apollo Bay has a population of just 1500 – but on the day of our flotilla, 350 people were out there on the water and on land to protect the oceans we love from oil drilling – despite the wind and rain! I learned throughout this project how bringing a community together can really make a difference, and that anyone can do it.
In the lead up to the flotilla, we held a stall at the school fete, we painted our surfboards, postered the main street of town. We got together and made a banner. The morning of the flotilla, I felt nervous but extraordinarily excited. It made me so happy to see all my friends, family, school and community so pumped to be involved.
PS. I’m unbelievably proud of my community. Help us celebrate our amazing day of action against oil! Share our flotilla video now.