Picking glossy blackberries from hedgerows and looking at beautiful birds through my grandmother’s old binoculars are memories I cherish from my childhood on the farm where I grew up in southern England in the 1970s and 80s.
But then my father bulldozed the hedgerows to make larger, prairie-style fields in which to grow his crops! Bird and wildlife habitat was destroyed - as were my fruit foraging sources! I always remember how these consequences grieved me.
My love of the natural environment and wildlife was born in me and has grown throughout my life.
My paternal grandfather taught me how to grow vegetables and care for chooks. Both of my grandfathers were farmers and enjoyed farming in ways which respected and worked with the environment.
I dearly wanted to take on the family farm but due to my father’s alcoholism and his chemical farming methods, I chose other off-farm occupations.
After a variety of office jobs, I trained as a journalist before resigning to embark on a world tour in 1991.
Australia was the tenth country I visited. I took a job on a farm in the Great Southern and ended up marrying the farmer!
I’ve lived in Australia for almost 32 years now and things have changed markedly, both in my own life and right across the world. More and more human development is fed by man’s insatiable desire to make more and more money! This is directly impacting our beautiful planet by wiping out native forests and vegetation in many countries, such as the rainforests in Brazil and Indonesia.
I have one gorgeous son who’s now 19 years old. I chose to have one child so as to lessen population growth. I raised him on homemade food and used cloth nappies. We have enjoyed many experiences with the natural environment, wildlife and domestic animals over the years, and I’ve always taught him ways to reduce his impact on our planet.
For the past 12 years, I’ve run a 160-acre farm of my own using organic methods. I farm sheep and put in about 20-30 acres of crop for stock feed each year. I’ve installed a large dam for water security and made successive biodiversity plantings of native shrubs and trees for vegetation connectivity and wildlife habitat. Planting these natives individually by hand feeds my soul. The birds flutter around me as I plant, seemingly twittering the question “What are you doing?” I reply “Planting future homes and food for you”.
I’m currently involved in several environmental campaigns which are trying to stop mining companies and governments destroying the breeding and feeding habitats of critically-endangered Australian native animals and birds. I understand why some people suffer from ‘environmental depression’ because the development and growth juggernaut is a force to be reckoned with and is backed by big dollars!
My faith in God and working to protect his wonderful Creation keeps me going and always will do.
April 11th, 2023 | Season 4 | 1 hr 34 mins
bakers hill, friends of yakamia, holistic activism, rethink eastlink, safe and scenic toodjay roads, save perth hills, summer creek, town planning rebellion
In the world of Degrowth, the focus is often centred on the need for broad scale system change. However, it is often at the grassroots community level that real resistance against overdevelopment is truly and tangibly observed. For this very special episode of PGAP, we interview Annabel Paulley (Friends of Yakamia), Chris Poulton (Rethink Eastlink) and Andrew St John (Safe and Scenic Toodyay Roads) to highlight the good work been done by community groups in South-Western Australia to fight the relentless tide of overdevelopment.