Sowing Seeds Of Hope!

Sowing Seeds Of Hope! http://www.altmedia.net.au/newfound-activist-sows-seeds-of-hope-for-sydneys-trees/121119

BY MICHAEL FORNO

John Bellamy is more likely found in the theatre than in the streets, but in the last year he has turned into a fulltime activist. Mr Bellamy was a musical composer and occasional usher at the Sydney Opera House before a negative experience with Sydney’s public transport ignited a streak of activism.

“It all started when my bus was cancelled to the city and I realised it would take twenty minutes longer catching the slowest light rail in the world, and catch it with three hundred and thirty other people. I thought, that’s really dumb,” he said.

“I’m a solutions kind of guy so I came up with a solution to save $2bn by putting the rail underground and electrifying buses. Unfortunately the minister didn’t want to know about it. I thought nothing more of it until I saw a massive Morton Bay fig tree like the one we see here today torn down in front of my eyes in January this year,” he told City Hub.

It was then that Mr Bellamy started his own environmental activist group called Save the Trees and Animals Campaign. Now in its second month of existence the group held its first rally on Sunday at Belmore Park, opposite Central Station. In spite of the small turnout the attendees and speakers were enthusiastic in their support to save Sydney’s trees and animals.

Emma Maiden of Unions New South Wales spoke at the event.

“Despite the turnout I hope you don’t see this as indicative of community sentiment,” she said.

Support for the new group is shared by other well-established action groups across Sydney.

Andrew Chuter is a representative of No WestConnex: Public Transport not Motorways. He told City Hub that his group’s opposition to WestConnex was directly related to the saving of Sydney’s trees.

“Just two months ago Westconnex bulldozed two hectares of critically endangered Cooks River ironbark forest in Kingsgrove. That two hectares is now a carpark and turning circle for construction vehicles,” he said.

Mr Chuter insisted to the few assembled that they remain hopeful about the future.

“You can fight back. When we heard tree clearing was coming to Sydney Park we banded together and set up a camp in the corner of Sydney Park. We linked arms around the area they fenced off and the police had to drag us off one by one,” he said.

The message of grassroots action and community solidarity was echoed in Mr Bellamy’s speech.

“The only thing that can save Sydney’s tress and animals is you. We believe that as early as tonight, and over these Christmas holidays, the government intends to kill a further 1,500 Sydney trees, including the ones behind you here on Eddy Avenue. The only thing that will stop this is people power. This is the only way we will save our trees and save our animals.”

Mr Bellamy is confident that the group’s message will resonate with the community.

“We’re not going to shut up until Mike Baird gets the message. What starts with a few people, becomes a flood. Unless you take action, nothing changes. You can never give up.”

The group is scheduled to fight the continued felling of tress across Sydney well into the new year.

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