Features, Oil & Gas Leaks

Santos people: What are they thinking?

Fossil Fool Bulletin • 25 February 2020

Pic: Knitting Nannas from Brisbane and the Northern Rivers, NSW, gathered outside Santos’ Brisbane HQ last week. Nanna Rosie (fifth from left) shares her thoughts about people coming and going from the building. Photo: Knitting Nannas, Facebook

By Rosie Lee

The banality of watching Santos employees in Brisbane go out to get their lunch like they do every day, really struck me last week (while the Knitting Nannas protested outside their Brisbane HQ).

I must have seen fifty of the Santos uniformed ‘ordinary people’ slowly filed past in a constant stream to get a coffee or lunch.

In ones and twos just quietly going about the business of destroying the Siding Springs Dark Sky Park. A probably perfectly nice girl who is maybe paying off her car by destroying the livelihood of a farming family by depleting the aquifer that they rely on to water crops or put food on the table. Each farmer feeds 600 people (according to ABS).

The young boy in his standard Santos-embroidered polo shirt who looks like he’s fresh out of uni, top of his class, wrestling with the so far insoluble problem of what to do with the 430,000 tonnes of salt created by the Narrabri gas project, taking his sandwich back to his air-conditioned desk to face the long afternoon far away from the problem in the Pilliga forest. Where koalas quietly die.

The sweatless, blue-shirted blokes strategizing where to spend community bribes to buy social licence.

The employees whose eyes don’t register a flicker of recognition as they pass by signs on the wall outside their office outlining opposition to their 850 fifty-foot gas flares that burn 24/7 in a fire zone, or detail their hazardous toxic chemical compounds. Who don’t dare make eye contact with the older women dressed in bright yellow lined up to challenge their company’s climate change inducing methane emissions, in case they register some sense of responsibility. Who don’t register any inkling they understand the message that is being delivered on behalf of many who oppose their ‘quiet’ dirty business. 23,000 submissions were sent against it.

Just another ordinary day at work, moving forward on the destruction of the recharge zone of the Great Artesian Basin.

Or that guy – is he the guy who is trying to find a way round the insurmountable problem of toxic water and the dead zones where it already spilled and nothing will ever grow?

All these perfectly nice ordinary people quietly going about their business.

Climate change makes it the business of all of us to challenge their right to go about this dirty business as though it’s perfectly alright.

Only a matter of weeks before the Independent Planning Commission decide – will they allow these perfectly ordinary people to destroy the North West of NSW and turn it into a dirty industrialised gas field like Queensland?

Don’t be a Quiet Australian. And don’t expect me to be one.

There simply isn’t any more time.

– Nanna Rosie

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