Samantha Phelan – 29 September 2014 - Part 2

Dear Commissioner,

Thank you for continuing to accept comment from the public. I have 3 young children and it is on behalf of them that them that I write. To be considering broad scale fracking in a world that acknowledges it needs to steer away from fossil fuels, in probably the last generation that can turn global warming around, on the driest continent on earth…what more need I say. 

Reports coming in from fracking sites around the world all detail methane leaks from wells, either active or abandoned. Some of these leaks are stoppable, some are not. The geography, governance and infrastructure of the NT does not lend itself to rapid leak detection and repair. The EPA is yet to be asked to investigate the 3 failed wells in the Georgina Basin dating back to 2011-12.  Given the potency of methane as a green house gas I plead with you to consider our children and grandchildren’s fate as you examine fracking in the NT.

My list of concerns in regard to fracking is long, but most if not all my concerns have been detailed in the other submissions. Instead I share with you a poem.

The poem is written by a woman, Kathy Jetnil-Kijine, from the Marshall Islands. She speaks for all mothers around the globe, and she speaks to those, like yourself, vested at this critical point in time with an enormous responsibility. She writes to her daughter.

dear matafele peinam,

you are a seven month old sunrise of gummy smiles
you are bald as an egg and bald as the buddha
you are thighs that are thunder and shrieks that are lightning
so excited for bananas, hugs and
our morning walks past the

dear matafele peinam,

i want to tell you about that lagoon
that lucid, sleepy lagoon lounging against the sunrise

men say that one day
that lagoon will devour you

they say it will gnaw at the shoreline
chew at the roots of your breadfruit trees
gulp down rows of your seawalls
and crunch your island’s shattered bones

they say you, your daughter
and your granddaughter, too
will wander rootless
with only a passport to call home

dear matafele peinam,

don’t cry

mommy promises you

no one
will come and devour you

no greedy whale of a company sharking through political seas
no backwater bullying of businesses with broken morals
no blindfolded bureaucracies gonna push
this mother ocean over
the edge

no one’s drowning, baby
no one’s moving
no one’s losing
their homeland
no one’s gonna become
a climate change refugee

or should i say
no one else

to the carteret islanders of papua new guinea
and to the taro islanders of the solomon islands
i take this moment
to apologize to you
we are drawing the line here

because baby we are going to fight
your mommy daddy
bubu jimma your country and president too
we will all fight

and even though there are those
hidden behind platinum titles
who like to pretend
that we don’t exist
that the marshall islands
and typhoon haiyan in the philippines
and floods of pakistan, algeria, colombia
and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves
didn’t exist

there are those
who see us

hands reaching out
fists raising up
banners unfurling
megaphones booming
and we are
canoes blocking coal ships
we are
the radiance of solar villages
we are
the rich clean soil of the farmer’s past
we are
petitions blooming from teenage fingertips
we are
families biking, recycling, reusing,
engineers dreaming, designing, building,
artists painting, dancing, writing
and we are spreading the word

and there are thousands out on the street
marching with signs
hand in hand
chanting for change NOW

and they’re marching for you, baby
they’re marching for us

because we deserve to do more than just
we deserve
to thrive

dear matafele peinam,

you are eyes heavy
with drowsy weight
so just close those eyes, baby
and sleep in peace

because we won’t let you down

you’ll see


And so commissioner, I plead with you to recommend a moratorium on the practice of slick water deep shale horizontal fracking. We are at a global turning point and the stakes are simply too high. Investment in renewable energy is the only way forward for human kind. Please do your part to protect life as we know it on this precious planet of ours.

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Samantha Phelan BVSc