Every year the Australian Student Environment Network organises a Training Camp in January to help skill up various collective members for the year ahead, to network with other collectives and to plan for ASEN’s future.
For 2012 the ASEN Training Camp will run from January 20th – 25th and will be held on Wiradjuri Country at Caloola Farm in the ACT (about an hour from Canberra).
2012 also signifies the 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra which we will be attending and supporting after Training Camp.
The 6 days will cover workshops and discussions around:
Their route at the mercy of Google Map’s accuracy, the Queensland kids could sleep easy, bellies full of wood fired pizza, ready for tomorrow’s long day of driving. Destination? SOS2010 on Kaurna Land, rAdelaide. As the sun rose on a chilly South-East Queensland morning early in July, the first wave of Brisbane kids busied themselves preparing for their 2000 km drive across three Australian states.
Their transport? An ex-chip-shop-oil-powered 4x called Buttercup, and a shiny new V6, aptly daubed the horse-powered speed machine. As HPSM zoomed off at the speed of light, Buttercup decided ‘trouble’ was her middle name; not even an hour out of Brisbane, she was rattling and spluttering, belching green sludge from her bonnet. However, with some TLC from a new-found mono-legged friend , Buttercup was happy and back on the road. For now.
While half the Queensland crew sped on, stopping and languishing in ‘sunny’, ‘tropical’ Goondiwindi, the other half could but crochet, as Buttercup spluttered along, careening ahead 100 kilometres behind HPSM. Finally they met in darkness in Moree, land of Australia’s largest ‘Pecan-nut crop’. Buggered if they saw any pecans, but my did Moree have a massive… rocket-slide!
Entering Day 2 of ‘road trip to rAdelaide, the Queensland kids had to make up for lost time. Day two saw crops and towering silos melt into the the renowned red earth and low-clinging vegetation of the so-called ‘outback’. This you gotta expect when you’re heading out the the back of Bourke. Chips and nutmeat by the choking river, Darling. That turbid, regulated MDB tributary, is badly in need of some TLC (ie. RESPECT, fenced, reveged riparian zones, and moderated flow extraction, please).
By nightfall of the second day, they were determined to get themselves to rAdelaide, even if it meant foot-power style. Handstands, circusing, and RSL timewarping. Resolves made to travel into the night were put to the test, however, when the HPSM ran out of black gold, and flintstones feet blistered. Wilcannia would be their home for the night. They huddled in tents, awaiting the dawn.
Teabag: What the…?
Sophie: The townspeople are evicting us, Wilcannia style!
Amy: It’s a town drunk, relieving himself…
Teabag: The police are dousing us with petrol?
Steve: Erm … sprinklers?
Ridiculous broken sleep was blown from the minds of the Brisbane Crew, however, with the near-indescribable beauty of a reddening, endless horizon. They cruised on ahead, bound for South Australia…
“Amber skies, black tarmac, red earth. Patches of aqua in the desert after rain. The yellow of euphoria, the violet of inspiration. The spectral swirls of swift dancing to a burning sun, the dark shades of late night camping. A spark of icy blue at early morning sprinklers! Infinite rainbows of SoS experiences, melding and bringing forth new, unknown palettes to dazzle the eye and touch deep the soul. Stepping beyond the grey into a coloured reality!” – Skitmore, 2010
It is suggested that the crew dispose of their precious fruit. A nightmare for those who loathe rampant food waste! All put their digestive tracts to the ultimate test, stuffing in 3 avos each, whole pomelos, apples, zucchinis, capsicum, all down the hatch! They refrain from garlic shots, for the nasal sanity of all involved.
The call of nature fortuitously lands our travelers on the ‘Great Southern Railway’.
Someone: Hey, it’s deserted! Lets take pictures!
10 mins later, safely inside Buttercup and HPSM, one giant speeding piece of steam-powered iron careens along train tracks at 1000km/hr. Lesson: you cannot see your reflection in disused train-tracks.
All this and SOS hadn’t even started.
Finally, the Queensland crew reached their destination…
To learn to show respect…
To be enlightened …
To speak up…
To f*ck with gender binaries…
To meet like and new minds.
As the narrator of this story it is my job to chose highlights from a trip that was not only epic in terms of distance, but in depth of experience. As a personal reflection all I can say is that SOS was priceless:
I brought along a mind I thought was open, and found it to be narrow,
I bought a set of ideas I thought were obscure, I found rang true with other minds,
I was exposed to old ideas that I could contemplate in a brand new light.
Students from Griffith University, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and University of Southern Queensland are joining with people from across Southern Queensland to call on the State Government to stop coal mining and gas exploration in Queensland.
These developments threaten our climate, communities, farmers, food security and water. Come and support rural farming communities and have some good old fun in the process!
We’re meeting on July 25th to paint banners for the action at Turnstyle Social Space in Highgate Hill. Join us in the afternoon for the painting and a picnic.
Contact Steve on steveskitmore [at] gmail.com for more info about the banner painting or the rally.
Join us on Sunday 6th June for the much anticipated documentary ‘The Leftovers’ is a road trip adventure about people who eat trash. TurnStyle – 10 Laura St, Highgate Hill, Qld from 6:30pm.
Meet Mykal and Paul, two experienced Dumpster Divers as they embark on a journey down the east coast of Australia. Wanting to make a statement about today’s over consuming society they challenged themselves to live of nothing but waste.
Leaving their money behind they power their van with waste veggie oil and eat out of bins along the way. They bring with them three brave apprentices. For the least experienced of the team – will their first adrenalin-pumping dive into dumpster living be remembered as the dawn of a new age; or the holiday from hell?
There will also be brownies and chai for sale as a fundraisers for the Brisbane contingent to get to the Students of Sustainability Conference in Adelaide.