Saturday, June 16, 2007

charged up

As I write, my brand new electric toothbrush is charging up.

It's not the only thing charging up!

I don't quite know what's gotten into me. While you have been observing blogging silence, I have been anything but silent. In fact, I just can't shut up. OK, so maybe that's nothing new, but the flurry of letters flying down the phone line is unprecedented in the life of little Cecily.

I say 'little Cecily' because I feel quite powerless at present. Before my very eyes, Gunns is moving forward with their plans for a pulp mill. While we are being assured that approval will only be given for the mill to go ahead if the environmental 'assessment process' is passed, Gunns have already been given permission to start work on site on September 1. Does this smell like a rat? Does it ever! But the little people who don't want this pulp mill in their backyard have little say. We do not have the money or the power to exert any influence over the decision.

We thought we had it in the bag today - over 10,000 of us got together in the middle of the city and shouted 'no pulp mill' to anyone and everyone. It was heartwarming - 10,000 people rallying together, waving banners, donating money, stopping traffic to support the fight. Even more heartwarming was the feeling that together we could make a difference - on our own our voices are small. Together we produced a roar. It was an incredible experience.

Incredible until I watched the news this evening. There the media managed to twist our voice into the squawks of mindless masses manipulated by the lies and misinformation of environmental groups. They showed footage of interviews with politicians who claim that the pulp mill would go ahead despite our protests. No matter that fifteen percent of the city's population came out in force - in the news our voices vanished into thin air.

I was furious. Recent media coverage has been surprisingly positive towards the anti-pulp mill view, so I was looking forward to another positive report. But no. 10,000 people may as well have been a mirage for all the credit they were given. One station reported 12,000 protesters, as if by over estimating our numbers they might cancel out their woeful bias towards the government and Gunns. It smells to me as if Gunns has been leaning on the news stations in order to gain more positive coverage for themselves.

Well, if they can do it - so can I! I immediately jumped on the phone and - hey presto - spoke to the man who filed the report. He assured me that he had tried to present a balanced report. I conceded he was in a difficult position - but didn't back down. He minimised the incredible phenomenon of 10,000 people giving up their Saturday to have a say and I wanted him to know I was not amused.

Then I emailed the next station and voiced my concern:

"It is unfortunate that the media chose to muzzle our voice by minimising our message and reducing us to a group of quivering fools too easily taken in by scaremongering."

And now I'm quivering here in my chair. Will somebody please listen?! WE DON'T WANT THIS PULP MILL! No amount of corporate profit is enough to justify this travesty upon our beautiful state.

I finish with a word of advice - I am firing on all engines at present, all charged up! (Reminds me of a high school teacher's nickname for me, which was a play on my surname: Nuclear Arms) So tread carefully. Unless of course you agree with me - then come voice your opinion with me loud and clear.

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At 5:04 am, June 17, 2007, Blogger Cherie said...

How I wish I were there with you, Nuclear Arms, to protost and quiver. I quiver here in MY chair just reading this - maddening.

"...in the news our voices vanished into thin air."


But don't give up. Keep your head, and don't give up.

At 9:47 am, June 17, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

How frustrating. Stay strong Cec, you're doing a good thing.

At 11:37 am, June 17, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

Errr. Sounds infuriating, all right. I've met some news people, having hung around TV stations, and generally I think they do hope to be equitable, magnanimous (sp?), and unbiased. Problem is, they're influenced by their bosses, their spouses, their dentists, maybe... It's stupid when they can't see that.

At 10:47 pm, June 17, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

You should get your blog out there for people to read and write all things you believe is wrong with the mill. Make up business cards with your blog address and get them out so people can see your version of why your group thinks it's wrong. Get the people that are protesting with you to publish comments or start their own blogs. You need to over ride the press Cecily and make sure people are reading about what you believe, on their own time, in their own homes, just like the press does.

You've got me fired up too.


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