The Bentley Blockade: Weeping for the Earth

The text!


It would have looked better if I were digging out the composting toilet or planting organic veggies. But the truth is I was half-way into an egg and sausage McMuffin in Casino when the text came from Bentley.


I had to ring Yollana to make sure I had it right.


We’d won at Bentley.


Or at least, a major victory had occurred. (I’m too old for complete acceptance that “all is now well.” The Bentley Blockade had succeeded. Metgasco’s license was suspended and they were referred to ICAC.


But, you know, your body speaks its mind and in a second I was weeping.


I was weeping in Maccas in Casino.


It took me a while before I realised how much I love this country. How much I love this Earth. Since I migrated to Australia in 1968, I’ve had a few `falling-in-love-with-the-Earth” moments. Deep Ecology rituals specialise in helping that response emerge in reluctant humans.


Tall Tree Country


Nevertheless, having grown up

in “tall tree country” in Canada, I spent a long time coming to love this part of our Earth. It’s not what I was used to.


Tall Tree Country

Tall Tree Country






A year living alone in the bush at Humpty Doo helped a lot and generated a PhD thesis on caring for Nature:




Humpty Doo 1992

Humpty Doo 1992








And fog in the valley in Nimbin can do it.



But this weeping in Maccas?


Something else altogether.


  • Weeping for gratitude to many protectors who braved discomfort and hardship to keep the vigil at Bentley for so many weeks.
  • Gratitude to the canny politicians and wise negotiators who kept seeking a political solution when many thought that was impossible.
  • Blessings on the parents who brought children to the dawn gatherings on the hill when warm beds beckoned.
  • Gratitude to a brave landowner who made his property available to the protectors.
  • Close friends of mine who put their lives on hold to give all they could.


Yollana had another insight into why I was weeping in Maccas.

Community consultation


All of the press reports – and the Bentley Alert text – identified inadequate community consultation as the key factor it the Government’s decision.




Yollana writes me:


Facebook post by David Filipczyk“Ž, Lock the Gate Alliance Inc.

Let it be known and remembered loudly and clearly:

Bentley was won,
Not because a politician stepped in!
Not because of a loop hole in the law!
Not because a dirty industry found a conscience!

The official reason for the cancellation of the drilling license is:

Insufficient community consultation!

In other words,  
Bentley was won because the people stood up, protested and refused to back down!


Does anybody really care about that? Community engagement has been my life’s work. I’ve written eight books about it.


I often feel like a boring old fart. Banging on about community engagement.


Who cares?


Well — yesterday morning — someone cared about community consultation.



enough to keep me banging on for another 25 years.


Go Bentley!




Rapturous reception at Avid Reader book launch for KTS

After years of drought, Brisbane was treated to a sparkling evening shower on Friday night, December 5th and a rapturous reception for Kitchen Table Sustainability.


Four of our book’s five authors were present at the book launch at popular West End bookstore, Avid Reader.


Cathy Wilkinson flew in from Swedish Lappland, Steph Vajda and Yollana Shore are West End residents. Karl and I drove from Nimbin in New South Wales.

Avid Reader Proprietor Krissy Kneen welcoming guests


Over 100 people crowded into the bookstore to hear Drew Hutton, founder of the Queensland Greens, launch the book with stories of community campaigns to save West End and Brisbane from planning disasters.


Bursts of applause greeted news of the generous and skilled pro bono graphics and public relations support provided to the authors by Jen and Dougal of Jaxzyn and Maureen Mullins and Elaine Hill.


Popular local real estate agent, Leo Tsimpikas, was applauded for his generous support as the landlord for my West End office during challenging times when many community engagement projects were being pursued.


Avid Reader Bookshop proprietor, Krissy Kneen, complimented the authors and Earthscan, the publisher, on the beautiful appearance of the book and encouraged guests to purchase it as a Christmas gift for their friends. Many books were purchased that night.


I welcomed guests, explained everyone’s contributions, including that of co-author Nancy Hofer in Vancouver and thanked many helpers, including her husband, Karl Langheinrich. I explained that Avid Reader had been the “kitchen table” at which many of the ideas in the book had initially been discussed.


Steph then read a passage about the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia and Cathy (embraced by her two small children) read a passage from Chapter 10 entitled, “Your input will be taken on board”. Yollana reminded everyone of the intergenerational aspects of sustainability and engagement and thanked guests for coming to share in the celebrations.


Guests waited to have books signed by the four authors and conversations continued into the evening on the footpath as people lingered to talk about the book, its ideas, sustainability and community. And how refreshing the rain was.


A great night was had by all.


The grateful authors feel blessed by the love of friends and family and the support of a strong activist community.


Co-author Cathy Wilkinson, who travelled from Swedish Lappland for the launch
The authors signing books


Grateful acknowldgement of photos: Angel Kosch