As most of you know, last Christmas Common Grace members crowd-funded solar panels for Kirribilli House as a clean energy gift to our nation. Several months later, we were informed that the Government would not accept the gift for various reasons that really didn’t stack up.
So we tried again, explaining how easily these objections could be overcome and yet - despite a pile of media articles reporting the story and an increasingly loud chorus of Christians and non-Christians urging them to #acceptthegift – again the Government said no.
Now… after months of exploring alternative options, we are pleased to let you know that we have finally found the PERFECT gift recipient and (even better!) they have ACCEPTED THE GIFT! Hooray!
Get your akubra hat ready and meet the solar gift beneficiary!
Why Aussie Farmers?
We all know that farmers work hard to provide us with food that keeps us healthy and that, as the world experiences its hottest decade on record, Aussie farmers are facing longer and more intense drought. In addition, many of our farmers spend years trying to stop large corporations from digging massive coal mines, and coal seam gas projects that endanger their family, prime agricultural land and a clean energy future.
So, knowing that farmers are on the front lines of climate change, we asked Josh Gilbert, chair of NSW Young Farmers Association for advice on who to offer the solar panels too. Josh told us about a family who have been an inspiration to young farmers right across the country - Derek and Kirrily Blomfield and their two boys Patrick and Reilly.
Derek and Kirrily are passionate about regenerative agriculture (which focuses on improving soil health, which enables the soil to absorb huge amounts of carbon pollution) and its role to create healthy food and a healthy world. Known as the "Conscious Farmers", Derek and Kirrily run a sustainable beef practice on the Liverpool Plains in NSW and educate young farmers how to create thriving, nourishing and sustainable food producing landscapes. They are local legends, known to have inspired other young farmers with their passion for sustainable agriculture, and having invested countless hours over the past ten years to protect some of Australia's best agricultural land from dangerous coal projects.
For all of these reasons, I was excited to give the solar panels gift to the Blomfield family on your behalf, traveling to the Liverpool Plains last Friday.
The day was a huge success, with media covering the event (like Renew Economy and Roof Juice), and plans made for an exciting new climate justice campaign (stay tuned!), but I reckon the most beautiful part about the day was seeing the reaction from the family to the messages of encouragement that the solar panel donors had sent through.
This gift is the beginning of a new journey. Shenhou corporation is planning to dig a 35 square km coal mine in the heart of Australia’s food bowl right near Derek and Kirrily’s farm. Farmers across Australia have warned that if the mine goes ahead, it could cause irreversible damage to groundwater, posing an unacceptable risk to the future of farming in Australia’s best agricultural land. The young farmers in the area have been incredibly brave and have led a campaign to stop the mine from going ahead. You know this is something we are going to want to celebrate even more in the days ahead, right? Stay tuned!