John Gordon believes a song can get people thinking. He spends the better part of a year teaching musicians from Australia’s aboriginal communities modern recording techniques. An experience that brought him in touch with environmental problems. Ruhi Kandhari caught up with the protest songwriter who was in Delhi to promote his song, Australia—Whore of the world
Why a song on mining?
I am a trained environmental engineer, so I always wanted to write a song on environmental degradation caused by mining in Australia. I am not sure why I did not write it before, but it is an opportune time as mining is expanding in the country. Coal mining caught my attention as Australia is the biggest coal exporter. And it is coal that is heating up the planet. I won’t feel good if I don’t write about it.
What is the focus of your song?
Like I said in the song, We are shipping it out and no one says anything…, not many people seem to realise the consequences of mining and exporting coal, as it is a big money spinner. Through the song I want to send out the message that Australia being the largest coal miner and exporter should bear some responsibility for climate change. It also has a message for other countries: don’t buy our coal. I came to India to spread the message because it is one of the top five importers of Australian coal. On its way to becoming a global power, India is also considered the fastest growing coal importer.
How do Australians react to mining?
We call ourselves lucky as we have a lot of mineral wealth. But mining has become indiscriminate in the past couple of years. Mining companies can claim any piece of land they like in Australia. Earlier, most coal mines in Australia were confined to sparsely inhabited areas. But now for the greed of royalties the government is allowing indiscriminate mining—on farmlands and in populous areas. And the impact is evident.
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