The town of Eneabba consists of one convenience store, one auto body shop, an elementary school, one tavern and one petrol station.
It is a dry, sandy, vast, empty, desolate landscape.
Total population? 286.
I will admit freely, that on first glance there was not much to be enthusiastic about Eneabba.
When my partner and I moved to the area we had to convince ourselves that we’d made the right decision. Mike and I discussed this as I watched the rolling horizon sprawl for miles from the passenger seat in our pathetically small car. I had been warned, but had no idea how people survived let alone farmed in the brutal conditions on this land. We were only meant to stay for three months. I just needed my second working holiday visa (which in Australia means you need to work in a remote area to extend your visa for a second year). I was going to check in, do my hard time and then leave. I couldn’t wait to make my exit, and we’d only just arrived.
Through blood, flies, sweat, love, fire, and tears; we lived, worked and relaxed alongside the locals in this isolated town for two years.
Over time, I became enchanted with the place.
The community in Eneabba welcomed us with open arms. The landscape slowly revealed it’s many natural wonders.
When I wasn’t chasing sheep, or rounding up cattle I was crouched in the bush with my boss observing the exuberant displays of colour exploding through the spiked, brutal bushes from May to December. She was passionate and quickly showed me the endless variety of wildflowers on her property.
And honestly? It was astounding. The drab lifeless bush that I had initially scanned and discarded was in fact teeming with thousands of varieties of wildflowers.
Among biologists, this region is regarded as one of the main biodiversity hotspots in Australia (and also world wide). There are over 12,000-recorded species of wildflowers in Western Australia. In fact this region is so highly regarded in it’s diversity that the likes of Sir David Attenborough have been here to study it’s wonders. As a relative comparison the British Isles have 3842 types of plants on record.
While the native flora and fauna have adapted to the harsh, dry conditions; mankind and our counterparts have not. The region’s water is supplied by tapping into subterranean aquifers. This (apart from rain water – which can be sparse) is the only source of water in the region. The locals rely heavily on the bore water to survive and sustain their livelihood (farming cattle and sheep as well as cropping).
This place is special. It’s also worth saving.
The land in this region is currently being pursued relentlessly by the gas industry.
The locals have previously protected the land from coal mining, and have come together again to help protect the countryside from gas mining. Coorow Shire (where Mike and I spent a season seeding just before we moved to Perth) has just recently called for a moratorium, and it’s very hopeful to know that many other local shires will indeed follow suit.
Right now people are fighting to protect this shared water source from pollution, and prevent future generations disparity over poor choices in our lifetime.
Eneabba is one of those towns. In fact there are many small communities that are fighting against this terrible industry worldwide.
Australia, United State, Canada and many other countries are all entangled in this mess… If we all speak up and act, it will discourage this damaging, unregulated, dangerous industry from taking hold in small communities and steer us to embrace energy sources that are indeed sustainable.
Please share this blog if you are concerned for future generations right to safe water.
You can also retweet if you follow @Redterrain on Twitter.
© 2014 Redterrain