What better way to mark International Womens Day 2019 than for 120 KNAGs (Knitting Nannas against Gas/Greed) from all over NSW to converge on Sydney to get their message out, ‘United to Protect our Water’.
In a yellow and black tide, red-rimmed for solidarity with their indigenous sisters, they met in Martin Place. I’m an honorary KNAG, but my friend Sharyn O’Dell is a real one, so here’s ‘Sharyn2’ in battle-ready mode.
CBD workers hurried past the converging Nannas, but at the top of the steps from Martin Place station they couldn’t miss the chanting or singing line-up, including the indomitable Bill Ryan.
Nannas from Northern Rivers, Grafton, Gloucester, Coonabarabran, New England North-West, MidCoast, Central Coast, Great Lakes, Hunter, Illawarra and Sydney Loops all wore special sashes bearing the truth that must be faced and acted upon by our decision makers: ‘No Water – No Life’.
Of course Nannas must be perfectly groomed and dressed, to set a good example for the kiddies, as well as saving our land and water for them. Here Judi Summers gets the final touches from Louise Somerville and Clare Twomey.
The Nannas love to get together to catch up on the threats and related actions in their Loops, and are a jolly lot – except that they are deadly serious about what our governments are allowing to happen with our precious water and what they are NOT doing on climate change.
The recent water licence auction in the north-west, where coal companies bid three times what farmers could and hence got the water, shows that our system does not value water for the right reasons. Once more, profit is placed above people and planet.
The ever-persistent protector, researcher and documenter Jo Holden was there (right) here with Julia Lee from the Hunter, with a most poignant sign.
While the KNAGS were kitting up, commuters couldn’t fail to be aware that these Nannas were acting up… as Nanna Felicity made sure with this knitted sign.
Then the Nannas were ready to take the message to the pollies, to Parliament House. They headed up Martin Place, looking dangerously determined – and sounding it. In fact, at the Lismore inaugural KNAGs conference, in my speech I asked for ideas for a collective noun to suit and the consensus was ‘a determination of Nannas’.
Sandwiched in between choruses of ‘No water, no life’ to the tune of Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman, No cry’ was this impassioned chant:
‘Namoi River’s gone, if we don’t act now,
‘Condamine’s gone, if we don’t act now
‘Murrumbidgee’s gone, if we don’t act now,
‘Murray river’s gone, if we don’t act now.’
Once there, the whole ‘determination’ of 120 KNAGs tied themselves to the railings, suffragette-style, in a ‘soft lock-on’. They only just fitted along the fence. The police watched on; after all, Nannas are harmless … aren’t they?
Here they also hung examples of Nanna knitted wit and wisdom, sampler-style.
The fearsome Nanna MaryBeth (Brynhildr) from Cairns was there at her most challenging, although this tiny yellow and black insect that chose her helmet did not seem worried. Probably knows the Nannas are saving water for them too.
Young Climate activists, Manjot Kaur (17) and Vivienne Paduch (15), shared in the protest, well protected by Nanna Brynhildr and Nanna Angela Dalu from Lismore, two of the most fierce, funny and friendly Nannas. The girls invited all Nannas to join them in the school strikes on March 15.
Let’s hope enough politicians pay attention to the Nannas’ Knagging List – and that whoever gets in after March 23, they do what their Nannas tell them.
• Climate action immediately
• Transition to 100% renewables
• End water mining
• Every person to have access to potable water 24/7
• NSW gas ban
• Protect and respect Aboriginal sacred sites
• Protect prime agricultural land
• Create a youth advisory panel
• Revoke anti-protest laws
and ‘Don’t forget to keep your promises’!