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Reportage

Ghost species and shadow places

Seabirds and plastic pollution on Lord Howe Island

I WANT TO walk the shadow places. These are sites of extraction and production: think coal-seam gas fields and their attendant communities, think eroded landscapes and marine dead-zones, think sweatshops – all the places from which we extract resources, or to which we outsource disorder, risk and pollution. They provide for our material comfort, yet in the words of philosopher Val Plumwood, they are places ‘we don’t know about, don’t want to know about, and in a commodity regime don’t ever need to know about.’[i] Is it possible to expand our responsibilities beyond care for home and the places we love, to the degraded, broken and overlooked?

The sparse plains of my own childhood in western New South Wales were marked by conflict, chain-clearing, water theft and suicide: all out of sight, out of mind for most of us. Perhaps that’s why I seek shadow places, walk scalded ground, touch... Read more

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From Griffith Review Edition 63: Writing the Country © Copyright Griffith University & the author.

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