Walk for Solar

I am currently writing in the middle of no where in South Australia on day eleven of the 14 day Walk for Solar.

The property we are staying on tonight is a farmers property, with chickens criss crossing between our feet, and earlier the farmer brought over five six week old puppies, which considerably lightened everyone’s mood.

We have passed the 200km mark, and as our numbers continue to swell with more walkers joining us daily, what we are doing is starting to seem more real.

The walk has been a whirlwind for the last week and it has started to seem as though the life we are now leading is the norm.

The routine of waking up at sunrise, packing camp, walking all day and then re setting up camp like a band of travelling gypsies is no longer hard or foreign to us all.

The prospect that this is all going to end in three days is a welcomed and also scary realisation.

Together as a group we have formed strong bonds based on a shared appreciation and desire to work together to ensure Australia’s clean energy future.

Walking over 25kms each day on average has lead to many sore knees, ankles, feet and lots of blisters.

Luckily I am one of about two walkers who are yet to suffer from any blisters, but they have managed to cripple some walkers so much they have had to take a day off.

The walk has made some of us slightly delirious with people bursting into song spontaneously at all hours of the day and night and guitars popping up as we walk to help serenade us to the next camp.

The scenery as we walk along is as varied from dirt tracks next to train lines and mountains, with train drivers wizzing past waving to us, to highways with cars zooming past showing their support.

Some days we walked through the country side with rolling fields flanking us on either side and ruined stone cottages crumbling in fields, with the secrets of the dwellings floating away forever.

For several days we walked alongside a wind farm, that reminded us why we are walking for renewable energy.

Some of the walkers even managed to make the trek up to the top of the wind farm at sunset, and watch the sky turn pink and golden amongst the backdrop of wind turbines.

The Walk for Solar is a 325km walk from Port Augusta in northern South Australia, to Adelaide the capital city of the state.

Over 100 people are walking in support of the first big solar thermal energy plant being built in the town of Port Augusta.

You see Port Augusta currently has a coal fired power station just outside the town that has been de commisioned to go offline.

The energy station is going to be adapted to become either a gas or solar thermal energy plant, but solar thermal is the more viable option for both economic and climate change reasons.

The town of Port Augusta voted as to which energy option they wanted, and over 4,000 residents voted in support of solar energy.

The only problem is the state and federal government still needs convincing that solar energy is a more viable option over gas, and so this is why we are walking for two weeks.

For me the reason for walking is simple, this is my future that is being decided.

The first big solar thermal plant in Australia will start the turn of the tide towards more renewable energy projects being implemented and built, and will lead to a clean energy future for both myself and my country.

I hope that this walk will lead to the Port Augusta town having their voices heard, and after the first big solar plant is built, many more being commissioned, especially in my home state of Western Australia.

Being so removed from the outside world it is hard to know what is being said about the campaign, but this we do know.

Every town that we have walked through, we have been met with nothing but support and generosity.

The locals have welcomed us with open arms and have expressed their full support behind the campaign.

One little boy in particular in Port Pirie joined us on his way home from school as we walked into the town on day four.

The day had started off overcast, cold and rainy and by lunch time it was 30 degrees and many walkers had opted to go to camp earlier.

Only a handful of us remained to trudge into town, and to be honest our spirits were low.

This little boy, of about ten, bounced up to us to ask if he could join our ‘fundraiser.’

Upon enquiring what we were walking for he replied ’well I think that’s great!’

That little boy is why we are walking, to help to create pressure on the government to secure the future of those who don’t think that their voices are being heard.


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