Senator Surfer: Peter Whish-Wilson

Hullo waterperson, thanks for tuning in. While I was listening to our national Australian radio station awhile ago I was stunned to hear a very strong, very clear though compassionate political voice pouring out of the little device. I had tuned in near the beginning of someone’s absolute dressing down of the Australian government’s lack of action defending our iconic Humpback Whales, who were again under threat by Japanese industrial whalers in Antarctica.

                               Cuppa tea with a mate

Much to my own shame I know very little about Australia’s political sphere and I know very little about the individuals participating, yet I knew instantly that the humane voice booming towards the apathetic politicians around him could only belong to Peter Whish Wilson. The surfer, the family man, the wine maker, the politician who I feel is giving everything he’s got to make this world a more wonderful place.

                                      I surf. I vote. Therefore I am.

I’ve caught glimpses of Pete’s numerous efforts over the years, through mainstream media and also through our surfing rags and websites, though we have never crossed paths or shared any water time, unfortunately.  It was probably inevitable that we would meet up at this crucial moment where it seems every community in OZ is opposing an industrial bully of some sort that threatens local ecology, community and ways of life.

In Australia right now, it feels like I am watching old school industries act like snakes backed into a corner. They are threatened by a changing world view.  Masses are hoping to move away from traditional extraction methods and towards re-purposing, re-using and up-cycling. Masses want clean energy, clean air and clean water and food. Individuals and industries know our future depends on leaving our violent past behind. Yet here we have Australian governance and big industry desperately lashing out at anyone or anything challenging them. Here we have the good ole boys clubs of OZ trying to expand fish farming in Tassie, even though it costs the public money to grow toxic fish instead of making money. We have oil and gas companies given red carpet treatment to drill, frack, seismic test and bully their way into every coastline we inhabit.

We have to thank Pete for speaking for Cetaceans. He speaks eloquently, though he’s got nothing on whales and dolphins who can actually have five times the vocabulary of us measly little humans! If you live in OZ you are blessed to still surf with a lot of wildlife. There are plenty of lonely coasts on Earth where seabirds no longer nest, turtles no longer swim and humans exist in abundance. We surf for a lot of reasons, one is to escape ourselves , would you agree that is getting harder to do? 

Australians don’t want to hand over dirty rivers, broken land, toxic air and industrialised country to their children.  Does anyone, anywhere?  And there are plenty of Aussies doing something about it. Look at the win a few years ago at James Price Point, look at The Bentley Blockade, look at the Extinction Rebellion movement and the school strikes.  We are in the middle of a time where environmentalism is paradoxically being ‘un- extremed’ because every demographic is participating now, yet at the same time environmentalism is expressing itself in new, effective, and extremely exciting forms.  While the movement now includes Knitting Nannas and every other walk of life there is still the crucial need for political champions of the biosphere to exist and be supported by us.  And that is why when I heard Peter on the radio ripping into a lacklustre government I knew we had to have a chat.

                            Pete, filling his cup. Can you imagine caring so deeply for the biosphere that you would walk away from surf sessions like this so you could fill Parliament seats with rational, human voices that quite simply ‘give a shit’?

I hope you enjoy hearing from a fellow water person who is doing their best to carry the stoke and gratitude from being a surfer into the political realm, which can be so dehumanising. I think Pete  is taking the idea that surfers are naturally meant to be coastal custodians and is making it closer to being a truth. If only every surfing town had a Peter Whish Wilson, maybe they do. Maybe it’s you?

— Dave

3 Thoughts

  1. Hello Lauren and Dave,
    Once again a stellar guest. A very inspiring episode. I had been aware of Peter but this was the first time I’d heard him speak. His competence and commitment give me hope! As he said, dire as our situation undoubtedly is, we can’t give in to negativity. Which is something I have been guilty of.
    Very much enjoying the series, I only have one more ep to go though… hurry up and do some more please!
    One last thing, and this is not meant as criticism, just a small thing you could improve, in my opinion:
    Dave, you have a slight tendency to ramble; reiterating and reinforcing what the guest has just finished saying. As a listener I feel that the interviewer’s job should be to just guide the guest with brief questions so that the dialogue keeps flowing. The commentary should be kept out of the interview, I feel. I reckon it’d be less distracting if you kept it for the prologue or the closer of the show.
    Once again, a big thanks, you two.
    Love your work!

    1. Thanks Simon ! Cheers for the kind words and the feedback. Man, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve given Dave that same feedback. Hah. Right there with ya. In gratitude, Lauren

  2. it was a good listen Dave.
    I almost turned off after the opening ramble (13 minute before PWW got a word in!) but I’m glad I didn’t.
    really intelligent, thoughtful conversation.
    Thanks for doing that.

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