Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Outward Bound was a fabulous panel hosted by Rosemarie Milsom about the significance of connecting with wild places, near and far. The panel was Bob Brown, Clarie Dunn, and Favel Parrett.
This was a most outstanding lesion, mostly due to the absolute passion for the environment of all three panelists, each with a wondrous story to tell.
Bob Brown, such a beautiful, softly spoken man, was full of wisdom and amazing kindness. I have always adored him, but to be in his presence was pretty spectacular. He asked the question when queried of his love of the wilderness, "why do we give each other flowers and not chainsaws." 

Oh, did I mention, he was funny too!! 

He spoke a lot of his love of the outdoors and we are meant to spend time there. He explained the curl of our ears are to hear things on the forest floor!
Favel Parrett grew up in Tasmania, and as part of her primary schooling, the kids were dropped off in the wilderness at night, and had to set up camp and survive. She said Tassies are shaped by their environment. Favel is a respected author, mostly for her new book, When the night comes, about Antarctica. Favel spoke about the chills coming off Antarctica through to Tasmania, and the Aurora Australis. This challenged her to head to Casey Station to research for a book.
Bob also spoke about Tasmania, in particular last August, when he thought they were being robbed after hearing horrendous banging outside. When they got up to check out the noise, they realised it was a whale giving birth outside their house in the water. They watched and followed it until it disappeared from view. What a marvelous experience. Of course, being Bob Brown, he rang National Parks the next morning to report it and baby and mother were doing fine!
Claire Dunn worked for The Wilderness Society until she felt overwhelmed by it all, and took to the bush for a year surviving only on what was out there. She started by talking about how she got into altruism, she spoke about tree felling in Chicheste,r and how she protested about this and from there she found herself working for The Wilderness Society.
For Bob, it was his first trip down The Franklin River, and the subsequent work on it that led to his activism. Listening to Bob describe that first trip, back in 1975, was the most magical and beautiful thing I have heard. His passion and love came through and he had me in tears, what a a gentle, beautiful soul. He describes being in nature as 'the greatest elixir for anxiety.'

Favel then described her first experience in Antarctica, she spoke softly of shades of blues and whites, with a little pink in the sky. It sounded wondrous. She also spoke about going to the toilet in the middle of the night, full sun with penguins waddling nearby. Her exquisite storytelling had the audience in the palm of her hand,
When Claire Dunn disappeared into the wild for a year and built her own hut she was having a breakdown of sorts. She was worn out from activism and her work, and felt she was talking about it all but not really living it.
Bob spoke about materialism versus spiritualism, both have a place and the thing is to get the balance right. It's ok to buy things you need, it's not ok to overdo it. And the worst thing we can do is to turn off from the problems. He says the best thing you can do is to take your children on a picnic. The bush is where we all come from.
What struck me most about Bob on this panel was the look of appreciation and kindness he had on his face when both Claire and Favel spoke. Generous and supportive, pleased to see the younger generation feeling the same way as him I guess.
Favel says you don't even have to go bush to appreciate the wild, she takes her nephew bird watching in city parks.
All three spoke passionately about the wilderness, their experiences and their writing. All were eloquent and passionate and strong, yet softly spoken, kind and gentle about their causes.

it was a truly amazing experience, I was in awe of their ability to spend long periods in the wild (I love nature, but being out and about in it I find very challenging).
I cannot wait to read all their books, and I highly recommend listening to any of them, but especially Bob Brown, speak if you ever get the chance.

Oh and I haven't mentioned Rosemarie, tireless, amazing Rosemarie, who asked fabulous questions and was a lively presence keeping things rolling...as you would expect!

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