Earth… a photo for Earth Day 2017


This Week’s Photo Challenge posted the theme of Earth Day. What better way to celebrate it than with an image suggestive of nature and human sufficiency of needs… sufficiency in nature.

We have all we need to live a fulfilling life about us. Sun and rain, water and soil and, hopefully the convivial company of co-operative neighbours.

I’m paraphrasing the words of Bill Mollison here. He was one of the inventors of the permaculture design system that is today used in a broad swath of ways to build convivial, cooperative and resilient communities. What Bill was getting at was that the sun affords us a source of energy, the rain and waterways the water we need to sustain us and grow crops, the soil the medium for growing some of the food that  sustains us.

A source of energy, water, food and shelter — these are the basics. We add to them with our friends and colleagues and those cultural tools and technologies that go towards living a good life.

The image

The image is a weekender shack in Royal National Park on Sydney’s southern fringe. The location in the park is a small shack settlement immediately south of Garie Beach, one of several shack settlements in the national park. If you walk the two-day Coast Track through the national park you pass through the shack settlement. You have to walk to the settlements as there are no roads into them.

The shack has all people need other than a space to grow food which has to be carried in. It is weatherproof shelter; a water tank stores rainwater falling on the roof for cooking and washing; a table under the awning is for cleaning fish harvested from the ocean; inside, there would be a bottled gas camping stove; a body board leaning agianst the wall is for those days when the Pacific’s swells are running. Some of the shacks have photovoltaic — solar electric — panels on the roof that store electrical energy in batteries so the occupants can have that which we so readily take for granted — electric light.

I made this photo on a fine summer day in January when we walked in to Burning Palms with its beach and the forest-clad escarpment rising steeply above.

Camera was an old Canon 40D SLR fitted with a fast Canon lens of around 18-55mm focal length. ISO 200. The kit was bulky and heavy and took up too much space in my pack. That’s solved now with my Sony a6300 kit with its 18-105mm f4 lens.


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