In addition to his well-known work on radio show The Coodabeen Champions and writing cricket and football songs including That’s the Thing about Football, Greg is an award-winning songwriter on Australia’s Folk and Country Music circuit.
Greg’s earliest engagement with environmental issues came from his sense of empathy with rainforests exposed to destruction. He identifies strongly with nature, on both a practical, ecological level, as our “provider and shelter”, and spiritually as “Mother/God/Spirit”.
“A giant rainforest tree is a much more valuable and precious thing than we first notice,” he says. This sense is evocatively expressed in Greg’s song Earthbeat, where he sings,
“the temples we make fall to the ground
the world of men comes tumbling down
but the leaves tremble with the coming rain
and nature will prevail again
I’m standing out here with his powerful tree
Oh what a friend to have in times like these
Can I survive without this tree?
Well no I can’t this tree is me”
Greg is keenly aware that there is no economy without environment, and his hope for the future is that Governments and leaders will link development and resource use to acceptance that resources are a finite commodity.
His song Our Greatest River is both a vivid tribute to the Darling, which he portrays as a stately Queen on an epic journey, and a plea that we “save [her] life”. This is echoed in his hope for Victoria: that we succeed in saving the Murray.
“How did we, as a nation, allow our largest, most revered river to be brought to the brink of extinction?” he asks.
On a practical, day-to-day level, Greg takes numerous small actions to reduce his footprint. He uses less lights, has less appliances in use (although failing dramatically with the ducted heating) and has switched to organic grocers.
As reflected in another of his song titles, Greg is convinced that Something’s Gotta Be Done. His advice to people who agree with this but don’t know where to start? “Join Environment Victoria and the ACF.”
Story by Sophie Gillies