Nanas show no fear in quest to save environment

OLDER PROTESTERS: 95-year-old Bill Ryan of the Sydney Knitting Nanas and Friends group joins the Lismore group in protest.
OLDER PROTESTERS: 95-year-old Bill Ryan of the Sydney Knitting Nanas and Friends group joins the Lismore group in protest. Knitting Nanas

THE yellow attired knitting nanas are prepared to stand up, stand out and stand their ground on issues that will help save the land, air and water for future generations.

They don't fear any politicians in their quest for a better future.

Give or take, there are now 40 Knitting Nanas Against Gas groups active in Australia. Each is autonomous, "working more as a web than as a pyramid," co-founder Claire Twomey describes.

"Most of our active women are in their 60s and 70s," Claire said. There are a few men in the group now, as well.

"You don't have to knit and you don't have to be nana. It's open to anyone who wants to abide by our philosophy."

The first KNAG group, which was formed in Lismore in 2012, started with protesting gas and coal issues, but subsequent protests by this group and others have taken up climate change issues.

In Victoria there's a KNAG group fighting old-growth logging and in Canberra there is another group protesting children in detention.

The protests take many forms from locking onto machinery and blockading offices to providing information at festivals and sitting down at key public locations knitting or crocheting.

While they advocate non-violent action, each group or loop make their own decision through consensus on what form of action they will take.

"We're well presented, not offensive and make everything easy for everyone to talk to us," Claire said.

"And we have the experience to communicate in a non-threatening way."

Sitting each week outside of the Lismore office of Thomas George MP, and with their successful protest against Metgasco now a proud memory, Claire and her group of a dozen nanas are knitting and working on how they can support other KNAG groups.

"We pick a place and we go back there every week.

"It does wonders for the community who loves us and toot their horns.

"It reminds the politicians there are people in the community who won't give up.

"We're not afraid. We are going to keep doing whatever we can to save the land, air and water for the kiddies."

Topics:  community general-seniors-news grandparents knitting nanas against gas protests

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