The letter request:
Matt Damon is working on a film based around Coal Seam Gas – ‘Promised Land’. It will be released in Australia in early 2013. I’d like to invite him to come to Australia for a tour throughout Queensland where Coal and Coal Seam Gas are major environmental issuess.
Dear Matt Damon,
For quite a while now I’ve had an inkling you’re one of the good guys. When you and Ben Affleck won that Oscar and you gave a shout-out to your dad about how your seat was better than Jack Nicholson’s, that cracked me up. And your impression of Matthew McConaughey always angling to take off his shirt – classic. And when you were crowned the Sexiest Man Alive and said that thing about being an ‘aging suburban dad’ – super sweet. So you see, even though you’re a total stranger who lives a million miles away (figuratively, if not literally) my impression of you has always been, ‘That Matt Damon, what a great guy.’ Which is why I was thrilled but not surprised to hear about your upcoming film Promised Land.
As you may already know, coal and coal seam gas are major environmental issues in Australia, particularly in the North Queensland region where I live and work. We have the dubious ‘honour’ of being the world’s largest coal exporting region. At the same time, Queensland’s farms and towns are facing the onslaught of the race by government-supported industry to exploit coal seam gas. You obviously know the dangers of this and so understand when I tell you that, here at the North Queensland Conservation Council, our campaign against coal seam gas is urgent and unequivocal. It must be stopped.
So when I heard about Promised Land I did a triple somersault with a handstand finish out of pure unadulterated joy. A feature film with wide distribution is a stunning way to raise awareness about an important issue and we campaigners are incredibly grateful to you and everyone involved for taking it on. You want to know what my impression of you is now? ‘That Matt Damon, Sexiest Man Alive doesn’t even BEGIN to describe.’
And so it is that I’m writing to pitch you an idea. I know that filmmakers sometimes come out to Australia to spruik their wares and I’m hoping that you have such a publicity tour planned for the release of Promised Land. If you do, we would love to invite you to attend an awareness and fund-raising event in Townsville, North Queensland, to shine a light on the dangers of coal seam gas mining in that region. All details would be arranged to fit in with your prior commitments.
And what will you get in return? Well, if you accept this invitation my impression of you will catapult to, ‘That Matt Damon, without a doubt the most tremendous Homo sapien in the history of the species. (Excluding perhaps Aung San Suu Kyi.) (And Patti Smith.)’ And, you know, I wouldn’t be alone. There are plenty of people who believe that turning on a kitchen faucet shouldn’t lead to a fireball for breakfast or a cancer-riddled death for lunch, and they have every right to believe this because it should be the truth. If you accept this invitation these people will exalt your name and, even better, join the campaign for clean energy.
And, as if that weren’t enough, Queensland is a pretty gorgeous place to visit. Just ask Matthew McConaughey – he was here a few years ago shooting a movie called Fool’s Gold. I haven’t seen it but from what I’ve heard his shirt never even made it off the hanger. And who can blame him? We’re the Sunshine State – it says so on our numberplates. Now if only there was a way to harness that glorious, limitless, free sunshine and use it to power the world…
North Queensland Conservation Council