LOIS Katz, a diminutive woman with a broad smile and bright, wide eyes has become known for her activist work in the local area.
That includes caring for injured animals in Wildlife Rescue (WIRES) and the South East Region Conservation Alliance (SERCA), which works to bring to our attention, among other things, the plight of fragile habitats and the impact activities such as logging and mining haveon them.
The Greens Party is another organisation that benefits from her zeal and she is also a member of Amnesty International.
“I do a little bit of painting and gardening, but the house is a mess,” she laughed when asked what she does in her spare time.
Her accent has a clear US twang which she said was ingrained in Miami, and is barely diluted even though she has lived in Australia since her husband, Dan, and two children Lally (now a well-known Australian playwright) and Mike (a successful businessman) emigrated here 23 years ago.
“We’d never been here, but we figured Australia was a great place so we packed up the kids and came and thank God we did,” she said.
“We’ve loved it.”
They lived in Canberra until she retired three years ago from her job as a pre-school teacher (“It’s the best job in the world, just so much fun!”), then sold the house and moved to Tathra.
Lois quickly became a part of the thin green line that has blockaded and protested the impact logging was having on natural habitats and the Aboriginal community.
Victories have been small but satisfying – she cited a court order to halt logging in one Aboriginal burial site as one of her favourites – but there’s no diminishing of her desire to fight the good fight.
“I wish I didn’t,” she said when asked why she cares so much.
“I wish it wasn’t something I had to do, it would be nice not to do all this work and worry about future generations.
“It sounds melodramatic, I know, but it’s the truth – people who do this don’t have a choice.
“It costs us money with fines and petrol and time, and we’re battling against laws that are wrong but are in place.”
For Lois it started with her activist father and has been something that hasn’t stopped since she was a young woman in the States.
“I always felt for the underdog and always had the leanings of wanting to help people who couldn’t help themselves. It’s so easy to see a need if you want to get involved.
“(But) you can’t fix the whole world, that’s for sure; you have to draw a line or you will end up a basket case.”
Lois’s ideals don’t make her popular with everyone and she is at pains to point out that her beef is not with those who work in the industries she opposes, she understands the reality of it all.
Her fight is with the people at the top who make the decisions.
She’s currently protesting the proposal for the Eden chip mill to become a biomass power station and making submissions against plans for gold mining in the region, she was at a recent council meeting showing the impact of caging chickens to produce eggs and she has been trying to stop people allowing their dogs into the natural habitat of terns that fly 16,000km from Asia to nest here.
“We want to show what happens if you go ahead with some of these activities,” she said.
“It’s all about balance.”