Some days seem more surreal than others. It’s #Menditmay, and part of me is considering ripping out the zipper on that pair of jeans with the zipper that won’t stay up this evening. Or perhaps re-stitching the lining of a lovely winter jacket that is a treasured gift.
In my day job today, though, I am thinking about the appalling toll that sexual assault and other forms of violence take on people and what, if anything, the law can do about that. This has been a project of some decades for me. And tonight I will be packing for Newcastle to go and participate in Break Free, an international set of peaceful nonviolent protests directed at the major sources of the emissions that cause climate change. I will be one of the people attempting to close the world’s biggest coal port, however briefly, because Australian coal is fueling global warming both here and in the other parts of the world where it is burned. For this world to survive in any recognisable form, that needs to stop, and stop quickly.
This morning I read one man’s account of participating in a protest at a lignite mine in Germany in 2015. While I was reading, I had Bob Marley’s song Three Little Birds playing, because I’ll be singing it as part of a global sing along with other local climate activists. But I didn’t feel like ‘every little thing’s going to be all right’ today. I’ve been a bit too focused on coral bleaching, abuse, and the wildfire in Alberta’s tar sands region that is devastating the region already laid waste by fossil fuel extraction. First Nations have been resisting this damage, and the damage in the country where I live, for generations. So, I was listening to Bob Marley’s reassuring song, reading about people’s efforts to bring a halt to fossil fuels and weeping.
Mending garments and other belongings is appropriate and meaningful, and I am committed to sharing these necessary skills. The first mending workshop was wonderful, and I am looking forward to the second, next week. But in addition, I am trying to work out how to participate in ending the massive damage being done to our beloved planet and every ecosystem and species that depends on it. I am certainly also trying to work out how to limit my own personal contribution to that damage, including by mending and planting out my neighbourhood with native plants as a gesture of care. But that will never be enough, and here is a sensational 11 minute video that explains why.
To quote Bill McKibben, ‘The time has come to take action commensurate with the scale of the problem.’ So this weekend I will be doing less stitching and more civil disobedience in the name of earth mending, with many others. Because I think every mender knows that when something is coming apart at the seams, the first thing you do is stop the damage getting worse. This is a crucial step if mending is to be possible at all.
If you wish you could be at one of the Break Free protests but you are not able to, you might consider being a digital witness.