What with bushfires in Australia, famine raising its terrifying face as locusts swarm across parts of Africa already in drought, floods in Indonesia and NZ, and a pandemic spreading across China and beyond, I have not decided to give up on pressing for action on climate and ecological crisis. I’m often doing some role at actions I attend but sometimes I get a photo in! So here’s a round up of a few from the last month or so through to early February.
Tag Archives: climate action
It won’t come as a surprise to hear that I reckon collective political action is what we need at this point in history. The science says we are now in such profound trouble on the climate emergency front that small scale individual actions, even multiplied many times, aren’t going to sort this out. We need to join together, get active and get vocal.
As I write, large parts of this country are on fire and in drought. Remote Aboriginal communities are living through record breaking temperatures without decent housing or airconditioning, or even guaranteed water supply. Daily life for many people here and all over the world, is hard. And our government has done all in its power to block progress on climate action in Madrid, as well as continuing to support coal, oil and gas mining at home.
Meanwhile, my quiet suburban life is an incredible privilege! While recognising the crucial role of collective action–we are all living day by day, and at that level ethics and educating ourselves form crucial parts of our daily lives. So here are some things I’m doing at home. I love hearing about what other folks are up to, so feel free to suggest!
Eat your weeds! Above are dandelion and sow thistle ready to be added into a silverbeet pie. Delicious, nutritious, easy–and motivating if you’re not a lover of weeding.
Litter picking. For me, this has become an end use for plastic bags that have gone past the point of being used in the kitchen, but have come into the house somehow. I pop one in my bag, along with a pair of gloves if that’s the main purpose of my walk, and pick up the trash I find around the neighbourhood. Sometimes I do it on my bike. Just stop at a messy spot and collect whatever is there.
[I digress to give you an image of a dung beetle. I was so excited when I saw it!! Surely the emblem of the litter picker if there is one…]
Compost it. I deal with our rubbish as close to our house as I can, and when the occasion arises, compost the street leaves dropped on our street, ditto for bark. The worm farm will accept natural fibre items that are beyond repair and reuse. I give a decent burial to the victims of cars and other sudden deaths in our suburb. I know what happens next will not be prettier as surely as I know that leaving a glass bottle in the street will likely lead to smashed glass unless I put it in my recycling bin.
Use it up! I’ve been working harder at making sure the wilted sad fruit and veg get their chance to be delicious dinner. Here, the no longer crisp apples become roasted stuffed apples, delectable (also super easy).
On the use it up front, I’m a maker of stock and have returned to what I used to do at the lowest ebb of income in my life–turning peelings, tops, celery leaves, sad and wilted vegetables and such, into the stock that makes risotto or lentil stew or whatever you fancy, sing.
More using up–as my beloved is on a gluten free diet, I’ve been making GF sourdough bread at home (YES!! Totally Possible). At times the freezer holds quite the collection of stub ends, crusts and such. I’ve discovered I can turn them into crumbs straight from the freezer, and since I make things like spinach pie with no pastry these days, I top them with these crumbs (yes, direct from freezer to dinner via food processor), a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and a drizzle of olive oil for a tasty, crunchy topping.
Sharing! I had some serious time on the couch (nothing life threatening–fret not) in the last while and I have been using the local free libraries and book nooks to swap books I’ve read for ones I haven’t, and keep books and magazines circulating. I’ve read books I would never have bought. I now find there are three book nooks like this one (in Penola! where I dropped in a book picked up in Mount Gambier and took away a historical novel) walking distance from my house.
BYO. I know you all do this too. Keep cups and all that. This is me at a stop on a long distance road trip. If I have access to two of these thermos things, I travel with breakfast in one (porridge or “bircher” muesli depending on the weather) and something hot and decent for lunch in the other. Often I grab cutlery from the drawer at home, but if the occasion seems likely to risk losing cutlery we want to keep, we have plastic cutlery that we had no choice about at some stage, saved for just such cases. I often attach it with a rubber band for simplicity’s sake.
Make your own. Sorry, not a food stylist! I know you do this too. I’ve had a breadmaking breakthrough and I love saving plastic that used to come into the house with double wrapped GF bread in particular, by making my own and making for friends.
But above all, take to the streets, and your phone, and your keyboard. Don’t be alone with your fear and despair, or with your longing for something to happen. Gather with friends. Make new friends. We need all of us to take action in defence of life on earth now.
There was a great report on the Australian government’s climate action on national TV this week. And lest I be misunderstood by people who are not from around here, what I mean is our government’s virtually complete inaction. The barrier our politicians represent to real action. The world’s scientists have declared that we need 12 years of emergency level action on an unprecedented global scale to avert catastrophe, and the Australian governments federal and state are doing the equivalent of sticking their fingers in their ears, chanting “rhubarb rhubarb”, pushing cash in a brown paper bag toward the fossil fuel industry, and behaving as though there is nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, the schoolchildren of the world and supportive adults are organising in the streets. #climatestrike. Because schoolchildren know the gravity of the situation. That is how smart they are; that is also how transparent government inaction is. So I added myself to their number in solidarity, and when I had to squeeze myself onto the train to get to the rally, I already knew it was going to be BIG! My pictures don’t do it justice. I love being able to stand behind children’s leadership on this issue.
Extinction Rebellion in four states of our country delivered our demands to our governments in March. Here in South Australia we read out our demands and hand delivered them (yes, we did it by email as well just in case) to the government, the parliament and the Advertiser as a representative of the media. I realise it’s a lot to ask when the planet is at risk (cough)–but we are demanding government and the media tell the truth about climate change and take serious, emergency level action. Our collection of upcycled high visibility vests for marshals and police liaisons have been screen printed by an awesome friend; cured in the hot sun (the photo) and aired out after use ready for a good deal of future action.
And then there was Paddle Out for the Bight, an action designed to let Equinor (a Norwegian fossil fuel giant) know that we do not think drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight is a good idea. Because–whale sanctuary and wilderness–oil spill modelling shows unbelievable damage would result from a spill in these treacherous seas–and, you know?? CLIMATE CHANGE is a mighty good reason to keep it in the ground. See you on the streets and on the beaches, my friends.
The last few months have included some travel for various reasons. I think it’s obvious that air travel raises my carbon footprint and should be avoided when possible. But perhaps I’ve already mentioned that my life is full of contradictions? I’m trying to do what I can, when I can. When I went to Brisbane I was lucky enough to be able to buy vegetables and fruit at the local farmers’ market. It was luck! I had no idea it would be close to where I was staying. I’d selected accommodation so I’d have less traveling each day I was there, and so I could travel by ferry when I needed public transport. In another spot of luck, I’d been saving my peelings and pits in the fridge for a few days trying to figure out whether my only option was to put them in the bin, when I realised I was walking distance from New Farm community garden.
I was convinced a community garden would have a composting system I could sneak my scraps into, but imagine my delight to discover a community composting hub! I went back a couple of times because it’s mango season and there I was making cold rolls for dinner and eating a mango every day. And because the community garden was brilliant. My other travelling with less waste discovery was in Melbourne, where the lovely out-laws took us to Coburg Farmer’s market. There was live music, there was delicious food–and there was a no single use policy on cups, plates and utensils. So there was a serious washing station with clearly explained steps, and lots of people large and small using it.
My other big carbon footprint management strategy is to protest when travelling whenever possible. Brisbane is the heart of opposition to the Adani coal mine–which is a bad idea on so many fronts–Indigenous owners oppose it, we already know we need to keep existing reserves of coal in the ground to have a hope of keeping climate change to tragic rather than catastrophic levels, the water this mine will take is shocking, coal will be shipped out right by the Great Barrier Reef–you know what I’m saying. I’m saying Stop Adani!
It’s also good to see what people in other places do–I caught up with an activist I met over 20 years ago and we talked up using music in protest (and did some singing, of course). And it was fun being deputised by my beloved and her parents to be the one going out to save the world while they stayed home providing loving care and being unable to get out much, respectively. They needed to check that I would make sure I came home again.
I managed to come home both times–and there were some very funny stories of members of the family opposing Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war, and being arrested during the Premiership of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, when the right to assemble and the right to march were themselves the things people were protesting to achieve, because they were criminalised by Joh.
And in closing… some photos of fabulous Brisbane wildlife!
At some point in the #tuffsocksnaturally project, I had a point of anxiety where I just couldn’t imagine being able to spin enough sock yarn to keep up with my constant sock knitting. A person with more capacity for consistency might decide on knitting something else. Or focusing on spinning more. I didn’t do that this time. The future is unwritten so I’ll see how it unfolds and aim to move in a positive direction! Instead, I decided on harm minimisation and bought some all-wool sock yarns from a destash on Ravelry.
I managed to buy some undyed yarn, but while I’ve avoided yarns containing nylon, AKA plastic, I haven’t completely avoided chemical dyes. So, there’s an ongoing project. These socks for my beloved are shown above, on some form of public transport or another.
Here, having a superb hot chocolate with my daughter and a pretty serious conversation if I remember right!
On our way to a climate action protest (by train). Sock and backpack in foreground, banner for our climate action choir in its vaguely indigo-dyed bag laid along the bench! And here they are, done, dusted and ready for winter which feels very far away here at this time of year.