In the spirit of Critical Mass, our Extinction Rebellion group has been organising a bike swarm each month.
It’s a pretty sweet event when all goes smoothly, and lots of lovely folk roll up to ride together through our streets calling for climate action and making the streets safe for low carbon travel by bike.
I’m not up for taking photos while riding, so here you have photos of the friendly opening and closing. For a great photo of our October Rebellion bike swarm–click here!
Extinction Rebellion is a wonderful hive of every kind of activity in our city (and in so many other places around the world). I went to a crafternoon last weekend where people were screen printing thrifted t shirts and patches, cutting out stencils, and carving lino blocks for block printing. Meanwhile, I was taking instructions about how to sew a snail costume and insert zippers into it–some from my stash and some other that showed up from someone else’s stash.
Meanwhile, one of this week’s crafty projects at home has been cutting out some ripstop nylon to form pennants for our critical mass extinction bike swarms. The nylon came from the Remakery, and while Sue from the Remakery and I were in agreement that nylon is evil stuff–we were also in agreement that this piece of nylon is otherwise destined for landfill. So I cut out pennants, used a cardboard stencil to draw the image on the pennant, and then painted the design in.
I sewed a casing on each pennant and stitched across one end. Then it was off to the local bamboo patch to cut long slender bamboo poles, and to the hardware to get staples for the heavy duty stapler (we don’t want the pennants flying off!) And then onto our bikes to go to the swarm.
Above, a picture of our pre-swarm briefing. And below, a picture of us all taking up space on the road and letting passersby and road users know that we want climate action!
Hello dear Readers, I have designed a knitting pattern. You can, should you wish, download it from Ravelry here. You see it here in handspun coloured merino with eucalyptus-dyed wool contrast. But allow me to explain.
Last week I joined the thousands of Australian school children who went out on strike demanding climate action. Their speeches showed more understanding of climate change than anything coming out of our federal government, which is still supporting coal mining and oil drilling on a massive scale. The school students had more clarity than our state government, which has only partially, temporarily, banned fracking because it destroys farmland (and thus costs votes though these things certainly do matter in their own right)–not because of the impact of burning fossil fuels on global warming. I sing with a posse of climate singers who were out on the weekend telling the good people of our city about the issue and giving people the chance to write to the leader of the opposition about this issue.
And yet, on this day when world leaders are meeting in Katowice, Poland, to talk about what to do about this–there is just no coverage in my country of this critically important meeting. My government is not on track to meet the inadequate targets set in Paris. And the high pitched screaming sound between my ears when I lie awake in the middle of the night worrying about climate change is not quietening down.
It may not succeed. But it has to be attempted, because scientists have been patiently explaining and then explaining in tones of increasing panic, and then explaining with tears as they set out the loss we already face: and governments are not listening nor acting. Fossil fuel companies are continuing to fund political parties here and elsewhere. The current federal government is not even close to having a rational policy on climate. And nowhere are there signs of action being taken that comes close to responding to the grave threat every life form on earth now faces.
So, dear friends, I have decided to commit to being an organiser for Extinction Rebellion. And I also decided to design a beanie, watching all those English folk out being arrested and protesting in the chill weather of their winter as we head into the searing heat of our summer. I knit it in the week a tornado hit a town in our state for the first time in my memory. If you have questions about Extinction Rebellion, I hope you will roam their www site, find them on social media, and go here scroll down and watch their briefing on climate change and what we can do about it. This is an invitation to act with courage in times that demand no less. Let’s step up, for the love of life.