Monday, 22 September 2014


In permaculture it is often said that within a problem is the solution.  David Holmgren's classic example is, "You don't have a snail problem, you have a duck deficit.".

Today I've been thinking about the fact that the answer to climate change is in the term itself.  Change.  We need change.  We need a change in government attitudes and policies.  We need change to the consumerist attitudes and indulgent lifestyles.  We need change to the way we produce and source our food.  We need major change and we need it NOW!  There is not one of us that could not make some type of change to reduce our impact on the situation.
Luckily lots and lots of people are aware of this.  Yesterday, 21st of September, saw marches all over the world.  There were huge amounts of people turning up to local marches and calling for climate action.  Yay!

Our environment group didn't hold a march.  We decided to do something a bit different.  We decided that rather than march, we would encourage people to address climate change at a personal level. We sat outside a local supermarket for four hours and sewed shopping bags.  They were made from recycled material and we gave them away for free.  We hoped to encourage people to stop using plastic bags which are so harmful to our environment.  With the bags, we gave a flier listing various easy ways people could address their personal impact on climate change.
It was a fun morning and we spoke to many people.  With a bit of luck we will have made a difference in some way.  We certainly didn't get our message across to everyone!  One older woman was delighted with her new bag and also took one to give her friend.  Then she popped into the supermarket and emerged with.... you guessed it!  A plastic bag!!  Argghh!  However, if only five of all the people we spoke to change from plastic to reusable, I would be delighted.  It would be change.
Sometimes I despair that people are hiding their heads in the sand.  I think I understand.  I believe their attitude is born from fear.  Well they should be scared; very scared.  But head burying doesn't seem very wise to me.

Other times I despair that people are so indulgent that, although they acknowledge a climate emergency, they don't want to adjust their lifestyles.  These people are looking for answers through technology.  While I totally support renewable energy and love some of the clever advances that are being made with green products, we live in a finite world.  There just aren't enough resources to go around.  Life needs to be simpler.  If only people could embrace the beauty in life that has nothing to do with beautiful homes, gorgeous clothing, owning the latest gadgets or just shopping in general.  Life is so much more.  It is family, friendship, appreciation for warm and comfortable homes, belonging in a useful and meaningful way to community, and animals, and tummies full of good wholesome food, vegetable gardens, clean water to drink and do-it-yourself and..... I could go on all day!
Change.  It isn't hard.  You need to make a conscious decision that you want to vary the way you do something and stick to it.  That's all there is to it!

Here are the small changes we suggested in our leaflet -

·         Shop with reusable bags (including veggie bags)

·         Buy local

·         Buy organic

·         Drive less (complete several tasks on one trip)

·         Use public transport

·         Grow vegetables

·         Cook meals from scratch (cheaper too!  Woo Hoo!)

·         Keep chooks – they give you eggs and when you feed them scraps you’ll reduce your rubbish

·         Buy second hand where possible

·         Repair items rather than throw them out

·         Use less electricity – turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use

·         Cook in bulk and freeze (uses one lot of energy for more than one meal)

·         Buy only things you really need, find other ways to have fun than shopping

In summary, I'm delighted to see so many people out there are taking this as seriously as I am and are demanding change.  Together we can make a difference.
So the scenario is ours.  Personal change or climate change.  You choose.

Please add to the ideas in the comments.  I'm sure there are many ideas I haven't mentioned and the more we have, the better.


Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

I agree that for a lot of people fear can be paralysing but in other ways I do not think people are scared enough. But you are right the biggest issue it the fact our government has their head in the sand and refuses to make the decisions we need them to.

Linda said...

Hi Fiona, did you hear that South Australia has reached their target of 33% renewable energy earlier than expected? Rather than leaving it there, they set a new target of 50% by 2025!! Just shows it can be done even if it's only state level support. We have an election coming up in Victoria soon. Hopefully we can see some improvement in attitudes as a result.

Kathy said...

I am so glad that your group did something constructive instead of marching. The group in New York City left a huge amount of trash and waste products on the parade route which tended to distract from the message.
I am one of those who believes that the climate is cyclical and that mankind has been through this before, but I also am a big supporter of taking care of the land and air and water just as a matter of common sense. Good for you and your group for taking action in a practical way!