Monday, 20 October 2014

Irony

Last week, I packed the kids into the car, kissed Hubby goodbye and headed off to join the Pacific Climate Warriors in their battle against the coal ships.  The boot was full to the brim with our tent, little stove, clothes etc.  This particular protest meant a lot to me.  For a start, our damaging use of fossil fuels desperately needs to change and NOW but more than that, we were heading off to protest with the very people who are already impacted by rising sea level.  I spent my formative years growing up in Vanuatu and I am angry that so many people choose to ignore the plight of those in the Pacific.  The bitter irony is that the islanders' lifestyles didn't cause the issue;  nor did they benefit from the use of fossil fuels, yet they are now bearing the brunt of our actions.
Here in Australia, many would like to pretend that the effects of climate change are something in the far off future, something that can be ignored for a long time yet.  Clearly, this is not the case.  If Aussies aren't capable of looking beyond their own backyards and noticing those in immediate peril, then surely they would be aware of what is happening right under their noses!

We had planned on an easy trip up to Newcastle, using the time away as an opportunity to have a bit of a holiday.  We set up our little tent at Goulburn, planning to continue on the next day.  We were aware that rain was predicted for Newcastle but figured we could tough it out or spend a night in a cabin for shelter.  
What we didn't count on was the ferocity of the weather.  Climate change, with all its power and might, saw us sheltering in a cabin at Goulburn on the second night while thunder shook the walls.  The next day we braved the trip to Newcastle knowing another storm was on the way.  We found more cabin accommodation but woke to see the State Emergency Service helping a couple in a van across the way from our cabin.  Then we heard reports of mayhem in Sydney.  Flooded train stations, snow in the Blue Mountains, over two thousand calls to the State Emergency Service for help with fallen trees etc., one hundred and seventy millimetres of rain in some areas.....  The predictions were that the wild weather was heading to Newcastle.
 Our plan to have a cheap journey to join in with the flotilla was falling apart.  The tent was not an option.  The wind was blowing us away.  So for all my passion and commitment to fighting climate change, with the children's safety to think about, we gave up and drove home. 
 I was so disappointed to have used so much time and energy to get to Newcastle and turn around without even meeting the Climate Warriors, but more so to not even get to add our voice to the protest of the coal leaving the harbour.  It felt scary though, to be so far from home with not much money, knowing no one locally and being aware that I was responsible for keeping my children safe.

There was a sense of relief to be heading back down the highway for home.  I felt worn out from driving and from trying to make decisions on the hop.  I had also struggled with providing for ourselves in a sustainable fashion while we were on the road.  We ate organic tinned baked beans one night, tinned soup with bread another.  We had to buy boxes of milk and breakfast cereal.  The caravan parks didn't have recycling facilities.  I thought about bringing our rubbish home but there wasn't an inch of spare space in the car.  The children were already drowning in a sea of pillows, blankets and tourist maps so I guiltily placed our rubbish in the bin.

As we drove home, I reflected on the irony of not being able to participate in the protest for action against climate change DUE TO CLIMATE CHANGE!!!  The very areas that snow fell had been battling bushfires at the same time last year.  The previous year to that, snow!
I also reflected on the fact that we have worked very hard to minimise our personal impact on climate change and travelling away from home threw me back into a world of convenience.  I looked forward to arriving back home to our bulk foods in our own containers, our veggies from the garden, our eggs from the chooks and milk from the goats.  Year by year, we have reduced our packaging and our waste; we have reduced our personal demand on energy used to package and transport our food to our kitchen.  
So while I couldn't take part in a public and dramatic demonstration to shake the people into awareness (and they sure need to wake up to themselves) I can fight climate change here at home with my family.  I can fight in a way that is very effective yet gentle and positive.  I can fight by fertilising my veggie garden, composting our food scraps, tending our animals and poultry, by teaching my children practical life skills, by sharing our goats milk, by being part of a larger community of environmentally aware people.  Tonight we will dine on spatchcocked chicken grown here on our property, potatoes from the farmers market, spinach from Mum's and pavlova made with some of our eggwhites.  These are left over from the yolks I used to make custard, which will become ice cream for the children later today.  It's certainly not an uncomfortable way to fight climate change!  It just requires commitment to make personal changes and a bit more thought and effort into providing for our needs.
So one way or another, please join with the Climate Warriors, please join with me....  Let's fight this fight together whether it be by joining protests, signing petitions, letting your politician know how you feel or simply by growing some veggies!

3 comments:

Kathy said...

I have been there - not much money, away from home, alone with the kids-for what it's worth I think you did the right thing. While I know you are disappointed don't forget how many people you reach with your blog, and just living the way you believe is correct! And if my kids are anything to judge by, the mildly frightening experience that YOU had will be remembered by them as something of a hoot! It didn't happen overnight and it won't go away overnight, you are still chipping away, keep your chin up and keep doing what you know to be right!

Suzie Simplelife said...

hi Linda, you must be so disappointed to have missed the protest....but you are doing everything that you can to do your bit...I know your message is getting out there.... fingers crossed all that we do will be enough. Hate to think that the future of the planet rests in the hands of our current politicians.

elisabetta pini said...

Hi Linda, Kate here reading from italy. So sorry you missed it if we had been home you could have stayed with us.