I should really write about my McMillan Coffee Morning project next week. But this post from 2016 is such an eye-opener on how interconnected we are and how we first need to understand the impact on other communities of our behaviour and what we consume before we can start to make changes that will save the planet.
No one likes to be called “privileged” but if we do not start to question ourselves in that regard colonialism will just keep destroying all of us.
These are all hard questions and often difficult to answer, but I believe this pandemic gives us ample time to make a start. “Going back to normal” is not going to happen, no matter how much we wish for it.
Please head over to Kayla’s blog and give her a follow because she has a lot to teach all of us!
Let’s cut to the chase: The current climate change movement, on both a national and international level, is an excellent cause with a plethora of misguided notions. Not a piece you were probably expecting to come from a 2016 COP22 Youth Delegate candidate. But it’s a piece that has to be said, and it has […]
Today’s topic is money. Does it really make the world go round or does it destroy the world? Please watch this XR video and make up your own mind.
Do we mean business?
Or are we just talk alone?
Kids start asking us!
This video touched me because it brings a spiritual dimension to the topic. I think it is time that we bring different, supposedly contrary ways of thinking together and create about life-affirming change. Rebellion for life can have many faces and many forms. Please choose yours and let’s get going…
Extinction Rebellion writes about this video on YouTube:
Today in the UK rebellion XR Co-Founder Gail Bradbrook gave this talk on Tufton Street, home to many dodgy so-called ‘think’ tanks and spreaders of climate denial. Couldn’t make it? Listen to her pre-recorded version of the same talk here. Dr. Gail Bradbrook introduces a new limb to XRUK’s civil disobedience actions – Money Rebellion.
This talk focuses on how the political and economic system is hard-wired to destroy life on earth and what we can do about it. We refuse to carry on being divided and conquered. In solidarity with those on the front lines of destruction, including those struggling to pay debts and taxes, we will reroute our money to projects that support life on earth to thrive. For more information, including how to take part, go to this short form.
Disclaimer: Do not follow our example. We are far from perfect. I wish we were, but we are work in progress. Also, I babble a little today. I blame chemo brain fog ;-).
Yesterday, I promised to tell you how we have changed our behaviour to do our bit to save this planet. While Extinction Rebellion says that individual change in behaviour isn’t enough anymore, I believe it is a good start. Once you change your way of thinking the “putting pressure on governments and corporations” comes by itself.
Before I tell about our journey, I want to let you know some simple guidelines or mantras that help you change your lifestyle.
sustainability not convenience
Less is more
Re-use, Re-use, Re-use
God gave us working brains, let’s start to use them
Sustainability not convenience
We have been told all our lives that what we need to strive for is convenience: No home-cooking – get ready meals or takeaways. Cleaning is terribly hard – get this and that new cleaning gadget. Walking or cycling isn’t hip – get a new car as often as you can.
We get promised by advertising that these ready meals are so healthy. We get promised that all these cleaning gadgets give us so much more time to do what we want. We also get promised that this new car will get us adventure and freedom.
But do they? We should know by now that ready meals and take-aways include much too high levels of sugar and salt hat give us enormous health problems. And we usually do not have the money to buy these new gadgets or cars. So we get ourselves into debt to afford them, which in turn means we have less time because we have to work overtime or more than one job to pay it off. So no time saved to do what we want to and no adventure in our snazzy cars either.
Acting sustainable sometimes means more work, but it also means you are saving money because you buy less. This gives you less work time and in turn, more time for other things. Plus fewer bills to pay certainly is less stressful so good for your mental health.
Less is more
This does tie into the “Sustainability vs Convenience”. When you are forced to cut down your spending because you lost your job or you can’t work because of your mental health, you are forced to realise with how much less you can get along. You can only wear one jumper and one pair of shoes. Seven jumpers and pairs of shoes are absolutely enough. Even if you work in an environment where you have to look different every day. Just juggle with your outfits or with a few accessories.
Fewer snacks are healthier and make your shopping bag lighter. Fewer gadgets mean less debt and often more physical activity which is very beneficial. Less of whatever means less expense. You see, it does make sense.
Re-use, Re-use, Re-use
The only way we can stop waste piling up in incinerators, landfill or in our environments is simply to find new and double, triple etc. uses for whatever we have. The only way we can preserve our freshwater resources is to use less of it. Just take a moment today and check-in whenever you use water what you use it for. Cleaning a pot before putting it in the dishwasher. Instead of letting it run down the drain, use it to rinse the next piece of crockery. Boiling eggs the old-fashioned way? Can you use the cooled down water to water some plants? Hot water bottles ~ can you use the water when you want to clean your sink?
Re-using doesn’t only mean finding new ways of use for stuff we have like keeping toothbrushes for cleaning. It also means to find double uses of our resources like water.
God gave us a working brain, let’s start to use it.
We are all different. Our lives look different, and we have different needs. Someone in a wheelchair can’t walk stairs to avoid the lift and use less energy. Someone who works nights needs to use more power. Someone with OCD might not be able to stop washing their hands and using lots of water. That is just the nature of things and our life. But most of us have been given working brains and a lot of creativity so you can find your own unique solutions to use less and save more. I encourage you to use these abilities.
Flowerbeds in window
Bee food in city deserts
giving me such pride
It’s not that difficult to create change in your life if you allow yourself to follow these principles. And by all means, create your own. I am sure you have expertise in other areas than we have and can bring in even more ideas.
Where we started from
Are you still with me or have I already bored you to death? I hope not 😉
I would say our “save this planet” journey started in 2013 originally as a “Save our health” journey. By accident, I stumbled over the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) “Dirty Dozen” in fruit and veg. Until then, I mainly shopped what looked like having reasonable price and quality. Even though we also tried to buy organic as much as we could.
When I saw that list and apples (my favourite fruit) were on top of it, I was shocked. It put me directly into action, and I researched organic veg box schemes. There weren’t that many yet where we lived, but I thought it’s worth to try out Riverford which turned out to be extremely good value for money. We used them until 2018 when I had to stop working. We mainly had cash then, and Riverford didn’t offer to pay with cash. We then discovered a farm shop close to where children from another mother lived. Their prices are brilliant, and while they do not advertise for being organic, the farmer tries to use as fewer pesticides as possible, which worked for us.
The best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world eats vegetarian since at least 30 years and has been a vegan for some time too. His love for cheese brought him back to be Vegetarian, though. I am pescetarian since 2009 and Vegetarian since 2018. And we have always baked our own bread. Andy anyway and I on and off before I met him.
Even with both of us working we never had much spare money which meant we didn’t bother with too many gadgets like coffee machines or dishwashers. And our hoover is at least 40 years old. The husband got it from a job he had many many moons ago. It’s brilliant, you can still repair it and gives me some much-needed exercise because of its weight. LOL.
We will stay with it until the bitter end even though the energy use is probably ginormous. But we do not feel that modern hoovers with their plastic are as good value and just adds to the plastic pollution. So we balance our approach out there.
This old hoover does its job
We hope forever.
We are “supermarket traumatised.”
The next step came from our experience of working in a supermarket. While they tell you continuously that they have your health, convenience, and your wallet on their mind, the reality looked slightly different.
The so-called “healthy” options often are much more expensive or simply lie to you about their contents. What they produce themselves often have ingredients that no-one knows what it really is, which made it really difficult to answer questions of customers who had to deal with allergies. And they started to safe more and more on staff which meant those who stayed had to do more and more jobs. This, in turn, made customers having to wait longer at check-outs or at the departments where they needed help.
Having no income made me realise how much advertising brainwashes us.
In 2018 I had to stop working because my mental health went really down the drain. Even though I had worked in the UK for 11 years and paid my taxes, I would only have been able to get job seekers allowance for a couple of months. However, I would only get it if I could prove to the jobcentre how often I had left the country since 2007, had worked and paid taxes and where I lived all these years. Proving means to show paper evidence. Who the heck keeps their holiday expenses for all their lives? Immigrants to the UK apparently who want some benefits. My mental health wouldn’t allow getting through a conversation like that, so we decided to get along with what we had.
Luckily the best husband is the best husband and knows how to grow veg and works like a donkey. Otherwise, we certainly would have lost our home in those days.
The less we could buy, the more I realised how advertising is brainwashing us in needing things that we don’t need. I knew that, but I didn’t know if that makes sense. Connecting all these things that we are told we need and starting to realise with how little you can be happy made me hear all those lines in advertising that pushes into feeling you need the things. It never occurred to me before so clearly.
We became radical home cooks.
While we never used much processed food or went out for a meal, not having much money meant to become utterly frugal in that respect. Our experience showed that cooking at home enabled us to be adequately fed despite the money trouble. I learned to make some mean baked beans with dried beans, tried out many cookie recipes to satisfy our sweet tooth and we changed to dark chocolate. What did not work was our try to become vegans. Well, at least not yet. So far we haven’t found a vegan cheese recipe that tastes and feels acceptable to us, and my menopausal and now cancer problem bowels brought me back to eating tons of yoghurt.
We are also avoiding margarine because most kinds of margarine contain palm oil. Palm oil is one of the biggest reasons for rainforests to be cut down and in turn the climate to heat up. And we don’t want that.
The harmful impact of palm oil on our environment and the fact it is basically in everything today was another reason why we try to make as much as we can ourselves. This way, we know what’s in it and do not support the destruction of rainforests or the climate.
Pandemic accelerated Change
The pandemic and my cancer accelerated some changes we had planned but could not get around to do. Two of them are our chicken and shopping online rather than doing a weekly grocery shop.
Now that is probably quite controversial because we buy most of our groceries from BuyWholeFoodsOnline which use plastics as their packaging and Amazon, which does not have many green credentials nor are fair to their employees. I did try to get online shopping with all supermarkets who would deliver to us. However, the only delivery slots I could manage to get even after I had the letter from the government that I fall into the COVID vulnerable group was two months later. That didn’t do. Several people offered to do the shopping for us, but that’s always tricky, and we did not want to endanger them more than necessary. So that is another compromise. However, I try to only get products that have green credentials, chose products in glass jars rather than plastic packaging and have signed up for the “subscribe” option.
That means you get bulk products you choose sent to you regularly. It’s not as convenient as it sounds as you need to change your budgeting from weekly to monthly or bi-monthly, which I find a bit difficult. You also need to review your orders to make sure you really need them at the time. But I feel once we have working time frames, it will be quite useful.
No weekly shopping
and a little saving too
The best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world took his time off work to build a wonderful chicken house and enclosure. Then he went and rescued 12 chicken and a cockerel. They are happy but apparently not happy enough yet to lay many eggs. I bet coming from an industrial chicken farm didn’t do them any good so I feel for them.
But all these changes mean we have hardly any household waste anymore. Our bin is tiny now, and we mainly have recycling rubbish. I am pretty proud of that. The chicken can eat most of our food waste, and we always cook with our left-overs too. It is so practical.
And what else?
Whoa, I did not mean to write such a long post. And I am getting tired, so I end this with a little list.
~ we have now soap bars from a fairly local producer instead of liquid soap in a plastic bottle
~ we wear jumpers and cuddle under a duvet rather than having the heating on too much
~ I shower every two days unless I am sweaty or smelly. A wash down is usually enough. It saves water and soap.
~ Besides underwear I tend to wear my clothes for at least two days to save on washing unless its dirty, I was at the hospital or they smell
~ We use our hot water bottle water for watering plants
~ I consider changing bank to one that does no support the fossil fuel industry
~ I have a bamboo toothbrush
~ We are trying out eco-friendly toothpaste. Unfortunately, the local producer used palm oil, so the search goes on.
There you have it, dear readers:
Our long journey to save the planet.
And it is not over yet.
I can only urge you to re-think your lifestyle and opinions about the climate crisis. What you do about it is entirely up to you.
Yesterday, I encouraged you to take one step to become more sustainable. To me, that feels a more appropriate way to inspire action. However, I am a member of Extinction Rebellion, and they disagree.
In this updated talk, that explains the climate crisis, and what Extinction Rebellion stands for and how they act, they say individual action isn’t enough anymore. We need to stand together and put pressure on our governments to put their money where their mouth is:
I suspect, in the end, it doesn’t matter, how you get motivated to do something as long as you do something.
Now the end is near
See writing on this planet
Let us go shopping
On blogger, I falsely wrote at first that the news didn’t mention the September Rebellion. However, when I checked the YouTube Channel of Extinction Rebellion, I saw it mentioned on BBC London, Sky and Channel 4. So there are already some reports. And I suspect it will rise.
To me, this pandemic is earth allowing us to change our ways. Most countries have to build their economies up from the bottom. Best opportunity to do it in a way that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels. But it doesn’t look to me like governments take this opportunity. They say they do, but words are dust in the wind. Only actions count.
To me, this pandemic also shows how fast humanity can change if the political will is there. If the media tell the truth about a situation, the populace follows. But neither media nor governments tell us the truth about the climate crisis. They probably fear they lose their power. But they will anyway. When the floods, storms, heatwaves with hunger and illnesses will overpower us, there will be civil unrest.
We know a long time
crisis is already here
no one connects dots
What I do not get is that we do not seem to realise how action makes our lives better:
1. Drive less ~ the air is better & you save money.
2. Need less stuff ~ there is less rubbish destroying your community & you save money.
3. Use less water & electricity ~ big corporations lose power & you save money
4. Act politically to change the current toxic systems ~ the world will be a better place & hopefully you save money 😉
Yes, buying organic and from local shops could be more expensive but I believe it would be balanced with savings in other areas. And in my experience, it’s not necessarily more expensive. Also, the products last longer because they haven’t travelled so long, so you have to throw away less and save in that regard.
Our heads in sand
won’t stop the children’s questions
What answers are you going to give?
I can only urge you to re-think your life-style and opinions about the climate crisis. What you do about it is entirely up to you.
Actions you can do today to make a difference:
Use Ecosia as your search engine. They grow trees for you.
It was a year ago when Extinction Rebellion and their demands were on every news channel possible. Today another rebellion starts, and we have heard hardly anything about it.
Well, that I haven’t heard anything about it on TV isn’t surprising. I avoid watching news as much as I can currently because it just depresses me and stops me from doing my bit for the future of all of us.
I am wondering since the beginning of this pandemic how much of it has to do with the climate crisis. So I took yesterday to read up on it. I knew the baseline: With a warmer climate, humankind will have to deal with more viruses and related illnesses. I didn’t know the in’s and outs of it though.
watch the sun rising
will she bring grain or hunger?
Let’s buy a new phone.
watch the sun rising ~ will she bring grain or hunger? ~ Let’s buy a new phone. #ActNow #poetry
The in’s and outs of viruses and a warmer climate are rather complicated, and that is why hardly anyone talks about it I guess.
Mosquitos ~ One of the biggest problems seems to be mosquitos which transmit many viruses and illnesses when they feed on our blood. A warmer climate changes their range. Even though science hasn’t exactly figured out yet why and how they spread more, scientists have seen a spread of the West Nile fever virus to the United States via mosquitos for example. What most sources said was that mainly Europe, North America and Asia will have to deal with a spread of mosquitos and the related illnesses.
Waterborne viruses – There are a lot of viruses and other illness bearing creatures that swim around in dirty water. We in the western world do not think much about our water because we believe its clean, so we are safe. However, a warmer climate means more and more floods. If you ever experienced a flood, then you know how it makes your toilet spill over with all the detritus that it brings with it. And of course, our rivers that spill into our places of living have enough ill-making stuff in them. Most sources say that especially in Europe & Asia, more and more people are exposed to the possibility of contracting diarrhoea illness, including cholera because of flooding.
Extreme Weather – No-one even the most prominent climate change denier can deny that our weather gets more and more extreme. Here in the Uk we just had autumn storms in August and one of the coldest summer bank holidays on record. People disagree on the reasons for it but looking into the last ten years shows extreme weather that’s hardly ever seen before. And while weather is more local, it is determined by the climate as a whole. Storms, floods, heat waves have a direct impact on our food production. Flooded fields do not yield potatoes and often need years to recover. Heatwaves make harvests smaller. And while the developed world doesn’t have to deal with famines yet they just have experienced in the pandemic what fear of not having enough to eat does to a society. Plus malnutrition makes you more susceptible to viruses and illnesses in general. And heatwaves kill. Mainly our elderly and babies.
In this video you find some more reasons:
These are just a couple of complicated connections when it comes to illnesses and the weather.
are we connecting the dots?
Let us drink more wine.
Illness, injustice… ~ are we connecting the dots? ~ Let us drink more wine. #ActNow #poetry
You might hope that this pandemic is “just” a one-off, but my feeling is that this is only the beginning. And I am writing from a developed country point of view. Africa, parts of Asia and South-America already deal with these realities.
The longer I think about all that is happening in the last ten years, the more I get the impression that we are not connecting the dots:
We see right-wing politicians take over our governments.
We see extreme weather.
We see the gap between rich and poor getting bigger and bigger.
We see workers losing rights, discrimination of minorities of all flavours growing and mental health issues too. But I feel we do not think all this has to do with each other.
However, the social system of “making money at all costs” and “only economic growth will save us” doesn’t work. We see it everywhere from homeless families where parents are in work, flood victims not getting the help they were promised to plastic destroying our wildlife.
The problem is, of course, that we do not have another system. The problem is also that this is such a ginormous problem; it makes us feel helpless to the point of inability to act. And, in my opinion, the problem is also that we get distracted by the newest things to buy, the latest scandal may it be political or some footballer and the newest fad on social media.
Green and blue planet
We know it is worth saving
take one step today
Green and blue planet ~ We know it is worth saving ~ take one step today #ActNow #poetry
These are all the reasons why Extinction Rebellion is disturbing our “business as usual” habits. I very much hope they inspire you to connect the dots and to start acting. It’s never too late to start. One step at a time, you can change your life to become sustainable. And every single act that each of us do daily will make a huge impact. This will give our planet and us a future.
I believe in you
Feel hopeless but act despite
the reasons not to
I believe in you ~ Feel hopeless but act despite ~ the reasons not to #ActNow #poetry
I feel we humans are the cancer of this planet. This feeling becomes stronger and stronger, and also the knowledge that my/our family’s actions just aren’t enough. I feel guilty towards future generations, but feeling guilty has never helped. Only action helps. So I/we do what we can to save our children’s future, this planet and our species.
Just do one thing today. Then another tomorrow. And another the day after. You do not need to change your whole life in one go. One bit at a time and future generations will thank you! #ActNow #life #SavethePlanet
This is what Extinction Rebellion writes under this video on YouTube
We face an intersection of global crises. Climate breakdown, COVID-19, racial injustice, economic inequality – all are symptoms of a toxic system propped up by corrupt politicians, that is driving us to extinction – a system built on inequality, the destruction of nature, and the exploitation of Black, brown and Indigenous people. We can not carry on like this. The system is broken. It’s 2020. Siberia is burning. Extinction is beckoning – but the Government is looking the other way. Peaceful rebellion is the only option we have before us. Because we want to live.
Hello out there all you lovely people. Please come in, have a seat and a mug of your favourite hot or cold beverage. It depends where you are and how the weather is.
I am still experimenting with blog posts. Playing around with everything. Maybe that is just how I am. I hope you bear with me. Or let me know which posts you enjoy the most. Then I might even do more of those. 😉
Today though I am going back to my favourite writing prompt and a story/poem I wrote in January 2016.
I quote Kasey Mathews from the WANA group “Write to Heal” for this writing prompt: “With paper and pen, or computer handy, lean back in your chair, or against the wall, or a sofa, etc., close your eyes and imagine you are sitting under a large tree with your back resting against the trunk. On the other side of the tree, a Storyteller has come to sit down and also rest against the tree trunk. With eyes still closed, just listen. Wait for the Storyteller to begin his or her story. When you hear it begin, simply write down all that you hear. “
Not everybody listens. I have spoken.
Spoken many times of the doom to come.
not everybody listens.
To be honest: hardly anybody listens.
They are so occupied with the latest fashion hits, popular food and socialising that they cannot see what is right in front of their eyes.
Cassandra knows my peril. They did not listen either.
I have to call, though. I have to call and call and call.
It is my duty. It is my fate. It is my task.
I haven’t asked for it. Neither had Jona.
I am wiser though than him. No whale to spew me out.
Here I stand:
Under the Mango Tree surrounded by water.
One storm has come and gone. The next approaches.
And still they do not listen.
The rich they hide in their mansions made of greed and fear.
The poor face the winds of change with pride and determination.
They will be washed away all the same.
Nature has no fury. It is out to get those who close their eyes
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Thanks my dears, for staying with me until the end. I appreciate your presence. Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!