Sunday, 6 January 2013

Done and Dusted!

Well, that's another Christmas and New Year under my much bigger belt and now, while there is a lull in our  summer visitations, I'll try to finish my first blog post for 2013.

I do so love hosting extended family for the holidays. We live in happy chaos for weeks and weeks, with lively children and great big family meals outside under the brolly.

The plentiful spring rain seems to have given our beloved mulberry tree a new lease on life but we do have to fight the birds for our share of  its fruit. The birds scoff at the plastic hawk I hung in the tree to scare them away. I read somewhere that birds can see infra red rays which are invisible to us and the lifeless, raylessness of my hawk is probably a dead give away. However, there are still mulberries in the direct vicinty of the hanging perhaps he saved us a few for the picking. The hot 41 deg C day blanched all mulberries on the north side of the tree. It worries me that increased extreme weather events will diminish our harvest of berries, nectarines, apples, citrus and veggies. I can see there will be a need for shade cloths in the future.

Have been doing some renovating at our house and have desperately tried to source sustainable furniture. Can't find any affordable old furniture to fit the space and most shop assistants stare at me blankly when I ask them about the materials used in the making of the furniture. Managers assure me that all Harvey Norman wood is sourced from plantation timber but when I ask them if native forests have been destroyed to create those plantations, blank stares return.

Knowing what we all do about deforestation, overpopulation, pollution, over-consumption, waste and resulting climate change, extinction rates and human misery, why is it that companies are still permitted to source unsustainable, unethical materials? Why is it still legal? It is no longer legal to shoot endangered species ( though around here they fish for endangered tuna in its thousands) or overfish the oceans so why is the world allowing unsustainable, unethical practices in nearly all other areas?

I weep when I think of the destruction we are causing. I weep when I discover that so few seem to know or care.
Humanity is proving itself incapable of collectively making the right choices for the earth and consequently the governments of the world must unite to deal with the environmental emergency. They must legislate. They must enact laws making all unsustainable and unethical practices illegal. It's the only way to go. It's the only way we will save ourselves and all other life forms.

During the Christmas rush this year, despite what we know about climate change and what we know about pollution and waste, I noticed nearly everyone and many young people carrying plastic shopping bags, drinking from non biodegradable coffee cups, cans and single use plastic drink bottles and that nearly all the takeaway and supermarket food was in non-biodegradable, single use, plastic packaging. Those unconscious, uncaring, bad consumer choices by the vast majority of people in the Western world not only effect their own health but also yours and mine because of the devastating effect they have on the earth and all its creatures.

One of my biggest frustrations is the lack of choices available to us. I have reduced my waste and packaging but it has taken a lot of hard work, researching and sourcing products that are sustainable and fair trade and if it has been hard for me, how much harder must it be for those who are not as aware or who are busy and pressured to make bad choices? I too have made some poor choices because of the lack of sustainable options. The best I have achieved is a 75% decrease in single use plastic food containers and packaging...and I must say it feels fantastic to make the right choices. I feel really good about myself!

I have managed to reduce by avoiding plastic bags and drink containers and by always choosing food in glass over plastic but how does one avoid plastic with, say yogurt or cream or cheese or milk? One can avoid cans by buying fresh or dried but even then they are in plastic bags. I think we must all reduce as much as possible and reuse again and again. If we all reduced our usage by 75% the world would be 75%  better off.

But most importantly, we need the right people in government to save us from ourselves and to legislate against unsustainable practices. That's why we need the Greens.

That's why I always vote Green...always... and that's why I will always be a GREENS member. Happy sustainable holidays everyone!