Monday, August 20, 2007

Eco worrier

Is it just me or is anyone else laying awake at night trying to shut apocolyptic, end-of-the-earth visions out of their heads? It seems that every morsel of environmental news seems to be worse than the last, or at least that's the cumulative effect. I remember hearing Al Gore say in An Inconvenient Truth that people had to move beyond the despair ... or get mired in it. It's very easy to see how that could happen.
I like to think that I do what I can in my own way. That is, I choose to use cloth nappies rather than recyclables (there is lots of debate on which is actually the better option, but I choose mine proudly); I have a small vegie patch in the back garden in which I grow my very own organic vegetables; I take reusable bags to the supermarket; I watch the water I use; I walk and cycle where I can; I have consciously cut my consumption (easy when I now only work three days a week - the income just isn't that disposable any more).
I subscribe to the view that everyone must do their bit - that small actions can add up to big effects. Really, I must believe this to keep floating above the despair. And yet I read an article in the Sunday paper (Sun-Herald, 19/8/07) by academic Hugh Mackay, saying that instead of taking action Australians were effectively burying their heads in the sand but turning inwards when faced with the 'bad news' of problems that seem overwhelming. Such as global warming - a biggie if I ever saw one. I worry that I am one of those people.
He wrote that Australians became incredibly introspective in the 1990s. Makes sense doesn't it? A kind of cocooning reaction when all about you is spinning out of control. Perhaps, to some extent, we all do it? I don't live in a home of my own, nor is it filled with designer furniture or plasma TVs. Yet in my last job I wrote continually about people who did have all these things - and sometimes this was just their holiday home. Renovating, cocooning, shutting out the world - it all serves to provide comfort ... but are we kidding ourselves in the process about what we can and can't have impact upon as individuals?
I personally want to lift above the despair I feel (and I really do feel it). I want to take action. Now, with a job and a toddler to handle, I don't have heaps of spare time. I can, however, take small steps. I can write letters and make my voice heard. I can live my life in a manner that fits better with the values that are important to me. In fact, I must. I need to sleep better at night.

Toddlers and rainy days...

... really do not go hand in hand. I take my hat off to mums (and dads) who live in far wetter climes, such as Scotland (been there, done that - really glad I was childless during those looooong, dark winter days) or even somewhere like Iceland or Alaska. Do they have piles of stickers and crayons always on the ready? Do their children watch more television than Aussie kids? Are the Wiggles big over there? Probably.
I oughtn't complain - my folks live on a farm and they really need rain right now. I, however, need a little sun so I can begin to tackle the 17 loads of washing sitting in my laundry. Apologies - it really is far too mundane to be talking about washing in a blog.
So, yes, another rainy day and a computer at home that is only half working. My better half spent all weekend working on it. I think he grunted about four words at me all weekend, so engrossed was he in the task of extracting the 'stuck' files from the Linux thingy on our old computer and putting them onto the new computer. And in the process he's somehow lost Windows. Or something. I choose not to get into such things; it hurts my head.
The boy is having his nap and I have started working on finding people for this feature I am supposed to be writing. I need to track down people who are bucking the trend for having spare rooms in their home. People who choose to live in a smaller house so they don't have to move out to the 'burbs; people who are concerned about their environmental footprint to live in a smaller home; people who have demolished part of their home to have more garden space; empty nester etc...
I'm discovering it's not easy to find people for a 'bucking the trend' story as they are, well, not so numerous. Never mind, I will get there. In fact, I must go and make some calls now...

Friday, August 17, 2007

And here we begin...

On my bookshelf I have an entire row dedicated to diaries. Thoughts of mine documented back to 1982. These books are precious to me and I have always said that if the house were on fire I would grab my diaries first (well, after the baby at any rate!). So it's about time I started a blog. After all, I have always been one of those people who feels the need to write things down (um, possibly why I am also a journalist!). To me, writing down events and thoughts and feelings is a way to somehow innure yourself against the race, race, race of time. I sincerely believe it works - always have.
When I was very young (probably about 10), I remember reading in one of my mum's magazines an article about 'how to slow time down'. It said that if you made notes about what happened and when you'd find that at the end of the year when everyone says, 'ooh, hasn't this year flown?', you can say, 'well, actually, not really, I've done x, y and z since February.'
Needless to say, I still subcribe to this point of view. My challenge now is to actually maintain a blog. The prospects aren't really looking all that great, given that I currently write in my diary about, ooh, once every three months. But since I am a quick typist perhaps it'll be quicker to tap in my thoughts every couple of days after the wee one is in bed? Time will tell!