Big Thinking

For the most part my blog documents my personal journey to live a simpler, more sustainable and positive life.  It’s not political, despite me being quite passionate in my political views.  However since reading some of Hazel’s posts I have been unable to quiet my mind on the issues of environmental sustainability.  Hazel had been lamenting the damage we humans have been doing to ourselves, each other and our environment with regard to food security in an earlier post – depressing us all I’m sure, and saying what many had been thinking going by the number of comments she received on that one – but then turned this around and focused on all the positive talk and importantly action that is going on quietly all around us.  There are literally hundreds of bloggers out their quietly revolutionising their lives and influencing those around them in a million small ways.  We don’t hear much about these people and their hidden revolution in the mainstream media – it’s too busy dealing with skeptics and nay-sayers, those often spouting the views of the minority taking up far more air time then they warrant – but in the blogging world they talk the talk and boy do they walk the walk.  It has been an inspiration, a mind-expanding and skill building inspiration for me.  So what is my point here you ask, well I’m not really sure myself, but I think it’s this.

Firstly, that old saying that every little bit helps is true.  Every little action does make a difference, we as individuals need to think about what we use, how we use it, where it has come from and where it’s going to end up.  And perhaps most importantly do we need it at all.  In thinking about this many, myself included, have starting making some small (and big) changes to the way we live.  For me this includes:
1. Using cloth nappies – which I’ve done from the start. I could rant and preach about the environmental benefits of this practice (I tend to get a little carried away after having the arguement several times with people who say cloth is no better than disposables due to the use of water and electricity in washing them – suffice to say the evidence clearly shows the opposite), okay so I did rant a little, sorry.  As a general rule I think anything that you use once and throw away is going to be bad for the planet.
2. Water tanks – we have tank water plumbed into our toilets and another seperate one for the vegetable garden.  We have run out of tank water on occasion (though not since we installed the second one), but with all the rain we’ve had in the last year hopefully that won’t happen for a while.
3.  Using public transport – Mr Good and I made a decision about 6 years ago that we didn’t need a car each so we got rid of one.  Since doing that unconsciously and without any real effort we have reduced the use of our one remaining car.  We like public transport, Mr Good takes it every day to work and so did I before Baby Good arrived.  We always consider the train first before the car if we need to go to the city.  But I’ll confess this hasn’t come about so much as an effort to reduce our impact on the environment (that’s just a happy bonus), but more because of convenience and because parking is a pain in the butt.
4. My beloved vegetable garden – this started because I wanted to grow something, as simple as that.  Moving into this house was my first chance to try my hand at having my own garden.  I didn’t have any more altruistic intentions than that, it wasn’t because of a deep seeded concern over the use of pesticides or chemicals, it wasn’t to reduce food miles, it was just to grow stuff.  Now that I’m really into it those other things drive me to improve my skills.
5. Buying local – which has turned into a bit of an obsession and makes grocery shopping a long and painful experience according to Mr Good.  Aussie Farmers has made this easier, but it’s still a struggle and for things other than food, at times near impossible.

There are other things (like energy efficient light globes and using recycled toilet paper) but I these are my top five.  I’d like to do more, but sometimes it’s overwhelming.  Mostly I think I could and probably should make a real difference by quite simply living with less stuff.  And the stuff that I do need I should try to get second hand.  I think that should be my goal from here. To opt out of the consumer driven society is perhaps the ultimate in green living.

My second thought is that this just isn’t enough.  Of course we need individuals to do their it but without government and corporations coming on this journey with us it won’t be enough. This quiet revolution needs to get noisy, the powers that be need to know that we’re here, doing our bit and there are more of us than they think.  I’ve picked up all sorts of tips on being more sustainable and I’ve read some great posts about issues and concerns of an environmental nature (be it food security, over-fishing, logging of virgin forests, the list sadly is endless) to which I have nodded my head  and said a hearty here, here in a very ‘parliament question time’ kind of way (inside my head of course, or at least out of earshot of others who may think I’ve gone quite mad in front of my computer), but I’m already converted.  Now we need the yet-to-be converted to hear this message.  We need Tony Abbott to hear it and Julia Gillard  to know that now really is a time for governments to take up the battle (carbon tax and all).  In fact we need governments at all level to get this message. I suspect there are a lot of quiet converts like me lurking in our vegie patches wishing our politicians knew what we were thinking instead of listening to those on talk back radio.  How do we do that effectively, en masse, and in a meaningful way.  I’m not sure I’ve got the answer to that one, but I’m determined to try.  There are already countless scientists, conservationists and environmentalists out there talking about the issues, with a whole lot of support from ordinary people like me perhaps there will be finally real change before it’s too late.  So while I will continue doing what I do at home, I am also determined to be a bit more political about it all – reignite the fire I had inside in my uni days.

And as I climb down from my soapbox and thank you all for reading, I hope that you too feel the same way and perhaps could leave a message of your own in my comments.  I will endeavor to send this to as many relevant pollies as I can.  (Rest assured normal programming will recommence in the next post, but I can’t promise that the soapbox will be permanently put in storage).

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5 Responses to Big Thinking

  1. Mrs Bok says:

    Good on you barb.

  2. Liz says:

    The more I think about these sustainability the more I’m persuaded that its not neccessarily about talking about climate change in a general sense that makes the biggest difference. It seems to be about picking one issue and making as much noise about that particular issue as you possibly can. I’m thinking here of things like Matthew Guy backing down on the Phillip Island development because the locals protested loudy (and co-opted Miley Cyrus). About McDonalds changing their Fillet of Fish to sustainable species after High Fearnely Whittingstall’s campaign. About the Gillard government putting a freeze on live animal exports after the Four Corners documentary (Personally I have reservations about this but you can’t deny the efficacy of the outcry). Pretty much all UK supermarkets sell only Free Range eggs because of publicity around factory farms etc etc. These are obviously small examples but they’re examples about the power of picking one issue and tackling that – rather than getting frustrated by the overwhelming nature of say climate change (as I sometimes tend to do etc. Now to find that one issue….

    • Barbara Good says:

      Liz, I think you’re totally right on that one. For me, living in Victoria, Australia, it has to be renewable energy. How we, after decades of knowing the damage being caused, can still be so reliant on coal-burning power stations amazes me. That’s also probably why I support a carbon tax. It makes sense to me in a world driven by money that if you want green energy options you need to make them cheaper than the alternative.

      It also warms my heart when ordinary people can have the voice so clearly heard that political action is taken, and in a timely manner. (Though I also have very serious reservations about the banning of live exports). What scares me though is how rich, multi-national companies seem to be co-opting the political process by swamping the airwaves with anti-whatever campaigns (here I’m thinking the miners on the super profits tax, the pokie industry, plain package cigarettes and now on the carbon tax). Money should not come into the picture when it comes to having a political opinion heard in a democratic society, but it does and that worries me.

  3. Pingback: Win, Win | The New Good Life

  4. fergie51 says:

    I was a bit disillusioned with ideas for my weekly newsletter ‘Greenspace’ items this week so I thought I’d take a look at some of the blogs I am enjoying for stimulation. I was thinking that my article was a waste of time and no-one would take any notice but you have re-invigorated my enthusiasm!
    If we all continue to ‘chip’ away hopefully it will have a domino effect. I agree with Liz about picking an issue and making lots of noise about it. Mine would be getting fast food outlets to be responsible for better more responsible packaging and waste management. I swear there would be a bag filled of litter dumped every couple of metres along our highway, therefore my front fence. For heavens sake why do people need a bag to put a wrapped/boxed item into? Thanks, now I really am fired up!

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