a Sunday, a brew,
me, you and the fur-babies
Welcome to Sustainable Sundays. A short while ago I announced our sustainability and the city plans in response to recent children’s uprisings around the urgent need for climate justice. I’ve decided to do a weekly roundup of thoughts, actions, and creations on this theme posted on Sundays. What can I say, I’m a sucker for alliteration.
The photo I’ve posted is from a Climate March in 2009. The young man looking so challengingly into the lens now an adult. I date my first involvement in actions to protect the environment when I was a face-painted child with her mum. By the age of 9; independently engaged through the youth group ‘The Woodcraft Folk’ (think hippy Scouts) my sense of justice and love of nature were further nurtured. Since then I’ve studied sustainable enterprise, planted community orchards, and gardens, worked on international projects and stood for parliament, all of which feels a long while ago. More info can be found by clicking Sustainable Ranting Credentials.
Since 2015 increasing chronic health problems and disabilities have left me with severely limited energy and mobility. I’ve decided to use it as wisely as I am able.
So, what have my favourite human and I been doing this week? Well, to begin with the seemingly mundane, we’ve finally managed to win a long battle with our local council for a recycling bin we bought ages ago. We’ve spent years sharing with an aggressive neighbour and lugging stuff to now closed local facilities. So, now we have a recycling bin and it was almost a cause for partying because we’re swimming in stuff waiting to go into it. Especially as we have to do a fair amount of shopping online (no car and a wheelchair I can’t self-propel.) We buy local where possible but, like most of us, it isn’t possible financially or practically all the time for everything. So, we have to think outside the packaging to find alternatives.
We’ve taken up Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Challenge. We live a long way from the coast now but we’re members. (This landlocked wheeling mermaid does things her own way. I surf uneven pavements.) We’ve joined #GenerationSea and discovered Plastic Free Pantry which we’ll use for some shops because they do deliver. So far Iceland is the only UK supermarket to commit to eradicating single-use plastic. The same company has removed palm oil from 450 of its own brand products, this act helping to save rainforests – the lungs of the world and precious homes, habitats, and ecosystems. So, we’ll be shifting some of our shopping there.
In the last two weeks, we’ve been looking at ways to become more energy efficient too. We are already on a green energy tariff and our home is double glazed but our boiler is grouchy and our shower-room is still oddly drafty in the way old houses can be. We have a higher electricity use per person because I’m mostly at home and, like many with limited movement, I get cold more easily. Blankets, clothes and hot water bottles alone don’t cut through icy spells. I rely on stairlifts – which broke down this week – and am glued to my laptop as a window to the world; a work tool and a social and emergency essential. This week that has been playing up too. I’m aware that a lot of fuel is wasted transporting energy to where it is needed. We’ve been researching possible solutions like pellet ovens, which would fit with our home. Last year we had fun and games with a government-sponsored project that was supposedly set up to facilitate people installing solar panels but seems to find excuses not to help. One day we will revisit this possibility.
I believe government and corporate action is essential but will only happen with sustained public pressure. Today I’ve signed around 30 petitions. I don’t do this as often these days but when I do I find a sense of fellowship and a kick of endorphins knowing in small ways that we are connected with others who care. For them ‘hope’ is not a byword for delusion but a call to action. I added my name with many others to draw the powerful’s attention to the need to immediately and progressively cut emissions, better our recycling facilities and decrease single-use plastic. Actions to curb the rise in social inequalities, poverty, food insecurity and in particular homelessness were also part of this. An unjust present and future is not a sustainable one.
In the blogging world, I’ve been inspired by posts such as Cheche Winnie’s electrifying Understanding Environmental Justice on the tenacious links between racism and climate chaos, together with ways to challenge it. Suzanne’s Being in Nature Haibun, March Madness, about Australian Bushfires was equally moving. I wrote quite a dark story of a girl living alone in a post-civilization world, which I called The Moon Child. However, my ultimate feeling is one of determined hope and resilience building. This was expressed in a stream-of-consciousness piece a couple of weeks back called Critically. My hope is founded, not on an idea that someone somewhere is going to magic up a solution, but the idea that humanity already has many of the solutions and technologies, we just have to choose. The comparative peace of mind I have is not based on naivety but on the inner certainty that, come what may, I have made my choice.
Peace love is not bought,
it is carried by our choice
to be the circle.
Antonia Sara Zenkevitch