A dedicated Page for subscribers keeping climate catastrophe ‘notebooks’ ahead of the meetup on September 26th. 100 words maximum each individual entry seems a good idea, but subscribers can submit as many entries as they like. All entries to be dated and kept in progressive date order, please, so we can feel that a real conversation is going on.
Signed up : Ali Bacon, Verona Bass, Ama Bolton, Sue Boyle, Eileen Cameron, Ann Preston, Graeme Ryan, Janet Snowdon
18 January : First entry in my notebook: “every day that passes is a deadline missed”. Heard on the radio last week. Ama
18 January : Bath City Centre. Fast fashion and giftware clamouring for new homes. The road and air and sea miles wasted – to get the goods here, to move them and their shoppers on. ‘Goods’ is the worst of names. The shame of this trivial consumption and manufacturing. Bright lights make trashy goods look irresistible. A Facebook friend begs not to be shown another picture of a burnt Australian animal. Sixty brave cold children outside Bath Guildhall demonstrate against climate change with banners and protest songs. The bystanders are their problem, not their government. Sue
19th January: Last night the conversation turned to plastics: apparently fruit that’s wrapped lasts longer and is less wasteful; reusing a glass milk bottle consumes more energy than making a new plastic one. So our well-meaning decisions are wrapped around in complication. Today is frosty and everything is more clear-cut. I’m walking down the lane, still slippery with ice, the transparent blue of the sky scored by tell-tale plumes of vapour. Should we be making that trip for January warmth? Ali
24th January: I saw those children in Bath, Sue, and gave them a thumbs up. Went to a Rewilding/wildlife talk in Bristol on Tuesday (21st) run by a newly formed group seeking to understand what rewilding means and how they can contribute to bringing nature into cities and generally improve the biodiversity of the countryside. The hall was packed with enthusiastic young people seeking to play their part in creating the right sort of habitats to push back on species loss. Went home feeling hopeful. Then last night, listening to the World Service in the wee small hours, I heard that Trump has removed all of Obama’s clean water regulations. Farmers are once more free to dump chemicals into waterways and the coal industry can once again do what the hell it likes. Blood pressure going up must go and find something calming to do. Eileen
27th January : After reading how a Saudi visitor had been filmed tearing the wings and feathers off a live pigeon in a London hotel bathroom, I started wondering about Islam’s response to climate change. Or more precisely, how a muslim would be taught to think about man’s place in the world. I found this inspiring document on a website called Islamic Relief Worldwide, and wanted to share what it contains. ( As most of you know, I am deeply unimpressed by the anthropocentric world view embodied in the dreadful story of Noah’s Ark.) I especially like the sentence : We are but one of the multitude of beings with whom we share the earth and a miniscule part of the divine order, yet we have exceptional power, and bear the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We all despair about the impossibility of our individual actions having the power to avert catastrophe. This second sentence does something to de-paralyse that despairing thought : Then whoever has done an atom’s worth of good, shall see it. And whoever has done an atom’s worth of evil, shall see it.
31st January : Lit upon The Chicago Review of Books ‘Best Poems about Climate Change’ and was really disappointed they weren’t better. Daunting to face the task we have set ourselves, to write well as we agonise through this year…. Here is the link. Am I just being curmudgeonly on Brexit Day? sue https://chireviewofbooks.com/2017/08/30/best-poems-about-climate-change/
3rd February: Back from a few days in the sun which did feel like a blessing in January. Reflecting on the Scots preoccupation with always wanting to be warmer! Across the blank grey background of the sky there’s a darker shape, a plume of cloud which looks like smoke and reminds me of the bush fires – which no one seems to be talking about any more. Have they died down? Or are we just not looking? Could this cloud have come all the way around the world to remind us? Ali
4th February: After gloomy days the glory of sunshine! I keep examining the new shrubs planted in my garden last week in an enthusiastic attempt to fill some spaces with plants that will add to the visual joy of varied greenery, and bring flowers in time. My helper dug substantial holes and we put in compost from the base of my bins, added bonemeal AND seaweed extract, firmed in the soil and watered. These were transplants from a neighbour’s garden. I mouth the words: Escallonia, Photinia, Eyonimous, Ceanothus…like a mantra. Every one of them is an act of faith, hoping it will please the birds and bees, and prosaically be carbon absorbers. What I love, too, is the fact that this was an activity that is about sharing – the generosity of the gifts, the on-going conversations, the pleasure of seeing plants grow and respond to good conditions. Verona
4th February: I visited the Grayson Perry exhibition at the Holburne Museum the other day and was fascinated by the way he incorporates the written word into so much of his work. I recently heard a radio discussion about the difficulty of finding the right language to discuss climate change because it requires us to talk about things we may never have experienced and find difficult relating to. This quotation on an untitled pot from 1987 struck me as having a very similar message: ‘The more we know, the less we believe, the more we are shown, the less we imagine. Only imagination can save us.’ Ann P
20th February: Ali B
Ann, your quotation resonates so much with me. We barely know what we are dealing with and ‘only imagination can save us’ is a great call to action. Next problem, what action. I hear that our individual efforts are as nothing compared to the changes required of industries and governments. Do they know what they need to do? James Lovelock suggests nuclear energy is the safest way to go but others will contest that with equal vigour. This last week huge donations have been made towards ‘climate change research’. Is there even a single body responsible for this? Apologies for nothing more than muddled thinking. Where is the way out of the muddle?
20th February : Sue B
‘We don’t have to see ourselves as the divinely appointed stewards of creation to recognise that we bear responsibility for restoring the magnificent living systems we have harmed. And we don’t have to deny our bias towards ourselves to defend the lives of other beings.’
In Defence of Speciesism
20 February 2020
This painful, difficult post from George Monbiot is well worth reading. ( AND YES, he did pick up a gun and shoot a deer. )