In this age were future growth is being replaced in the popular lexicon by future survivability and leadership is conspicuous by its abstinence it becomes a necessity to take matters into our own hands.
For the last 15 years I have, in successive stages, been decreasing my carbon footprint. Over this journey I have found my pleasure in life has increased and further forward movement has become easier.
The first was the toughest; abandoning of my beloved Alpha for the inconvenience of a pedestrian lifestyle. When I gave up putting a kilogram of carbon in the atmosphere for every five and a half kilometres travelled my world became a much larger place. There were birds and trees, flowers and shop windows to observe and enjoy in all their complexity rather than them just being a blur on the periphery of my bubble. There was my suburban neighbourhood to discover and it is a wonderous moment indeed to eventually look a magpie in the eye and see the spark of recognition that says, “I know you, you’re not an immediate threat.”
After a decade of living in urban Asia, share accommodation in Australia has a ring of familiarity. After thoughtful consideration of location, my current address affords me the same level of variety I enjoyed in a city ten times the size. I have nine supermarkets within 5 minutes’ walk of my front door. Two Asian, one Korean, two Indian, one West Australian, two National, and one international/German. I also have a daily park vista to entertain me, I can and often do watch dogs chase balls while breakfasting and men doing the same as I sip a relaxing sundowner. The dogs are more elegant and seem to derive greater pleasure from the pastime. Expectations anyone?
Since I started working in recycling with Save the Kids, I have been able to extensively update my wardrobe and have change from a hundred. I have also decorated the walls of the house with a selection of artworks for less than $50, fortunately my eye is good enough to please both my housemates and my landlord.
Then there is exhilaration of helping to bring the Perth CBD to a standstill for a morning, nonviolent civil disobedience is fun. Shamed by the school kids into joining Extinction Rebellion the opportunity to write a play for the group and being encouraged to produce it has reawakened a somnolent skillset.
And to look to the future without trepidation is to be fool hardy in the extreme. Any fears I have are not for me but for those that follow. When another 30 summers have blazed away it will be a very different world and if we don’t mend our ways, perhaps being trapped on the beach by a bushfire will have become common place? And Jonathan Watts’ bubbles of climate anxiety will not be massing near the surface as he says they are today; they will be exploding upon it with a monotonous regularity. Frogs legs anyone?
Unfortunately, it is you and I, as individuals, who will have to effect any change for it seems to be beyond the skill set of our leaders. And the best way we can do that is by how we conduct our day to day lives.