It IS easy being Green

 

Summer Trees UK

Summer Trees, UK

The word green has so many different connotations. It might simply be a colour, although nowadays it often has a more ideological meaning. It can be an adjective, noun or a verb. It’s the colour of harmony, balance,  growth and renewal.

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Global Day of Climate Action, 2015. Perth, Australia

In describing people as green,  I used to have an image, as many others do, of someone who wore hair-shirts, was vegan, didn’t use plastic bags and drove a Prius if they owned a car at all.

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Shanga Recycled Bottles Screen, Arusha, Tanzania

We don’t all have to wear hair-shirts. Yet I am someone who, when I get the occasional plastic bag, will wash it out to reuse it. I’ll  make sure that I upcycle, reuse or repurpose anything rather than throw it in the bin.

 

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‘Standing up for what matters’ 2016 Perth

Amongst other things, I go on protests to save and protect our environment or promote social justice and equity, and I also take the easy route of e-activism. I campaign to get Green members elected into parliament. I don’t eat meat. And I try not to leave too much of a footprint when I travel.

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Terraces of ‘food crops’ and forest, Nepal.

Even though I live in a city, I’m blessed that I’m still surrounded by my little haven of green – large gum trees that attract cockatoos; small native plants that flower, attracting insects and birds; grape and passionfruit vines; citrus and other fruit trees; and a veggie patch.

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A corner of my garden.

For those of us who are so fortunate, it’s easy to be green.

 

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Wish

I think I’m a little superstitious, perhaps more than a little. I remember being told by my Nana that I should never walk under a ladder as it was unlucky – and I still avoid doing so. If I spilt salt it had to be thrown over my left shoulder, into the eye of the devil. When out walking in the English countryside, we would often pass through ‘wishing gates’ – small gates for people on foot, where the gate swings in an arc inside an arc of fencing. I still wish each time I pass through one of these, although it’s normally a frivolous ‘wish’ relating to my current circumstances rather than a wish for world peace.

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We used to greedily search through the carcass of the roasted chicken dinner, not for more meat, but for the wishing bone. Then when it was dry, a day or so later, two of us would link our pinky fingers around the two ends of the fragile bone and pull till it snapped. The person with the larger piece of bone would make a wish.

And then of course there was the birthday wishes upon blowing out the candles on the birthday cake.

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Snapshots of Growing Up

Mum is busy cooking and I’m hungry. She hands me some peanuts. The grease speckles the brown paper bag and I know I can’t reach inside yet. I run to the living room to find Dad. A fold in the hallway rug trips me and I’m falling. My mouth hits the pipe of the radiator. Then there is pain and blood. Lots of blood. I start to scream.Somehow I’m now lying with my head cradled in Mum’s lap in the back of the car. I’m vaguely aware Dad is driving fast, as crimson seeps into the lilac of Mum’s angora jumper mixed with snot and tears.

 

I take a big breath and pull the shirt on. Its coarseness makes me shudder and I quickly grab my tie and cardigan; both bottle green. I still feel the newness of my shirt an hour later. It distracts me from the monotone of the history teacher. I don’t know which I dislike more.

 

The red glow of the gas fire does little to heat the damp room, but we’re all warm and loud with alcohol. Someone has turned the music on loud. It’s Ian Drury. Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. I sing along. Val says, “I’m starving.”  Ash goes off to get the sliced bread and margarine from the kitchen. He then bends in front of the fire and slams some pieces of bread against the protective wire. Within minutes the room fills with the smell of burning toast.

 

Laughter drifts across the stream. The weekend and the heatwave has brought droves of people to the Yorkshire countryside. We’re lying on a patch of grass in the midst of the heather looking up at the hazy blue sky. Steve’s Mini Cooper S throws a lengthening shadow behind us. He has a cigarette between his lips and we’ve both got cans of warm beer. Even though our chatter is frivolous, I think foremost in both our minds is, should we or shouldn’t we?

 

 

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Bald to Beautiful

 

I first became interested in henna when I lived in Zanzibar. Weddings and other celebrations involved lavish henna application to hands, arms, legs and feet. 

Henna has been used for centuries as a part of many cultural traditions and thus the symbolism within the art is varied. It has become an important part of the expression of culture and has daily and ceremonial use. Henna has traditionally been regarded as having blessings and was applied for luck as well as joy. It has also more recently become a form of body art and way of expressing body image.

My daughter as a young teenager found she had a natural gift for henna art, which also gave her an income. Recently a friend undergoing chemotherapy asked my daughter to do a henna crown. The results were stunning…

My friend said it allowed her to go out of the house without self-consciously covering her head – she felt ‘dressed’.

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