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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Scales

I’m not sure what era this was from, but the telephone number only has three digits so it must have been in the early days of phones. I imagine the delivery ‘boy’ cycling around the small market town in North Yorkshire with a basket full of fruit and vegetables, perhaps measured on the scales in W Scales fruiterer shop.

I remember having a similar fixed-wheel bike in the mid eighties when I lived in Zanzibar. I cycled for many miles on that bike both around town and out in the shamba (countryside), where the roads were so bad it was often quicker to go to places on your bike rather than motorised transport.

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In Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, North Yorkshire.

 

http://www.beckislemuseum.org.uk/

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Smoke and Water

It was just after dawn in the heat of the West Australian summer. The air was smoky and the earth parched and yellow. Bush fires raged within twenty kilometres of us and we nervously checked our phones for fire evacuation texts and updates on the wind direction.

I sat on the veranda nursing my mug of tea and trying to focus on the abundant birdlife in the green oasis of the garden rather than scan the sky for thicker smoke. A bird bath, dry and lifeless, stood in the flower bed in front of me.

I leapt up to get water. Within minutes of me filling it, birds fluttered about, darting in and out of the surrounding bushes and taking turns to bathe and drink. For a short while, at least, I was totally distracted.

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Voyage

The journey was to be over 3000 nautical miles. With torpid seas as we rounded the north eastern coast of Borneo, the days and nights blurred. My watches were sometimes in the day, sometimes at night. We had an additional crew member on watch where there were supposed to be pirates, for even though we had speed, at night it was dangerous to go fast. There were hazards in and under the water: logs that had drifted from the rivers, shipping containers, like icebergs, floating mainly below the surface, and as we passed through the Lombok Straits, a fleet of hundreds of tiny fishing boats sailing home in the half-light of dawn.

 

I remember the vivid sunsets, unbelievably varied and beautiful at sea. Also we had glimpses of whales and dolphins who played in the bow wave. Then there were the brief stops to dive at Sipadan and to refuel, eat and shop in Bali. After anchoring to dive in the Abrolhos Islands,  I thought I saw a large fin and refused to get in the water. And finally I remember our arrival in an autumnal Fremantle.

That was the trip south. The return trip some months later was a different voyage altogether. The weather had changed.

 

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