In Harmony?

Harmony with nature

Or nature in harmony with us?

 

When visiting a cafe in the Margaret River region of Western Australia we were enchanted by the variety and number of birds fluttering around in the surrounding trees and shrubs. They entertained us throughout our meal. When we had overindulged ourselves and sat back, to our surprise the birds grew bolder and bolder till they joined us to eat the remains of our feast. Possibly not the best diet for them, but they looked healthy enough.

The yellow, black and white ones  are New Holland Honeyeaters (eating the cream – not honey!)

The bright blue one is a Splendid Fairy-wren

The other yellow, black and white one is a Golden Whistler

 

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Surf Life Saving Summers

Summer for my daughter, was the time for surf life saving. Every Sunday morning we’d go to the club at our local beach regardless of weather conditions.There was ocean swimming, board races, beach sprinting, surf rescue, relays races and  fitness, safety and first aid training.

The first few weeks were normally chilly, the Indian Ocean had not yet had time to warm up after winter and the occasional cold front would still sweep in with grey stormy skies, big waves and swell blowing onshore. The really younger ‘nippers’ wouldn’t venture into the surf unless a barrage of parents were on hand to help out and encourage, even the adults weren’t too keen to brave the elements.

Then the summer would start. Uninterrupted blue skies, blue seas and white sand that by mid morning was too hot to stand on. 

As the years progressed some of the older children took on roles of leadership and mentorship of the younger ones. They became the ones that coached the younger ‘nippers’. There were also competitions and rivalry, but more importantly cooperation and team building.

As I now look back on those long summers and look at the my daughter, I’m grateful for the opportunities surf life saving was and still is able to offer.

 

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Competition Time

Waiting for the person doing the ‘swim leg’ of the rescue to reach the buoy before she can paddled out to ‘rescue’ them.

 

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An ‘Optimistic’ Rant on Climate

 

Climate change has been on my mind for a long time, partly because of where I am living at the moment – West Australia, where today it’s predicted to have temperatures of close to 50 degrees centigrade, in the northern parts of the state. And partly because I’ve been actively engaged in a movement of people who believe there is a better world than the one we currently live in, and they have plans and policies to achieve it.

2015 was the hottest year on record globally, with climate change being a major factor. Yet still we have climate change sceptics and those that know it’s happening but either can’t be bothered to do anything or believe they, as an individual, can have no impact on any climate outcomes. If we were all to think that way then our world is indeed doomed. Fortunately there are enough optimists around to make a difference. I strongly and optimistically believe that each one of us can make a difference. 

To ignore warnings and scientific data, to bury our heads in the sand, to consume and remain dependent on a fossil fuel economy,  and to place greed and monetary gain over our environment is not only wrong but also short-sighted and or  ignorant.

The Paris Agreement at the end of last year allowed us some hope that the major economic powers would do the right thing – although I see little evidence of it here in Australia – and we have to be optimistic that common sense, science and the sheer magnitude of educated popular opinion and action will prevail.

Where I live, it has already reached 42C one day this summer. In the past we’ve always known that there will be respite after a series of hot days, or a sea breeze will eventually cool us down and with the Indian Ocean on our doorstep what better way to cool off after a hot summer’s day. I’ve always felt fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with a fantastic climate. I do wonder about future summers and not only the discomfort of those hot days, but also the drought, the fire danger and the unsustainable trend of building oversized houses requiring 24 hour air conditioning.

In the heat of summer we look forward to autumn which can be one of the best times of the year. Autumn is the reprieve after the heat, the beginning of cooler temperatures and, if we are really lucky, some rain. I see my garden sighs with relief and plants begin to thrive again.

And then after the cooler mild winters, spring arrives with its sense of renewal, warm, lengthening sunny days and cool nights, vibrant plants springing up after the winter rain in a land that seemed so barren and inhospitable.

To know these plants survive through fire, heat and drought gives me a huge sense of optimism.

West Australian wildflowers in spring

If you got to the bottom of this ‘optimistic’ rant and found the photos, well done!

 

“The record global warmth of 2015 is part of a long-term trend. All of the world’s 10 warmest years have occurred since 1998. 2015 is the 39th consecutive year with above-average global temperatures.”          http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/hottestyear2015

 

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