Priest. West Meket, Ethiopia.
When I was in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, earlier this year I took a cheeky shot of a ‘tired mechanic’. It was early in the morning and most people were bright and bubbly, enjoying the cool start of the day. This guy had perhaps not had the benefit of a good night’s sleep and was enjoying a short nap in his tyre-chair.
This is one of my favourite photos taken when I was community trekking some years ago in the western Meket area of Ethiopia. It gives a sense of the immensity of the mountain ranges there. The tiny ‘hut’ on the edge of the precipice was a small ‘dining’ room. At about 3000 metres above sea level, we huddled around a fire to keep out the chill of the mountain air, while eating a delicious vegetarian dinner.
The trek offered incredible views as we followed the escarpment edge and passed through the communities who hosted us in local guest houses . More than half of the cost of the trek goes to these local communities.
I don’t think I’ll ever lose my wanderlust. It ebbs and flows like the tides on my doorstep here in Western Australia. Sometimes the pull to stay ‘home’ is strong: when the beach beckons, and the outdoor lifestyle is easy, with good food, wines and friendships.
Then there are times when the lure of new shores overwhelms, the draw of old haunts tempt, and the need to leave this remote city to return to the familiar people and places of my formative years is stronger than the urge to stay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For those of us who are so fortunate, it’s easy to be green.