Tag Archive | pollution

An imperative lesson

Some are starting work out there, even before it’s light

It is beautifully quiet where we live now. So quiet you notice the slightest noise; a fox’s bark, an alarmed pheasant, or the tiny scamperings of the mouse who has found its way into the roof space above the ceiling.

So we’re really sensitive to the rumblings of heavy machinery past the cottage at 5am.

The vegetable cutters start early. Some work through the night. I’m woken by the clanking of the rigs and trailers. I also have a sudden sense of gratitude that it’s not me turning out in the freezing cold and rain that I hear hammering down.

The gangs of workers are dropped off for their working day in dark, cold, muddy conditions, no shelter, no heat, cutting the cauliflower and broccoli that’ll be ready for you in the supermarket later today.

Surrounded by growing food, it was easy for our home educating children to learn where food comes from and what’s required for it to grow, that this doesn’t happen in super markets, but out on the earth.

And that it needs certain conditions; dependent on the elements of the earth. And it’s important that we all know how those elements are sustainable – if we want food to be sustained that is!

Stuck in a city centre, as far removed from the earth as I am from the Houses of Parliament, I worry that this essential part of education will be neglected. And families these days might not want contact with the earth and the elements, cosied as city dwellers are by the convenience of pavements, transport, concrete, shopping under cover and easily accessible eats!

So how to get across the importance of understanding the precious resource that the planet is – the only resource actually, for everything comes back to what it gives us – and how not to pollute it so much?

We need to learn to exist without creating the waste our lifestyles produce; by not subscribing to the hypocritical politics that ignores the real issue of consumerism, not be seduced by the commercial hype that continues to suggest that it’s okay to keep buying plastic bottles, disposables in any form, pollutive cleaners like wipes and chemicals. And remember that all our consumerism wounds the planet, contaminates the place we’re dependent on for our food.

Part of any child’s education should be to understand this stuff. Part of our duties as educators is to prioritise this understanding – to get kids back to the earth and caring for it as part of their everyday existence. Along with the simple idea that everything manmade that we buy will eventually pollute in some way, or has already done so in the manufacturing of it and that might come back to haunt us through the food chain (one example here)

A sombre lesson – worth the learning.

What small change can you and the kids make to your family lifestyle to stop your contribution to it? (Here’s an inspiring contribution from one family)

Learn to love the earth, buy less plastic for a start!

5 things I’d ask for Christmas

It’s too early for Christmas but my cactus doesn’t seem to think so. ¬†cactus dawn 11.15 003

Nor do the shops. Nor the telly!

Far too early surely to have these endless tedious adverts as the supermarket giants try to outdo each other, or Radio Drivel blaring out of shops in town.

I don’t know how the staff stand it and it’s already been going on a while.

I’m increasingly uncomfortable about us being encouraged to climb onto this Christmas treadmill earlier and earlier, as if we have so much to buy we’ve no chance of fitting it into a week or two’s preps in December.

I have great difficulty marrying some of my values, those that uphold the value of the earth and our responsibility towards it, within a culture of Christmas that promotes nothing more than consumerist vandalism basically.

I know many families like us must be fairly easy to give presents to; we always have things we need not having the disposable income so many have. More difficult I find to give to those who have so much it’s generated a culture of satirical junk destined for the dump much of the time. Wish we could bypass this madness.

I love giving presents. But I’m not hoodwinked into believing that more is best or is a sign of more love. Something home made or carefully thoughtful fills me up, however little. Tasty treats we wouldn’t normally have are a delight.

But when I see stands and stands of pointless putrid rubbish, designed for the sake of buying for those who have so much it’s impossible to know what to give, it rather fills me with despair. Especially in the light of so many being in such desperate need, even for basics, even for a roof over their head. I know people who spend more on decorative trappings, to be binned after the season, than we’d probably spend on food in a week!

So I would ask as you do your Christmas preps to perhaps rethink this. To consider five things: –

  1. how much less you could buy this time,
  2. how much less waste you could create,
  3. how much less energy you could use,
  4. how you could make your Christmas more recyclable,
  5. and how you could give to those who have less than you do.

And I’ll do the same and see if we can come up with a Christmas that is less pollutive and truly based in giving more than having!

Do share your ideas in the comments – I always love to read them.

Do it like the sparrows!

001It’s only a touch milder and the birds are thinking Valentines.

As I walked through town last night the Blackbird was singing his heart out on top of a chimney pot. This morning there is a chaffinch bursting with song. And there is a chattering of sparrows jostling for the next boxes and showing off their assets.

Being sociable birds we decided to build them a semi. A two-side nest box to be shared with neighbours. They keep popping in and out, first one side, then the other, like estate agents showing a prospective client round rooms. Swapping over, having a bit of a squabble, then carrying on as if nothing had happened.

Then occasionally one will bring a tuft of nesting material to impress his mate and earn him the right to bonk her on the roof!

I love the carnal stirrings of the natural world. It’s not that I’m pervy or anything, it’s just that it really means spring is on its way when there’s pairings in the wild. And it’s so beautifully removed from the the commercial hype that showing our love has become around Valentine’s day.

It seems far more fitting to bring your Valentine a token of your togetherness and love in the form of an act or a gesture that you’ve put some effort into – even if not nesting material – than buying a pre-packed, prescribed and generic box of something dictated by consumerism which is polluting the natural world and all the other living things in it.

Many of our garden birds are on the decline because of our pollutive habits and the way we farm is destroying habitats. The places that support them are destroyed or disappearing all together as we grab and greed and lust for far, far more than we ever really need to support us.

Just thought I’d mention it so you can think about loving the earth’s creatures as much as you love your Valentine and be mindful of the way in which you show it. I’m not suggesting you go out and bonk on the roof (although if that’s your thing…) I’m just asking that you also think about the world’s roof as you celebrate a day of love!

The rising tide of alarm

I’m glad the weather’s calm. When I can see white horses from my bedroom window which appear bigger than the sea wall it’s a bit alarming. This morning the tide looks like the proverbial mill pond.

It’s a bit of a September ritual to walk to the sea bank that separates the marsh from the ¬†fields to see some of the highest tides of the year. The miles of marshland which I walk upon, purple with sea lavender during the summer, gets completely submerged.

Tide out.....

Tide out…..

 

....tide in!

….tide in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently it’s smooth and bright and very calming, dotted with birds floating and flying. Unlike last winter when a combination of elements brought the tidal surge up so high it breached the wall and flooded the farmland and local town. Luckily our house which sits next to it was spared.

The seeping tide looks deceptively harmless on misty mornings like this. The reality is that we cannot take it for granted. And when you live in close proximity to the natural world you’re very aware of how things can so easily change. And very aware that the climate has already changed and everyone needs to sit up and take note, not only those who are in direct contact with it.

Of course, when you live in cities, conveniently tucked aware from contact and the immediacy of threats like the tide, you tend not to worry about it.

Yet, ironically, it is the cities which make the largest contribution to the pollution which is causing the damage.

So I would ask that today you make some small adjustment in your lifestyle habits so that you reduce your pollution and waste, you throw-away and buy less, thus helping to reduce the chances of the climate changing so much that people who live in direct contact with it like me are less likely to be submerged.

Not forgetting that your habits will become the habits that your children adopt and ultimately determine the world they live in.

Surely this understanding is an essential part of the education and responsibility of all of us?