Thursday, November 20, 2014

Conversations about Climate Change, Springwood

pink message says:"Live frugally - Live an alternative"

“wish and hope and FIGHT” : this was one of the messages pinned to the message tree at the Climate Change Conversations in Springwood Town Square on September 21. It encapsulates everything that we need to keep in mind if we are to bring about a massive change in direction, a change in our business-as-usual Co2 emitting world.

Beth Hill and I wanted to create a space in which people could sit down and have a conversation with me, allowing them to air their feelings about the inexorable warming of our world. It was not  your conventional rally. They could also write messages on pieces of paper and then pin them to the tree. Gordon had brought a beautiful blossoming spring branch and we planted this in a bucket of sand. I wish… I had a photo of it! (all deleted sadly). To wish, and to hope, is to have a vision of the future which is not a catastrophic burnt dystopia. Of course, it is important to act on such dreams, otherwise you are a Walter Mitty eternally in a pleasant dream of your own creation.

That is where the last word of this message comes in, “FIGHT”. In this context this word means to strive, to struggle, to be prepared to meet opposition. It does not necessarily mean setting up the ‘other’ as a foe to be vanquished ( see my piece on “Mother Nature Has Pneumonia” in this blog). What do you say, for instance, about our PM who declares categorically that coal is good for us?  (As I write this, a long convoy of coal trucks rolls along the Blue Mountains line, bound for the port at Wollongong.)  Do what, when climate change is excluded from the agenda of the G20 meeting in Brisbane? ‘Nothing’ is not an option.

“Wish”…here’s another wish from the tree :

I sat in a cane chair, under an umbrella and listened to people one at a time. I heard anger, utter frustration, confusion and a slightly dazed state, as if a cicada had been blown around in a strong wind. I heard people talk about their frustration  - here is the house burning down but no-one is talking about it! - their fury with politicians. 

Such bland responses, if any, they have received in reply to their letters to the government. My overall impression was of a big gap: between the strong feelings aroused, and an appropriate channel in which to act – perhaps to fight.

GetUp! was the motivator behind our Town Square event.

You’ll also get a sense of the millions of other people around the world who  also ‘got up’. Beth and I thank GetUp! for their support, and also Helen Y., Gordon, Kaye, Helen C., Daniel, Michael and…all the others.