The World that we want

I’ve just returned from my daughter’s house where I had the joy and pleasure of nursing my granddaughter for a couple of hours. She is only three weeks old so hasn’t yet had a chance to get to grips with this world that she has been born into.

I have just been reading the short essay “Lily’s Chickens” by Barbara Kingsolver in her book Small Wonder and it rings so many bells for me, I wish I was articulate as she is! Anyway, it got me thinking, as I held my granddaughter, as to what sort of world do we want for our children and grandchildren? It feels like many of our politicians and business leaders see the world as a factory that they can endlessly run to provide products that we can consume, a linear economy of “from cradle to grave” products. And yet we know that this is what is trashing our planet, we can’t keep consuming, we need to re-learn how to live within a cyclical economy where we consume less and those things that we do consume are recycled back into nature.

We are so out of touch with nature, and yet we are part of nature! “From dust we came and to dust we will return” or as I prefer “compost to compost”. So many people don’t have the foggiest idea where their food comes from, what their food contains, the real cost of their food, or where the wasted food goes to. Last week I gave a short presentation at a food waste / composting workshop on just that issue and Barbara Kingsolver communicates it brilliantly in her essay.

My dream is that my granddaughter will have the opportunity to grow up as part of nature, knowing the love of family but also the joy and love of growing up with plants and animals and how to tend and care for the nature around her. But for this to happen, I need to stand up and protect what is left, I need to protest against those who destroy, help open the eyes of those who can’t see what is around them and help nature to regenerate around us.

I so hope that she will not be disappointed.

Posted in Climate change, Consumerism, Food, Inspiration | Leave a comment

Greta tells us

Watching Greta Thunberg’s speech yesterday to the world leaders at the UN headquarters brought tears to my eyes. Tears of sorrow and sadness, tears of repentance and tears of anger. We are failing the next generation and we are failing our own generation.

Posted in Climate change

Why is climate change ignored by those in power?

We are part of a “domination system”. To me that means that one group of people want to keep power over others in order to give them wealth of some sort. We find it today in he way that the economic system keeps so many people in debt so that they have to work in order to try and pay off those debts or work in order to maintain a level of “comfort” that they want.

Most politics that happens in our UK parliament (and probably many others) seems to be about maintaining that domination system, keeping the rich few at the top of the pile and the rest either aspiring to something a bit better or just surviving. Brexit, trade deals, maintaining a growth economy, all these things are about power and wealth – mainly for those in charge.

So where is the profit and power to be found in climate change? There isn’t! And not for want of trying. Commoditising the environment is one attempt to bring money and power into environmental issues but it is mostly ignored and I don’t think it is a way forward as it is still about domination – he (or she) who has the most natural resources will be the richer and more powerful.

So, in my opinion, the system is broken. The domination system is not good for the majority of the human race and certainly not for the planet (and if Elon Musk has his way, Mars as well).

So as Greta Thunberg and our young people are saying, we need “system change, not climate change”.

What that change involves is an ongoing conversation but for me involves following the “Way of Jesus”.

Posted in Climate change, Environment, Faith, Politics | 2 Comments

New egg

I’ve not posted for a while, life seems to e oscillating between hope and despair with the way the world is going.

We recently lost our chickens, one died of illness and the remaining two were probably taken by a fox the one night I forgot to close their coop door. So I have built a better fence around the coop, given it a good clean and bought three replacement Warrens. They have settled in well and today one of them laid her first egg. Hope!

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Lime Hawk Moth rescue

Charlie our chocolate labrador found a lime hawk moth in the garden this afternoon. He didn’t quite know what to do with it! Fortunately I was able to rescue it before he did anything. A beautiful moth!

Posted in Garden, Insects, Nature | Leave a comment

Thwaites Glacier

I didn’t sleep to well last night.

On the news last night it was reported that the Thwaites Glacier in the Antarctic is melting faster than previously thought and that the “International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration” plans to deploy six teams to the remote ice sheet where they will study it so that they get a better understanding of what is happening. The ice sheet is the size of Britain and the news article said that it’s melting will lead to a rise in sea levels of about a metre that will threaten to flood coastal towns and cities. The images used were of London’s flood defences and then of Bangladeshi mud walls. The melting of the Thwaites Glacier may also then lead to the collapse of the entire West Antarctic Ice Sheet which could lead to a sea rise of 3 metres.

And the time scale for this? The news item stressed that the melting would appear to have accelerated and it will happen much faster than scientists previously thought. So 1 metre by 2070? 2050? 2030? Next week?

Well the news item didn’t really say but reading some of the articles online it suggests we are talking about 2100 onwards and Scientific American even goes as far as to say “Not So Fast —No Need to Panic on This One”

The BBC website says “It is melting and is currently in rapid retreat, accounting for around 4% of global sea-level rise – an amount that has doubled since the mid-1990s.”

So what are we left to think? And what should we do?

I guess this made the news this week because of the team departing for the Antarctic but it could have been better reported. We need to be worried but we need to have ways of responding too. If we are continually made to fear the future and we don’t have ways of working to prepare for that future then we will start to become numb to the news and do nothing about it – or the wrong thing.

With sea rises there will probably be vast movements of people, political and financial instability, food and water shortages, and fear.

How do we be best prepare to tackle these things?

Some people will be saving up their riches and pulling up the drawbridge.

I think we need to be preparing in a number of ways, here are some:

  • working really hard now to reduce and possibly even reverse the damage we are doing to our environment. We are stressing the planet to a tipping point, if we can back off on that stress by reducing our emissions and waste or even reversing them then we may be able to reduce the effect of future climate catastrophes or even avoid them. (Lots of wishful thinking here!)
  • build community. We will have a greater impact in what we do and how we survive if we work together as a caring, sharing community. Most communities are more effective and resilient than individuals.
  • education. Helping people to understand the issues and that their actions can make a difference.
  • consume less. Most of us have and use too much stuff. Our levels of consumption and waste among the more wealthy people on the planet is, dare I say, sinful. It is an abuse of the planet we live on and are part of. Our consumption is so often a linear, cradle-to-grave economy and it is taking us all to the grave.
  • implement regenerative agriculture. Growing food in a way that builds soil, captures carbon, doesn’t lead to toxic chemicals building up in the soil and water.
  • be more compassionate. I guess this is part of all of the above, we need to love and care for the planet, for the environment, for nature, for each other (and we are part of nature!) Ultimately this means welcoming and caring for those who are fleeing the disasters and catastrophes that we are all responsible for. We have a poor record here, for example, the UK has been part of the problem in the wars and oppression in Iraq, Syria, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Libya, Bahrain, DRC, ……. and often refuses to help those fleeing the effects. Climate change may bring about even greater migrations of people and we need to be prepared to welcome them and to work with them.

I could keep going. I am trying to find a balance, trying not to panic but also doing something now, trying to have hope but also trying to remember the urgency. And also trying to get some sleep at night!

Posted in Climate change, Community, Environment, Stuff | Leave a comment

Destruction and hope

“… since 1970, the number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish worldwide has fallen by half.” WWF Living Planet Report 2014 – quoted in Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth

I have just read this fact this morning and it hit me between the eyes – this is in my lifetime! In 1960, the year I was born, the population of the world was estimated to be three billion, by 1974 – four billion, now it is estimated to be 7.6 billion.

Yesterday, on Facebook, I came across an article in the Daily Mail about Knepp, an estate near London that had once been intensively farmed but recently has been part of a pioneering re-wilding project. I think George Monbiot may have referred to it in an article last year or earlier this year. Anyway, what a place! I don’t normally read the Daily Mail but the article gives me hope that we can live alongside nature without destroying it and that it can enrich our lives. If I am ever down that way I hope to visit.

The observations recorded in the article also tie in so well with the principle in Permaculture about observing and interacting with nature. If we watch and learn from how nature works then we can live with nature, we can enrich our lives and not destroy the natural world that we are part of.

There is hope!

Posted in Economics, Environment, Nature, Permaculture | Leave a comment

Don’t bomb Syria

I woke up this morning to hear the news that British aircraft had been involved, along with US and French forces, in bombing targets in Syria. In one of the interviews the interviewee said something about getting back to their regular bombing raids after today’s attacks.

So how often are British aircraft involved in bombing targets in Syria? A quick Google and I found the British Gov website had all the answers – well some of the answers since this is a list of “British forces air strikes to assist the Iraqi government in its fight against Daesh”, a “British forces air strikes in Iraq and Syria: monthly list”. To find out how many were on Syria I would have to wade through the reports and know my geography well.

This war has been going on for years now and has left towns, cities and the countryside devastated, killed or uprooted huge numbers of people and seems to have achieved nothing other than giving some countries the opportunity to try out their weapon systems and the manufacturers a fat profit. When are the politicians going to agree on a way to stop all this waste and destruction? Do we need to take them and make them sit around a table in Aleppo until they come to a solution?

Posted in Arms Trade, Peace, Politics | Leave a comment

Rip out that hedge

I’m sat this morning reading Peter Cooper about silent fields and also Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World”. Catherine, just back from walking the dog, is inspecting the front garden, no doubt planning some changes. And I look at the privet hedge that has been there since well before we moved in nearly 25 years ago. Shall I rip it out and plant a mixed hedge of hawthorn, blackthorn, etc like we have in the back garden? Can I make it more friendly to birds and insects? All I ever see in the privet is the odd sparrow, spiders webs and the cat!

A short time later and a colourful movement catches my eye and I look up to see a pair of bullfinches cautiously searching in and out of the hedge. Absolutely beautiful! Have I underestimated the privet hedge?

Posted in Birds, Environment, Garden, Permaculture | Leave a comment


Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations.

– The Great Law of Peace, Constitution of the Haudenosaunee (Iriquois) Nation

Posted in Environment, Inspiration, Peace, society | Leave a comment