General ramblings

The Big One

June 10, 2013

Lots of people ask me why I started My Make Do and Mend Year. And if truth be told, I can’t really remember. I know it was to do with BigSmall constantly wanting magazines, and plastic tat, and being scared that at the age of 3 (as he was then) he was already a mini-consumer. And I remember reading about Suzy Prince and her Second-hand Safari and having a bit of a lightbulb moment. And thinking it would be a pretty cool thing to try and do. But other than that, I don’t remember thinking it would change the world, or even change one person’s buying habits.

But as the year has progressed, the reasons behind My Make Do and Mend Year have become clearer and clearer to me.

I spend a lot of my time on this blog if not overtly trying to encourage people to join me in my Buy Nothing New quest, then at least to think a bit more about what they are buying and consuming.
But I try not to get too preachy about Climate Change as I worry that it will scare people off. I may be doing everyone a disservice, and it certainly seems that most of the people who take the time to leave comments are already pretty on board with the concept of trying to live sustainably, tread lightly and Make Do and Mend, but I know that a lot of people run a mile at the first mention of Global Warming or Climate Change.
I feel a little bit like Climate Change has become the “elephant in the room”.

elephant

I know it’s there. It’s big and scary (as much as I like elephants, I do think it would be pretty scary if there actually WAS one in the room) so I skip about talking about planting up wellies and  making presents, and not actually talking all that much about the reason this blog is so important to me.
I swing between wanting to engage people who might not have given much thought to the impact that their lifestyle has on the planet, and trying to encourage them to make small changes, that could make a big difference; and wanting to run around with a big sign on my head saying “WE ARE ALL DOOMED” and berating people for putting their cardboard in the black bin.

I have blogged before about Climate Change and feeling scared and helpless. And I had a whole raft of wonderful and inspiring comments from everyone.
But I still feel a little bit as though I don’t dare mention Climate Change, for fear of putting people off, when what I am trying to do is to engage them.

But the fact of the matter is, as much as I dress it up in all the fripperies and loveliness of Making Do and Mending, this blog is all about Climate Change, and my little corner of the world, and trying to live sustainably, and do what I can to create change on a wider scale.

I feel like we are a great big self-destructing juggernaut hurtling headlong towards disaster.
The other day, someone was asking about why I recycled and what I thought was going to happen. I was asked if I thought there was going to be a big explosion. And I don’t. It will be far, far worse than that.
We have a global population of 7 billion, give or take. And it is rising. (Estimated to be NINE BILLION by 2050, and then what..?) The world is only so big and there is only much land. So more people=less land to go around, for us and for all the plants and animals we share our planet with.
We will destroy more and more of the natural habitat to make room for our growing population.
We will hack down forests, and with them the lungs of the earth, that suck in our carbon dioxide, and they will be replaced with dry, arid wastelands where very little grows.
We will destroy the habitats of the wild animals and then be outraged when they are driven into contact with humans and come into conflict.
We will continue to pump out CO2 into the atmosphere-causing the greenhouse effect to get worse and worse and the global temperatures to rise. The polar ice caps will melt. Sea levels will rise and we will have less land. And more people to fit on less land.
The oil will run out. We will fight more and more for less and less oil.
The acidity of our seas will rise, we will over-fish and deplete our oceans, and they will end up barren.
We will not be able to provide enough food or enough clean water.

In short. It will be some kind of apocalyptic scenario.

So, I guess what I am saying, is this blog IS about Climate Change. And living sustainably. And how we should all try.
This blog IS about trying to make us all stop and think about how our individual actions impact on our planet.

I will continue to try and approach the whole Big Issue, in a light-hearted way, and to use carrots rather than big scary burning planet sticks (this post aside) but I felt like it needed saying. And maybe to warn you that there may be a few more rants as the end of My Make Do and Mend Year approaches, and I feel my way towards working out what the blog has been for, and how it can have the impact I want it to have.

My name is Jen, and this blog is about Climate Change, and Living Sustainably and Saving the World.

Now if I could just remember where I left my cape….

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  • Reply Hazel June 12, 2013 at 5:45 am

    Well said. I follow Root Simple, normally a ‘low-tech home ec’ blog, but they went to what was basically a Doomer conference recently and reading what people were saying there definitely gave me a climate change panic attack.

    I agree with fenendfarms’ comment. My husband can’t or won’t see what I see.He’s a definite believer that ‘they’ (insert the government, oil companies, scientists as appropriate) will save the day. I’ve learnt through long experience that badgering him doesn’t work, so I focus on the undeniable- we’re running out of landfill space. He is also more than happy to support local producers.. We can reduce our carbon footprint (that sounds so old fashioned now!) without falling out about it (too much…)

    And it is all stuff we should be doing *anyway* as FEF said.
    Have you read any Sharon Astyk? I love her writing and have read a couple of her books (Depletion and Abundance and Independence Days). They are intelligent, very witty and help me feel positive and proactive. She has a couple of blogs and here is her piece about Pat Meadow’s Theory of Anyway. I also like Pat’s comment about Repair of the World rather than defensive actions.

    • Reply Jen June 12, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Hazel-I’ll check out those links.

  • Reply Ellie June 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Well said Jen. I think the landfill issue was really brought home to us a couple of years ago. We love the Jurassic coast in Devon and have had lots of holidays/days out there. We’ve all enjoy a good fossil hunt, and each of our 3 children have gathered a few prize specimens over the years. Our last visit was following a particular hard winter and the coast between Lyme and Charmouth had taken a beating. Whilst scouring the beach we found not belemnites and ammonites but plastic tubs, broken glass and rusty cans!! The cliff had eroded a disused landfill site which obv at the time of use would’ve been much further in land but with the erosion of the coast had been revealed. The cliff side was scarred with seams of black plastic sacks and other assorted discarded and undegradable rubbish. My daughter said that looking at it made her feel said. Me too! So tweet and blog away about how we all need to be more responsible than disposable before the waste we thought we’d hidden away comes back to haunt us.

    • Reply Jen June 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Wow, that must have looked horrendous. What a way to bring the message home though. A rubbish scar on a World Heritage Site…

  • Reply smallholderwannabe June 11, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I’m with you too. I know that people around me think that I’m a bit of an oddball because I’m always using stuff up and recycling everything and trying not to waste things but in reality I do so very little. It is just that they do less. But as the Disenchanted Costumier says, every little helps. And our instructions were to be good stewards of the good things that God gives us.

    • Reply Jen June 11, 2013 at 6:54 pm

      It is hugely overwhlming to think of all that you SHOULD be doing, which is why I think we need to start small and get everyone doing just one thing. But will that be too little, too late?

  • Reply Anna Pitt June 11, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Well said, Jen. I understand just how you feel. I feel like that two. Climate change is too big, too uncertain and with too much controversy for my small voice to address. But waste is something tangible, and there isn’t really much room for controversy. Waste is just waste and I think most people can understand that some resources are finite and so we should waste less. But we have got into a habit of waste. Your , project shows us that such a habit can be changed. Keep up the great work. Someone once told me that if you have an elephant think of it as an apple. Keep taking little bites.

    • Reply Jen June 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks Anna. Baby steps. Hard when it is such a HUGE and overwhelming subject, but baby steps…

  • Reply Angela Bevington June 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Keep up the good work, Jen. I am 64 today. My little grandson is 18 months old and I want him to know the beauty of the world that I have and am still fortunate enough to enjoy. For him and his generation, to do that, we need to live as you are encouraging people to live.

    • Reply Jen June 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      We do indeed Angela, thankyou 🙂

  • Reply Sue June 10, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Jen, you are so right we all need to do our bit to save our planet! Otherwise there will be nothing left for our children and grandchildren. Stop chucking out stuff and buying new we don’t need. Stop and think before making our own global disaster, we can help, but we all need to do a bit. You have Jen hopefully enlightened a few more people to your fantastic ideas! Keep up the good work.

    • Reply Jen June 10, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Sue. It feels like we are all sleep-walking into a disaster, because we are too lazy or busy or … to do anything about it. I am genuinely scared for the future my kids will have. But one of the things I love about this blog is hearing from everyone, the steps that they are taking to lessen the impact.

  • Reply Leah June 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    And then we wake up to the reality that there is (very likely) no global warming, but global cooling instead, and we’re actually headed for another Little Ice Age.
    At least, that’s what Forbes tells us. It’s also what my own experience and some common sense tell me.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/05/26/to-the-horror-of-global-warming-alarmists-global-cooling-is-here/
    But you know, that still doesn’t mean there’s no reason for concern. It still doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take better care of our planet, because the way we (society as a whole) are behaving now, we are destroying the earth, global warming or not. And do we want our children to have to try and make a living on a destroyed planet? Do we really want to do that to the ones we love the most?
    I don’t think so.

    • Reply Jen June 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I’m afraid Leah, that my own views are that Climate Change is here and is very much a man-made phenomenon.
      Regardless of what your views are though, you are right that we should all be taking responsibility for what is happening to the planet, and the resource destruction.

      • Reply Leah June 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm

        That’s OK with me. We can agree to disagree on global warming. The important matter is that we agree on saving the planet and its resources. 🙂

        • Reply Jen June 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

          Indeedy 🙂

  • Reply fenendfarm June 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Jen, are you involved with Transition Towns or Permaculture? If not then I recommend finding out more about both. They have both helped me to remain positive and focus on solutions in the face of climate change, instead of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. Also they are both still relevant for lots of other positive reasons, even if climate change wasn’t happening, which is often good to keep in mind when engaging with people who don’t believe it is, or who just switch off when it comes up.

    • Reply Jen June 10, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      We don’t have a transition group in our town and I am feeling a little bit of pressure to try and get one off the ground-just not sure I have the time or energy to give it the commitment it would need, and not sure the rest of the town feels the same!

  • Reply The Disenchanted Costumier June 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    A horrifying thought but so true, and one people, including myself shouldn’t avoid. Do your bit people, it’s an old saying but a true one… Every little helps.

    • Reply Jen June 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm

      It really does-but that’s a whole other blog post..!!

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