Warning: Election Ahead

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Here in Australia it is a bit over 3 weeks until the next Federal election.  I am definitely not about to try to influence how you vote but I do want to encourage everyone to stop and think carefully before your cast your votes.  Yes, that is votes – plural.

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We will be voting for our choice of local candidate for the House of Representatives or Lower House.  This is relatively straightforward with most seats having between 4 and 8 candidates vying for your vote.  Number all of the boxes sequentially beginning with 1 for your first choice and so on.

Then there is the Senate or Upper House which is a little more complex.  You have a choice to vote ‘above the line’ or ‘below the line’.  Rather than try to explain it, here is a link to the Australian Electoral Commission website which explains your options.

However you vote, please be engaged with the process and make an informed decision.  The right to participate in the democratic process is denied to many so exercise your right to vote wisely.

 

Collective Action

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Much of what I write about here falls under the broad categories of cooking, gardening and sewing and of course, the all-encompassing category of self-reliance.

The little things that I do every day contribute to my overall philosophy which is summed up in the byline of the blog – ‘A Simple, Sustainable Life’.

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It is important that we should never underestimate the value of the little things that we can all do each and every day.  However, sometimes we need to look beyond our own backyards and get involved on a larger scale.

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8 days ago on 30th November several major Australian cities and regional centres saw significant numbers of school students, young people and adult supporters marching for their future – a future generated by renewable energy, not coal.  I marched in support of these intelligent and articulate youngsters.

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I am somewhere towards the rear of this photo which was taken today.  There were many, more more out of view of the camera.

Thousands of people marched again today and will continue to do so until our state and Federal governments take serious action on climate change.  The most pressing issue is to have the proposed Carmichael mine by Adani in the Gallilee Basin stopped.

There will be more events in the coming weeks.

All of the research shows that a clear majority of Australians support this action so please consider being involved.  Stand up and be counted and let the politicians hear our collective voice.

Meanwhile, I have made another batch of strawberry jam.  That is 8kg of strawberries made into jam.

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Not Tree-Hugging Nonsense

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For too long investment in renewable energy, electric cars, sustainable agriculture and a swag of other activities has been seen as the preserve of alternative individuals in our society.  These people are often derogatorily referred to as tree-hugging greenies by those who do not share their values or see the urgency in transitioning our communities to more sustainable practices.

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The Australian government continues to refuse to accept that exponential economic growth at the expense of environmental protection is not the key to our future.

However, I believe the tide is turning.  I have read several articles in the past few days in which the impact of climate change is of concern.  Doctors are identifying health issues, global banks are withdrawing funding for coal mines and an Australian private health fund has announced that it is divesting itself from fossil fuels on the grounds that it cannot reconcile supporting an industry which harms the health and well-being of its members.

This one from APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) is close to home and should be a stark warning to the government that they simply cannot continue on their current trajectory with regard to action on climate change and support of power generation from non-renewable sources such as coal..

As the support for the coal industry wanes and associated funding options begin to evaporate, the government is determined to push on with its agenda of coal at any cost.   The latest idea is to use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to fund the establishment of more coal-fired power stations using ‘clean coal’ technology.  This is an absolute disgrace and should be stopped.

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Joining the Dots

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I have just checked my blog and realised that it is now 6 days since I last posted.  Why?  Well, I could tell you about how busy I have been but that is not really true.  Life has been ticking along and there has been plenty of activity.  On Wednesday I took our 2 granddaughters to see the matinee performance of “Matilda – The Musical”.  This was their Christmas gift from us and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  Then I spent Thursday and Friday in Sydney on work-related business so there really has not been a huge amount of time for blogging.

However, the real truth is that I have felt so overwhelmed by the recent political events, both domestic and international, that it has been quite difficult to think about writing about the simple things that I do here at home.  When you add in a dose of exceptionally hot weather the inertia really takes over.

It is difficult not to despair when the Treasurer of this nation (supported by his colleagues) brings a lump of coal into the parliament and mercilessly mocks those for whom climate change is a real and present threat.  This, in a week where much of the country is sweltering through some of the highest temperatures on record and it is set to be even worse in Queensland tomorrow.

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What will it take for these dinosaurs to understand that we are living with climate change here and now and there is a real risk to public health?  Yet their answer is to dig up more coal to supposedly generate cheaper power for the air-conditioners which are deemed essential to cope with the environment we have created.  Will they ever manage to join the dots and work out that the solution is not digging up more coal?

Here are a few basic statistics from NASA.  15 of the hottest 16 years on record have been since 2001.  Climate change, perhaps?  Why would our government believe that?  A lump of coal is much more fun!

This article should be compulsory reading for all of our politicians.

 

 

Mr President

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There is only one topic tonight – the election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States.  Like many others, I am draped in a cloak of disbelief.  How could this happen?

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I am not a great fan of Hilary Clinton but even a shred of decency should have been enough to drive people away from Trump in droves.

However, the decision has been made and unfortunately we are all going to have to live with it.  The ramifications of a Trump presidency have the potential to be far-reaching and affect people far beyond the boundaries of the United States.

So, what does this mean for Australia?  According to early media speculation, an increasingly isolationist America would almost certainly impact on trade, defence and foreign policy.  Strategic alliances with Indonesia, our populous Muslim neighbour, relations with China and the problems in the South China Sea and of course trade agreements are all at risk.

Closer to home, this election victory has given Mr Trump’s Australian surrogates such as Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, One Nation senator Pauline Hanson and the LNP’s George Christensen, the opportunity to claim an endorsement of their own views on topics as diverse as immigration, refugees and climate change.

I am fearful of what this means for our future but I am also hopeful that commonsense and decency will prevail.

Just Another Day

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Well, today has hardly been the stuff that makes for riveting blog posts.

I worked from home on an overcast day with some morning drizzle and a brief thunderstorm this afternoon.  I made the bed, did a load of washing and created dinner from things in the freezer as per the meal plan.

A large percentage of the country indulged in the craziness that is the Melbourne Cup, a horse race that is known as the race that stops a nation.

I don’t think the billboard is new this year but is apt for today and timely to think about, particularly as the government have recently indicated even more stringent measures against refugees.  Have we forgotten how to care?

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Almost July

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In another 9 days it will be July.  Six months of 2016 will be gone – that is half of the year.  The winter solstice (in the Southern hemisphere) is gone and now the days will begin to get longer, although the coolest days are still ahead of us.  Here in Australia the financial year ends on 30th June each year and then there will be a flurry of activity of tax returns and hopefully, refunds.

This year, the beginning of July will also herald a Federal election on 2nd July after an inordinately long campaign of about 8 weeks.  In some respects, it seems much longer as we were subjected to much speculation regarding the date prior to the actual announcement.

None of this fills me with particular joy and optimism but there is one highlight and that is ‘Plastic Free July’.

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‘Plastic Free July’ began with one Council in one city in Australia 5 years ago and last year the concept was embraced by groups and individuals in 69 countries around the globe.  You can read more here.

I have read various discussions in which people have mentioned that are are setting themselves up for the challenge by buying or making tulle vegetable bags and beeswax wraps as a substitute for plastic film.

My plan is continue much as I currently do and redouble my efforts to get rid of more single-use plastic from my life.

What single-use plastic could you eliminate?  What alternatives would you use?  Are you looking for ideas?

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to develop a discussion where we can all learn from each other.

Here are some plastic-free treats from our vegie garden.

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