Tag Archives: climate change

21 for 2021: week 8

Week 08/2021: week of 22 February

21 for 2021 update

I’m working through the Habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4). I’m working on doing yoga stretches every day, the pre-work routine every work day, and this week I started the end of work ritual, which feels as awkward to do as the pre-work routine did when I started it. I’m hoping that by the time I’ve done it for a few weeks, it will start to feel less forced.

I don’t think I’m using this journal exactly as it was intended, which is to work through a chapter a week. I currently have two other chapters on the go: chapter 8 (Clarity) and chapter 9 (Pitch Yourself), which is about identifying your strengths and learning to talk about them naturally. Both of these chapters are feeding into updating my resume (thing 18), where I’m looking at finding ways to describe my skills and strengths in a way that will “sell” me through my resume, which is where “Pitch Yourself” comes in. So it’s all nicely connected. But they aren’t consistent daily habits or practices like most of the other things in the book are, as they ask you to write about different things every day. So I’m not being very consistent about doing them every day.

Whatever. It’s my book. I can use it however I want

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

If you read last week’s post, you might remember how I had decided to make the Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread Bake (page 38) last Sunday night, without noticing that the recipe notes say “Begin this recipe one day ahead”. Rather than let this be a setback, I decided to prep the recipe on Sunday so Kramstable and I could have it with the dinner he cooked on Monday. It worked brilliantly and we had left over garlic bread for the rest of the week.

Cheesy garlic bread forever!

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that I have made a regular commitment to doing in the hope that this will be more likely to make me do them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent about an hour and a half on this project on Sunday afternoon. I have almost two hours of footage in the project that I need to cut down to something more digestible!
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. My mum kindly got out her old photos for me this week and told me the stories of some of the people in them. There’s a bunch of old people in them she doesn’t know who they are, which is sad because it means their stories are lost, at least to us, but I’m trying to focus on the things Mum can remember and the people she does recognise. I also got some information about my grandfather’s time at school in Sydney from his old school, which was interesting.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I completed lesson 4 and started work on lesson 5.
  • Thing 17: Brainsparker gym*. I did the second lesson of the third module and learned about the 5 Whys technique. The exercise in this lesson gave me a useful insight into a particular behaviour I’m seeking to change and what a possible cause of the behaviour is that I need to look at rather than trying to address the symptom.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 1 (1)
  • Things I progressed: 8 (2, 4, 8, 9, 11, 17, 18, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (5, 6, 13)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

What else did I do this week?

I ran the bridge. Well, I entered the Run the Bridge five km walk. There was no running involved, except from Kramstable, who ran a personal best in the five km run. Lil Sis and I took the more leisurely walking option.

Lovely morning for a Sunday walk across the bridge

Blast from the past

Following on from my 10-year review of my blog, here’s one of my favourite posts from 2011: 11 April 2011: Books.    

It’s interesting to see how my go-to section in the bookshop has changed since 2011. I don’t go to the kids’ picture books, cooking, gardening or spirituality sections much these days, but I do spend a lot of time in the photography and architecture sections, as well as the Tasmanian section, especially the second hand area in the Tasmanian section.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I didn’t do much other than feel helpless. A recent report is telling us that 19 ecosystems within Australia and Antarctica are on the verge of collapse and that without urgent action right now, we will lose them. It seems incomprehensible that this is happening across the world, yet our government continues to support coal mines and fossil fuels, and Queensland wants to host the 2032 Olympics as if the world is going to look like it does now in 2032. Why can they funnel money into sporting events and not into trying to save the planet we’ve living on? What’s more important? Sports, obviously.

I don’t know what to do.

What I’m reading this week

  • You Know it’s Love by Jen Morris
  • Personality Hacker by Joel Mark Witt & Antonia Dodge
  • Me by Elton John

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 3

Week 3/21: week of 18 January 2021

21 for 2021 update

Some time ago I was chatting to my GP about getting older and how I want to make sure I stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can. I said one thing I’ve always had a problem with was exercising; that even though I walk a lot, my cardiovascular fitness isn’t fantastic and I know that as women age they start to lose a lot of bone density, which can be, if not prevented, then minimised by increasing their strength. I’ve tried exercise programs in the past, most recently before I got pregnant. Yes, that was 15 years ago. I have no wish to join a gym, I don’t like exercising, I have some very weak points in my back, and I can come up with every excuse under the sun not to exercise. Meanwhile, time marches on and little niggles in my body start to let me know they are there more and more often. 

My GP suggested seeing an exercise physiologist to get an assessment of where I’m at, what I need and what I can do that I’m more likely to stick to and that takes into account my weak spots. I had never heard of exercise physiologists before so I had to google what they were. I learned that exercise physiology provides injury rehabilitation and injury and illness prevention through exercise. The aims of exercise physiology are to prevent or manage injury or illness and to assist in restoring optimal physical function, health or wellness. It can include health and physical activity education, advice and support, and lifestyle modification, with a strong focus on behavioural change.

That ticked all the boxes for me. It sounded exactly what I needed. Now the only thing was to do it. It might not surprise you to know that I had this conversation with my GP about 18 months ago and she had even recommended someone to see. I was brilliant at coming up with excuses why I couldn’t do this. I put it on my list to do this year (thing 1) hoping that having it there might act as an incentive to do it some time this year. The first time I went onto the practitioner’s website earlier this year, there were no appointments available but this week there were two or three. I told myself there was no excuse to not do it. So I booked an appointment and it’s done and now I just have to show up. 

I started making a few behind the scenes change to my blog (thing 13) and posted the first of what will be a short series of posts about my ten years of blogging. 

I’ve been working on the Habits chapter of the Change Journal (thing 4) , one of which is to implement the pre-work routine (thing 20), which I have now done every day for three weeks. It’s probably time to start exploring some of the other chapters in the journal now.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from the book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. 

I decided to make up for missing my vegetable cooking last Saturday and do one of Alice’s veggie recipes mid week. This one was Samosa-mix stuffed peppers (aka red capsicums). I had never made samosas before and I had never stuffed capsicums before. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, it turns out, nothing. It was a pretty easy recipe and the spice combination of mustard seeds, turmeric, garlic, curry powder (mine is called x-hot) and garam masala smelt so good when it was cooking. The only things I didn’t have were green chillies (accidentally overlooked at the shop) and coriander leaves for the garnish, which brings me to another topic of food waste, which is coming up very soon. I even used the rest of a tub of yogurt that was a week past its best before date (don’t tell anyone; it was fine).

This was really good and a lot easier than I’d imagined

Saturday was regular veggie cooking day. I have had Alice’s yam recipe on the list for a few weeks because Slabs saw them in the shops a while back but I’ve always had a backup in case he can’t get them when he does the shopping. Today was no different and he came home and said I was cooking eggplant. Yay! I love eggplant.

The recipe is Sichuan Sticky Eggplant (page 270 if you’re playing at home) and requires you to cut up the eggplant and let it sit in salt for an hour until it softens. Somehow I’ve never learned from past mistakes of not reading through the recipe earlier in the day so I know how much prep time I need. Dinner was going to be late again.

After that, though, the rest is pretty simple. You make the sticky sauce from a variety of Chinese sauces that until today I had never heard of but now have in my fridge. You dry out the salted eggplant pieces (Alice calls them “batons” I’m not sure how big they’re supposed to be but mine looked a lot like chips), coat them in cornflour and fry them in a shit-tonne of rice bran oil.

I know, right. I said I don’t fry. Seems as though I do now. And I didn’t burn the house down.

Sure, I fry

Then you cook some rice, mix the eggplant into the sauce (which I think I overcooked a bit) and serve with the deep fried sliced garlic and red chillies that you prepared at the start.

The end result

It was really good. I’m going to ignore the sugar content.

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that are going to work best if I make a regular commitment to doing them. I worked on these ones this week.

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list.) One hour on Saturday morning.)  I cleaned out the back foyer and closed some bank accounts.
Yeah, you can see why this was on the undone annoying things list, right?
Much better
  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.) I did a bit of work on Sunday and threw some seeds in. In hindsight, perhaps 3pm in the middle of summer isn’t quite the best time to be doing that. Especially not in my morning walking clothes that I was still wearing, including my polar fleece. Incredibly bad idea.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon doing this. 
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. I visited my mum during the week and started to write up what I’ve been learning. 
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I’m working through the first lesson.
  • Thing 17: I did the first lesson in module 2 of the Brainsparker gym* program.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 11 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 1 (18)
  • Things not started: 9 (3, 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?

I continued to expose myself to Indigenous voices on the issue of 26 January. I was, like many people, appalled at the Prime Minister’s suggestion that 26 January hadn’t been such a “flash day” for the people arriving on the British boats either, as if a few months stuck on a dodgy boat was in any way comparable to the atrocities committed against the original inhabitants of this land, and the continuing disadvantages and systemic discrimination faced by their descendants.

I have learned a lot recently and I have a lot of time spent in ignorance to make up for. As in any area of growth, however, it won’t achieve anything for me to be mad at past me for what I haven’t known or understood. I can only change me now, and acknowledge that I have a lot to learn, a lot to understand and that I have to do more of what needs to be done starting now. 

I saw this quote from James Clear during the week, which I think I need to keep in mind at all times, because worrying about what other people might think is something I do very well and it often stops me from doing the things I want to do.

When I notice myself worrying about “what other people will think” I find I’m usually not worried about any single person’s opinion.
If I pick a specific person, I‘m rarely concerned about what they will think.
What I fear is the collective opinion in my head. It’s imaginary.

Saturday sunrise

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I recently saw a reply to a comment on Instagram post from someone who said they were committed to never throwing out food. The reply was along the lines of what that person did in their kitchen really wasn’t the biggest food waster. True, but  if everyone thought like that and didn’t care how much food they threw away, there would be a huge snowball effect, right? In her book Simplicious Flow, Sarah Wilson says if waste food were a country, it would be the third largest producer of CO2 in the world after the US and China, and that the number one contributors to this are consumers.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I did find out from here that

  • On average, Australians throw one in five shopping bags of food in the bin—that’s about $3,800 worth of groceries per household each  year.
  • Australian households throw away 2.5 million tonnes of edible food each year—that equates to nearly 300 kilograms per person—and the average Australian household sends roughly 4.9 kilograms of food waste to landfill each week.
  • In Australia, 7.3 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year—enough to fill 13,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. Households are the biggest contributors (34%), followed by primary production (31%) and manufacturing (24%). 3.2 million tonnes of this is sent to landfill, and 75% of all food that is sent to landfill comes from our households.
  • Rotting food in landfill produces methane, which is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. For every tonne of food waste in landfill, a tonne of CO2-e greenhouse gas is generated.
  • When we waste food, we also waste the natural resources that go into making it, like land, water and energy.

Sorry, instagram commenter, I think what that person does, multiplied by 25 million people, could make a pretty big contribution to reducing emissions.

There is a whole world of opportunities here to make a huge difference to my footprint on the Earth and that is my focus moving forward. I realise I also have to stop collecting tips to reduce food waste and start not only buying smarter but making better use of what I buy.

I saw a post recently from someone who said you can regrow spring onions if you just chuck the bottom of them with the roots still attached into the ground. Apparently, the tops will regrow and you can keep cutting them as you need them, and this person said they never buy spring onions any more. I had some left over from my eggplant dish, so they are part of the veggie box now. I will wait and see if this works.

After the hot afternoon debacle, I went out later when it was cooler and threw some (very past their use-by date; one packet said to sow before 2010) basil, coriander and spinach seeds in and left it at that. I pulled the cover over the veggie bed, not that it’s much good as all the plastic has deteriorated and it’s mostly holes, so I don’t hold out much hope of it shielding them from the 31 degree sun tomorrow. But since the seeds are so old, they might not grow anyway, so this was really just to see what happens.

I rode my bike to work

Summary of the week

What I’m reading this week

  • Hollow Places: An Unusual History of Land and Legend by Christopher Hadley
  • Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
  • A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
  • The Queen of My Self by Donna Henes

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 2
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

21 for 2021: week 2

Week 2/2021: week of 11 January


I’m currently working through chapters 7 and 8 of the Change Journal (thing 4). Chapter 7 is about trying to do things that you want to become new habits for 66 days. I’m working on two at the moment: the morning pre-work routine at work (thing 20) and getting back into the habit of doing five minutes of yoga stretches every day. My wonderful yoga teacher, Lynn, made the instructions for these stretches as part of an audio program she created last year during the Covid lockdown when we couldn’t go to class. Part of the deal was she would be a text buddy for anyone who wanted some accountability for following the program and I had an agreement with her to text her every day once I’d done the stretches. It worked really well when I was working at home full-time but it got more difficult to do in the office when I couldn’t find a quiet space. As a result, I fell out of the habit and I want to get back into it so I’m using the Change Journal to track it.

I did some work on my resume (thing 18) during the week. I’ve been doing a bit of work on reflecting about my career, where I am and where I want to go over the last couple of weeks, and I want my resume to have a statement that reflects some of that. In some ways, it’s an ongoing process, but I know there’s a job that I want to do coming up soon so I need a current resume to be able to apply for that.

I didn’t have to cook dinner on Saturday and my most excellent meal planning system didn’t take that into account last week so I’m left without a vegetable of the week (thing 2). I’ll make up for it next week with two new recipes.

Shades of green

Regular projects
There are several things on my 21 for 2021 list that I’ve made a regular commitment to do.

Here are the ones I worked on this week

  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. I set aside an hour on Saturday morning, which I didn’t end up doing this week. One of the things was to sort out Kramstable’s bank accounts, and we made some progress on that one this week by closing down two accounts and moving them to another bank. It almost took an hour and I could write an entire post about that experience but I won’t subject you to what we had to endure. I also stuck some more photocollages in my 2020 journal.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. I spent my allocated hour on Sunday afternoon doing this.
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I visited my mum for our first storytelling session. I was a little nervous about how she might react to me dredging back over her life but she seemed really happy to talk to me and I’ve found out a few things I didn’t already know.
  • Thing 10: Complete the Compelling Frame course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet but I started working through the course material on Saturday.

I didn’t do these ones

  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.)
  • Thing 7: Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit. (One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.)
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 17: Module 2 of the Brainsparker gym* was released late this week and I haven’t looked at it yet. It’s on the list for next week.

21 for 2021 summary: week 2

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 7 (4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 18, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 3 (2, 6, 17)
  • Things not started: 11 (1, 3, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21)

What else did I achieve this week?
I worked on the Hobart Street Corners project and have a nice backlog of photos ready to post now.

When did I listen and what did I learn this week?
This week I did some reading about 26 January and the different views around whether the date should be changed or whether the holiday should be abolished altogether. I found a good summary from @blakbusiness on Instagram, which they have allowed people to share.

Change the Date advocates for a new national holiday that is inclusive for all people of Australia. This perspective recognises that other people have some here – such as refugees – and want to celebrate this country. However, this perspective also recognises that the history of January 26 makes it insensitive for a national celebration and that a different date should be chosen. Many people highlight that changing the date also requires a redefining of what is being celebrated.

Abolish the Date advocates for no national holiday as there is greater change that needs to happen before the nation should celebrate. These changes include truth-telling about history, treaty, provision of health services, access to affordable food, decreased prison, suicide and child removal rates and so on. This perspective questions what is it that is being celebrated on January 26 and should this be celebrated?

@blackbusiness om Instagram

I don’t feel qualified to have a view on this, other than to think that celebrating “Australia Day” on 26 January is not okay. I am continuing to read and to learn more about these issues. The post links to some other resources including

What did I do for the Earth this week?
I still feel way overwhelmed about the extent of work that has to be done if the world is going to survive the climate crisis and am trying to strike a balance between staying reasonably informed and hitting the panic button. At the same time I’m trying to find things in my own life I can change right away. One of those is the amount of washing I do.

When I had a good look at my household habits, I realised that for the amount of clothes I have, washing every week is completely unnecessary. I have more than enough clothes to last me two weeks and fill the washing machine instead of doing a half-load every week.

I am also guilty of using the clothes dryer for my towels because I hate the feel of line-dried towels, and they don’t seem to work as well if they’re line-dried. Clothes dryer = huge energy waster. So I invested in some Turkish towels, which don’t need to be washed every week and definitely do not need to be tumble dried. I’ll use the old towels for cleaning rags. And that has cut my washing in half and eliminated my use of the clothes dryer.

Storm clouds

What was the best thing about this week?
Talking to my mum and closing the bank accounts.

What I’m reading this week

  • A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough
  • In The Winter Dark by Tim Winton
  • The Climate Cure: Solving the Climate Emergency in the Era of COVID-19 by Tim Flannery

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 6

21 for 2021: week 1

Week 1/2021: week of 4 January 2021
My 21 for 2021 list

This was my first week back at work so I decided it was as good a time as any to get back into the pre-work planning routine from the LifeHack program (thing 20). The video suggests following the exact routine for 66 days to cement it as a habit loop in your brain. I am struggling with that, not least because I’m not in the same place every day. It also feels very weird to try and work through a structured checklist like this. However, I will persist. 

Coincidentally, there is a chapter in the Change Journal (thing 4) about forming new habits, which also suggests trying new habits for 66 days. It gives you space to track seven new habits, presumably staring a new one every day for a week consistent with the way the rest of the book is structured to allow you to follow a new idea each week. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to try and introduce a new habit every day for a week, so I’m going to use this section of the book to track seven new habits over the course of the year. Unsurprisingly, the first one I’m going to try and follow for 66 (work) days is the pre-work planning routine.

I worked through the first module of the Brainsparker gym* (thing 17) and learned something really interesting. Well, as a contact lens wearer, I found it interesting. I learned that the modern contact lens was invented by a Czech chemist called Dr Otto Wichterle and his colleague Drahoslav Lím. Dr Wichterle had to leave the Institute of Chemical Technology after a political purge by the institute’s Communist leadership in 1958. He was appointed as leader of a new institute but, as it didn’t have a building at the time, he continued his research at his house. In 1961, he succeeded in producing the first four hydrogel contact lenses on his kitchen table with a machine he had made himself from a children’s building set, a dynamo from his son’s bike and a bell transformer.

The lesson from this: Keep going, even if the circumstances aren’t perfect. Use what you have and keep going.

Vegetable of the week

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from Alice Zaslavky’s book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. This week I chose radicchio, which is another vegetable I’ve never cooked with (and, like okra, wasn’t exactly sure what to do with). I picked the radicchio and sausage pasta recipe.

Radicchio & sausage pasta ingredients

It uses pork and fennel sausages that you take out of the casing and smash up. Alice says to use the “fancy” ones, not ones that are packed full of fillers. It seemed a little sacrilegious to me to destroy the butcher’s work in putting these things together, and I wondered if using pork mince and fennel seeds might work as well. Perhaps I’ll try it one day. The recipe includes fennel, which is another vegetable I’d also never cooked, so I got two for the price of one with this dish!

Smashed sausages. Sorry, Meatgrrl.
Radicchio. Right.
Raddichio chopped.

It worked out well and everyone had seconds. So maybe it was worth destroying the sausages for. And I learned a very cool tip for adding zucchini to pasta rather than cutting it up and adding it to the sauce: use a spiraliser (I have one of those. I think I’ve used it once. I never forgave it after I cut myself on it). You put the spiralised zucchini in the colander before you drain the pasta and then let the pasta water soften it a bit.

Spiralised zucchini, yeah!
The finished product.,

Regular projects

There are several things on my list that are going to work best if I make a regular commitment to doing them. Consistency is the key. Brainsparker gym* is one (an hour a week) and the pre-work routine is obviously another one. So are these ones.

  • Thing 3: Complete the 30-day voice training course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 5: Spend an hour a week working through my annoying undone things list. One hour on Saturday morning. I didn’t do it this week because we went out most of the day, but I did work on a couple of the things on the list another time.
  • Thing 6: Grow some vegetables in the garden bed. One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects. I pulled out all the weeds and cleared space around it. I’m a little concerned that the cover for this garden bed is plastic that is rapidly deteriorating and I’m not sure what to do about that. No matter what I do, the plastic is still going to be somewhere, whether I throw it out or leave it. 
  • Thing 7: Clear out the area at the side of the house and make a space to sit. One hour on Sunday afternoon for garden projects.
  • Thing 8: Spend an hour a week working on Kramstable’s videos. One hour on Sunday afternoon. I started the next video on my list. 
  • Thing 9: Write my mother’s life story. This week, I arranged with my mother to visit once a week to talk through this project and capture her memories.
  • Thing 10: Complete the ImageWork course. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.
  • Thing 11: Complete the Photoshop Classroom in a Book activities. I haven’t allocated time for this yet.

Yeah, I know I don‘t do well in sticking to a plan, but I have had some success in fixing regular times to do things in my week and making them habits so I’m hoping this will work for these things too.

Nice afternoon for a walk

What else did I achieve this week?

My regular check in: I finished the final collage for my 2020 photojournal and I now have all of them printed so I just need to stick them into the book to finish that off. It’s one of my annoying undone things.

I didn’t work on my Hobart Street Corners project on Thursday, which is the night I usually work on those photos, because my computer was playing up and it took two hours to even get any photos off my phone, much less edit anything. I finished off my backlog of 2020 photos on Sunday morning instead.

Last year I had some questions that I asked myself every week that would set me up for the new week, about what didn’t got so well that week and what I might do better next week. Most of the time my answer was that I was scrolling through my phone too much, and I never really kicked that habit, which I’m sure made for boring reading. It also made me realise that this approach wasn’t working so it was time to try something different. I have a bunch of questions for myself related to areas where I want to do better, not all of which I might be able to answer every week, so I thought I would answer just one or two of them on the blog each week rather than run through the entire list every week.

What did I do for the Earth this week?

There is so much going through my head. So many things I could do and so many things I should have been doing for years. Part of me wonders why bother? I can take all the small steps in the world to reduce my footprint but it won’t make a lick of difference if world leaders don’t make some hard decisions. We have to stop using fossil fuels and overfishing the seas and destroying rainforests and all the things we do that make our lives easier. We can’t sustain what we’re doing, we just can’t.

It all seems too overwhelming so, rather than give up because I don’t know what to do, I need to start somewhere and keep learning and making changes.

There are a couple of things that are extremely low-hanging fruit and I have no excuses not to do them.

The first one is the kettle. I had a habit of filling it up every time I use it, which is, I learned (and if I think about it, actually knew) a massive waste of energy I couldn’t find any exact numbers for Australia, but suffice to say boiling a kettle with 1.7 litres of water when I only need 500 ml is very inefficient and I don’t do it any more.

What was the best thing about this week?

Getting my new glasses so I can see again!

My blog also celebrated its tenth birthday, so I will be posting some more on that in the coming weeks.

Getting out for a lunchtime walk

Summary for the week

What I’m reading this week: A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough.

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 0
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 17, 20)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 0
  • Things not started: 14 (1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21)

Habit tracker

  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 3
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 2
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 7): 6
  • Days I shut my computer down before 10.15 (Goal = 7): 7

A new word for a new year?

I enjoyed having a break between Christmas and New Year that was long enough to do a thorough review of 2020 and of what I achieved, what I didn’t achieve and what I want to focus on in 2021.

The sun rises on 2021

One of the things I did was to consider what my Word for 2021 might be. Finding a Word for the year is a practice that I have unsuccessfully dabbled in for a few years now, the idea being that you choose a word (with some supporting words if you want) that will help you shape your year and remind you what you want to focus most on. You can use it any way you want, so it’s a very forgiving practice. The process I started to use is outlined in Susannah Conway’s Find Your Word 2021 workbook, but before I got halfway through the work, my Word for 2021 had come to me.

Listen.

This year, I want to make space to listen. This means many things to me, but it particularly means to listen to myself, which is something I’m not good at doing. 

As I was flicking (aka mindlessly scrolling, you know, that thing I’m trying to do less of) through my social media feeds, I saw a lot of positive posts that were glad to see the back of 2020 and hoped for a better 2021. Looking at these posts, I couldn’t help feeling that this wasn’t right and that things aren’t going to be better in 2021. I knew I had to stop and listen to this feeling because it wasn’t just a passing feeling. It gnawed away at me over the week and the voice within me kept getting louder and louder.  

What it said to me was that, even though I’ve not been personally badly affected by any of the truly awful things that are going on in the world right now, I have been incredibly fortunate when so many haven’t. And, while it would be easy to stay asleep to the realities of what’s going on, I’m really just dodging bullets and I won’t be able to do that forever. It will catch up with me. My voice was telling me to wake up while I still can. 

As I scrolled, I started thinking how, in the past few years, many people have chalked up the shitstorm that was the preceding year as “a bad year” and have expressed great hope that the next year would be better. This is understandable: A new year is an obvious time for a reset. I’m doing it right now. But increasingly, the next year hasn’t been better. Every year the threats posed by environmental collapse, war, poverty, famine, bushfires, old white men in power are increasing, not to mention effects of the pandemic that keeps on giving. Who, in closing the door on 2019, would have expected that? This stuff is not going away just because the western calendar has moved on to another number. And in the same vein, hearing people say that they hope that life returns to “normal” post-covid sets alarm bells ringing within my soul. We can’t sustain what we once called “normal”. 

I find it very easy to shut down when faced with what’s going on and retreat into my “I’m okay, everything will be okay” bubble, thinking that someone will do something, surely one day the people that can make a difference will do something, they won’t let this happen to us. 

But they haven’t shown any inclination towards doing anything so far. To me, it seems like most people with any influence over what happens to this planet don’t care and won’t do anything in case it upsets big business, or whoever else they are beholden to. The western world is drowning in consumerism that encourages us to buy more stuff to keep “the economy” strong, demanding that the planet give more than it has to give, and the mainstream media does nothing to dispel the many lies out there. And so humanity hurtles towards its doom. 

Kramstable asked me why people aren’t doing anything if our current course of action means humans could be wiped out, possibly in his lifetime, as some of the worst-case scenarios suggest. Other than being horrified that a 14-year-old was wondering if he would even get a chance to get old, I didn’t have an answer for him. (On reflection, there is nothing horrifying about this. Greta Thunberg was only 15 when she started the school strike for climate movement.)

I know that the big guns aren’t going to change anything. They will let the world burn. I partially understand the reasons for this. The system we live in is broken but it’s the only system we know so we cling to it and we hope that things will go back to normal, which is basically the state that created the situation we are now in.

I told Kramstable that I didn’t truly understand why what’s happening is happening or why people seem to be prepared to take no action when they know what the outcome is going to be. Perhaps they don’t really believe it. Perhaps they figure they’ll be dead before the worst of it affects them so they don’t care. Perhaps they think some supernatural being will step in and make everything all right, at least for the worthy ones.

I felt utterly helpless thinking about telling him that I had no answer to his very reasonable question, and I knew that at that moment I had a choice.

In the face of such helplessness, it would be so easy to go back to my bubble, to keep working on the petty little issues that occupy my mind at the moment and to let whatever happens happen. (Okay, they aren’t petty to me, but on a global scale, they’re inconsequential, and the fact that I have the capacity to work through them tells me right there the level of privilege that I currently enjoy). That’s the path of least resistance, and I have to ask myself if that’s what I want, because it’s an option that is always open to me. I could basically go to sleep. Or perhaps go back to sleep. I could stay in my bubble and focus on my own issues and ignore what’s going on around me for as long as I can. 

I could also rage and despair, and feel helpless and scream out that it’s not fair, and keep asking why doesn’t Someone do Something. Another option. Not a very constructive option and the outcome would be the same as the least resistance option. I’d just feel a whole lot more stressed and fearful while achieving the same result. 

Or I could do something. 

I’m currently reading Sarah Wilson’s book This One Wild and Precious Life, which suggests there is hope. But we have to change ourselves. If I want things to change, I have to change. In the book, Sarah argues it’s our responsibility to stand up and fight for our world, to do something, to practise what we preach, to “wake up and to come back to life and to do what matters”.

I’ll come back to this book in another post because it has a lot to take in and I’ve been making lots of notes from it and tossing ideas around in my head. But I have to do more than take it all in. It is a call to action. 

I look back to that conversation with Kramstable and I wonder how in good conscience I can complain that other people aren’t doing anything to address the situation we find ourselves in if I don’t do anything myself. How can I look him in the eye and say that no one is doing anything when I’m not doing enough to fight for my own future, much less his? It would be so easy to blame the government, the Murdoch media, people who use disposable coffee cups, people who drive their cars everywhere, people who think changing a word in the national anthem will make us a united country . . . and to sit back and whinge about everything that everyone else is doing or not doing.

I’m part of this too. My choices are contributing. 

I can either put up and shut up, or I can start listening to the voice inside me that doesn’t want to give up. The voice that says I need to take personal responsibility and start taking real action. I need to listen to that voice, I need to listen to the world and I need to learn. I have a lot to learn, about what’s happening and what’s needed, but that isn’t enough. I have to do something with what I’m hearing and what I’m learning. Because if there was ever a time that action is needed, it’s now.

We often avoid taking action because we think, “I need to learn more”, but the best way to learn is often by taking action.
—James Clear.

Thinking, as I usually do, that I need to know everything before I do anything is one way to not take action. Sitting down and writing about needing to take action is another way. Neither of these things change anything. But, as I read about what’s happening in the world and what this means for our future, if I really take it in, I am really scared. I’m fucking terrified. Part of me doesn’t believe this is actually happening, despite all of the evidence around me that it is. Part of me does want to crawl back into my privilege bubble and go back to sleep. 

Trying to squash those feelings or pretending I don’t have them won’t help. Acknowledging them, accepting that I have them and embracing them, then taking action in spite of them, is the only way to deal with them. As Sarah writes, we can be more than one thing. It follows that we can feel more than one emotion. It’s okay. It’s okay to be scared and it’s okay to be in denial. It’s also okay that the super critical voice in my head that constantly tells me I’m no good is screaming that I shouldn’t be writing stuff like this because I don’t know what I’m talking about and that I’m over-reacting, that nothing bad is going to happen. That is especially okay because the louder and more insistent that voice gets, the more I know that it’s freaking out and wants me to stop, which really means that I’m on the right track and I need to keep going.

It’s okay that right now, writing this, I want to burst into tears and I don’t know what to do. But I can find out, and then I need to do it.

Sarah’s book is a start, and now I’ve read (most of) it I know I mustn’t go back to sleep. It’s discouraging to think of the many times I’ve committed to making changes, made a start and gone back to my old ways after a few days or weeks. But nothing bad has ever happened to me as a result. Super critical voice is telling me that this is just like one of those times. Nothing will happen to you if you fuck this up. But if you say you’re going to do something and then you don’t, well, aren’t you going to look like an idiot then? Best to calm down, shut up and go back to writing about how you can’t stop scrolling through Instagram. Everything will be fine. 

Yeah, thanks for that, SCV. Not helpful.

This time last year, I was in despair about the bushfires that were ravaging our country and I sat, feeling powerless and guilty as so much precious vegetation and wildlife was destroyed, some of it never to return, terrified that the fires would come my way eventually. I can remember someone saying to me that feeling guilty or living in fear wouldn’t help and that instead, I could turn these feelings into action, to do what’s good for the planet and to keep fighting for it. That sounded positive, so I signed up for a challenge that suggested one change you could make every week to make a difference. I gave up on week 2 because it was too hard to decide which not non-ethical financial institution I wanted to transfer my money into when I divested from one that supported fossil fuels.

It would be funny if it weren’t true.

Meanwhile, a year has passed, the world is still getting hotter, Australia continues to support the fossil fuel industry and avoid its international obligations, Arctic sea ice keeps melting. Oh, and we’ve been hit by a global pandemic. I had committed to changing and I had done precisely nothing, exactly as I had done in the past in the multitude of my own personal challenges.

But unlike in those challenges, the stakes here are real and I don’t know how to convey to myself that this isn’t a practice run. It’s not a new habit that I might or might not take up with no harm done if I don’t. This is the real deal and there is no Plan(et) B. 

There’s a quote often attributed to Anne Frank that goes something like how wonderful it is that no one need wait a single minute before starting to change the world. I’m not sure what part of her diary it’s from but I’ve seen it used in many places. What it’s saying to me is that I can’t sit around and wait for someone to tell me what to do. No one is going to do that. There isn’t a checklist that starts off with “stop using disposable coffee cups” and ends with “planet saved”. Permanent lifestyle changes are needed, not things that can be ticked off a list to make me feel good. But I can’t sit at my desk making lists of all the things I need to change and make a big, detailed plan of how to change my lifestyle spanning the next three years, with everything in perfect order. The world doesn’t follow a Gantt chart and climate change isn’t going to wait for me to get my shit together. I need to go and do something. Now.

(Also, you may recall, I am brilliant at making plans but terrible at carrying them out, so that wouldn’t work anyway.)

I think right now, there’s no wrong thing to do, no wrong place to start. There is just simply so much that I need to change. And there’s so much to do that nothing will be wrong. Anything will be right. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know everything I need to do right now. All I have to do is know the first step. And take that. And then the next one. What I need to do next will start to become obvious the more I do the more I listen and the more I learn. 

I’m going to start listening more, educating myself, feeling the fear that comes from what I learn, and using that to drive me to make changes, to speak up and to take action.

As I thought through all of this, I cycled back to my Word for 2021. I wondered if “listen” was the right Word for me or if it should be something like “awake”, “learn”, or even “action”, since that’s what I have to do. But my own voice, the one I’m terrible at listening to, kept insisting that “listen” was the right word. So I honour that voice and, with a view to listening more to myself and to the world, that is my Word for 2021.

To be continued . . .