Meeting the Moment 2021 #33

Finally the largest state with the biggest capital city in my country is in a hard lockdown, we nailed the first wave and then didn’t get our act together when we had the chance to get vaccinated and now the first mutated strain is running wild. There will be more strains and Team Virus looks like it is on the winning side and it isn’t half time in the game yet. We have a long way to go and that’s just getting it under control. Then there will be the long term effects on those who get the virus, on those who loose loved ones, on those who loose their livelihoods and are separated from family, friends and their work mates. The long-term effects are physical, psychological, cultural.

This week I had contact with a friend who has had her first baby, she is sad the baby and her grandparents are still unable to meet each other. They will never get to cuddle and experience that newborn smell and tenderness. Another group of people I was with online, in lockdown in cities all around the country shared stories of isolation and its impact on them. As mob, one said a family member had been mainly travelling between cities for work and community connection as a diabetic a police officer had offered to bring insulin in an esky as they were now the wrong side of the border and staying in their car. Hearing family news over zoom or the phone, what you were hoping to share in person, just doesn’t cut it and the separation can feel as like being on the moon rather than a state or even suburb away.

All this in the foothills, of a far more devastating report that landed from the IPCC this past week. There is no time to lose. Waiting for governments to act is foolish. Much of what might be possible is going to be in the hands of investors and business. Investors can drive more change and their leadership is going to be critical. The pandemic is part of it, and as awful as it is, it is a distraction from this bigger crisis.

Where I live in Southern Australia, the IPCC is expecting and has the data and modelled the expected scenario that will deliver rainfall decrease, increase in agricultural and ecological droughts, increase in aridity, The mathematical equations are ranked with high confidence. This is where the investors come in, they can leverage their responsibilities and economic imperatives to do what they can to slow and stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

When I was making cylindrical pots from recycled toilet rolls with my grandson this weekend, filling them with soil and planting beans I had a strong sense of passing on not a joy of gardening but possibly a life skill he is going to need in his adult hood. Food security is an ever expanding concern as more and more Australians are experiencing limitations and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. I know in my early social work days visiting the homes of the aged and infirmed there were people living on bananas and fresh air and the occasional tin of cat food. That was back in the 1980s and while some of the food choices were due to mental health and low income the fundamental systems problem was these people had been functioning for so long out of the health and social service systems, they were unable to find their way back. The systems hadn’t noticed they were missing. This is my fear with climate mitigation, management and adaptation – that there will be more and more people falling through the gaps – unable to untangle their way through an elite group.

The unsophisticated sharing table at a community workshop I was involved in delivering during the week will one day be a shining light of generosity and sign of wealth that the produce from a household garden has enough to be shared. This is something I hope my grandson will be able to be radical in abundance, and an aspiration for action to others. The household garden may well become the most powerful protection and community building asset in his generation. Then, there are the lessons to learn from the land from Aboriginal peoples in native foods … learning about the landscape and what is in season, what can be stored and when to harvest … are all lessons waiting to be discovered … and we need to get a hurry on. As the photo shows below the pandemic is on the wall, but it is the foreground that food and the future await

Sharing Table, City of Onkaparinga, Food Systems Mapping Workshop, 10 August 2021

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