You can always tell when Autumn is really starting to take hold – the mushrooms and bracket fungi start to appear; the nights and mornings are chilly, and the days marked by beautiful clear blue skies (except for the odd inversion layer that traps any early morning fog and smoke over the city, like it did one day last week).
I love this time of year in Melbourne: The leaves are starting to change and my mind has turned to pruning and tidying up the garden before winter.
I’m a little hampered in what I can do at the moment (a prolapsed disk in my neck means I’m not allowed to carry anything heavier than 2lt of milk), so I’m hoping for lots of rain to make up for the buckets I won’t be carrying from the shower or washing machine. The pruning is something I can still do, and that will lead to putting in cuttings and a whole crop of new plants for sharing at Christmas time.
We’ve been inspired this year to do even more than we normally would in the way of homemade gifts, by a video called The Story of Stuff. In my opinion it should be mandatory viewing – especially in schools.
I think it will take a while for the message to percolate through our consumer society, so showing it to young children and helping them to understand that our planet has finite resources and finite waste storage will help them to assimilate the necessary changes in their thinking before they become wastrels. Understanding early that things are built to fall apart or that perfectly good designs are changed just to promote sales may help inform their choices in the future.
For the rest of us, changing our habits is the only choice. If we don’t, our planet simply won’t be able to support us, and the heralds of Autumn that bring such joy will be lost.
Personally, I know that it is hard to change. I’m known as the family ‘gadget-queen’ – I love technology, and am the first to learn how to program a new dvd/video recorder or buy a new widget for the kitchen. And I do love a bargain, but I also grow my own vegetables and make my own bread, preserves, pickles and jams. I sew and crochet; bind books and screen print. I love handmade food and gifts and try to re-use and recycle whatever I can. I know I can do more, but it is a start, and one I can build on.
That’s it – I’m off the soap box now. No more preaching…