So much to do

The last few blogs have concentrated on our natural world mainly trees. But if we want a future for our planet and especially for our island we need to do a lot more. I am very aware of noise and air pollution as I live by a main road with bus stops outside my flat. Very handy when you want to use the bus but annoyingly noisy and smelly when you don’t. When I moved here I did not know how much traffic uses this road, buses, lorries delivering to the shops a bit further down and many cars including the cars owned by young men who try to make them as noisy as possible.

There was a lot of small industries here in the years past, shoemaking and brickmaking and many other small industries. The stream at the bottom of our garden was often polluted according to the locals but apart from shopping trolleys and rubbish dumped in it, it seems quite clear. It runs into a large lake system in the nearby valley. (Nene Valley). Recently the lakes and rivers have been flooded and this of course pollutes them with the runoff from the land some of which is still farmed.

Water pollution is high on the list of things that need to change but nobody seems to want to invest in the machinery which can clean the water. The water companies prefer to give their shareholders lots of money instead.

I recently got an email about a Peoples Plan for Nature. I downloaded their ‘brochure’ and found it extremely interesting. It states the following:

‘The People‚Äôs Plan for Nature is a UK-wide initiative powered by the National Trust, the RSPB and WWFUK. It is a unique collaboration with the UK public to protect and restore
nature in the UK.’

It makes interesting reading and I hope that some of it’s ideas become reality. There is a long way to go but we must keep trying and fighting for our natural world, all of it.

Wildlife gardening and hedges

Hedges are another natural growth that are being destroyed like trees in the name of progress and new houses. In my previous home I had a large old hawthorn hedge separating my garden from the ones at the back. It was around 9 feet high, 3 feet deep and about 18 feet long. It was wonderful! The birds loved it and made nests in it and the chorus of their singing could be heard down the road. I miss it but I have compensations where I live now. I live in a block of flats, one of six and we have lots of grass around us and a stream running along the bottom. Many of the residents have tiny borders with flowers and shrubs and some grow veggies in pots and bags. I have a small patch of garden about 12 feet by 2 feet and this is good. I also have lots of pots and grow veggies in bags sitting on a pallet. This morning I saw a muntjac running along by the top of stream.

My aim with the garden patch was to attract bees and butterflies as well as dragonflies from a pond over the back. So plants were put in that attracted bees, verbena, rudbeckias, heleniums and many others. I also have spring bulbs and plants like cowslips. Last year it was buzzing with bees and a lot of different butterflies made visits. My son and I also took over a wild patch and planted it with wild flower seeds. It was good last year but promises even more this year.

You too can have some wild flowers or flowers that attract bees in your garden. But what if you only have a small patio or balcony. You would be surprised what you can grow in pots! You can also now buy packets of wild flower seeds and kits for planting which include pots and compost. Watching the bees and trying to identify them can give you great joy. There are many different bees but I like the buff tailed ones best.

If we are going to lose trees to housing developments (see previous blog) then we all need to do something to make sure we can provide places for the bees, butterflies and other insects. In a small garden you can also get frogs. Because I could not have a pond in my last place, I bought a small kit that came with a bowl, compost and a few plants. This did well and the birds loved it too.

What can you do to help the environment?

Walk your talk

Lots of phrases go with ‘walk your talk’, such as ‘actions speak louder than words’. I have sat on lots of committees over the years and watched and listened as many ideas were put forward. ‘Let’s do this then’ was often spoken but when it came down to it, nothing happened because although the words were sincerely meant, the actions did not follow. People make promises that they have no intention of keeping and I find this very sad.

Looking at our world today I see many promises being made, actions promised but all of this never arrives. Governments make promises to help other countries but the aid or money never arrives. Seeing what is going on currently in our world, really bad storms, floods, earthquakes and war and then seeing all the adverts for giving aid makes me think that it is mainly the ordinary man or woman who does the helping.

I have ‘friends’, not sure they are really friends as they talk about being organic and loving the earth and understanding what is needed then they go off on holiday across the world and tour in a gas guzzling vehicle. To me that is not walking your talk. I don’t profess to only eat organic food as I find it hard to get at times but I do try to buy fair trade clothes when I can. I also try to help others less fortunate not necessarily with giving them money but by helping them to find ways to live better and where they can go for help like the food bank.

I’d love to go abroad but the thought of my carbon footprint makes me think that it is better to stay in the UK. There are some wonderful places to visit and some amazing nature to walk through so why fly abroad? Last summer it was hotter here than in Spain and is likely to be the same this year so foreign holidays are not needed if you only want to go for the sun. How do you walk your talk?

Looking forward

Our government has produced an environmental improvement plan. Very ambitious but full of flaws. The government intends to make the environment better and leave it in a state that is much improved from when they took over. One of the items that interested me was about river and stream pollution. ‘The environment secretary has said the UK government is taking urgent action to reduce sewage discharges into rivers and the sea in England. George Eustice unveiled a plan to curb pollution from the “most damaging” storm overflows by 75% by 2035, and 80% of all discharges by 2050.’ 2035 is over 10 years away. Why can’t it be sooner? Are they afraid of the companies that pollute our streams and rivers? The damage done by polluted rivers is enormous and has been a problem for many years.

Another interesting statement is this one ‘every household in England will be within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water, with the Government committing to restoring 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat and 400 miles of river.’ Really. If we are to be within 15 minutes of a green space then a lot of buildings will have to disappear. If only this could happen soon it would be wonderful to only have to walk for 15 minutes to a nice open green space. The green spaces I know within a 15 minute walk are often covered in litter and dog poo so not a nice place to walk or even sit for a while.

Words are easy to say but promises hard to put in place. It has become a well known fact that being outside in woods and green places is good for mental health. Maybe those in power are understanding this but promises to change things need to be followed by action.

On another note there are several signs of the coming Spring around us. I have seen lots of hazel catkins, snowdrops, dwarf irises and crocuses and the willows are starting to show their catkins too. The birds are eyeing each other up and starting their mating dance routines which can be quite funny to watch! There are some things that never change and I for one, would not want to see them change. So let’s keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff.

January thoughts

It is frosty, cold and sunny outside so I am staying inside and trying to keep warm. I am lucky that I can do this but there are many who cannot afford to heat their homes. I do feel very tired though and like many others who do a lot of spiritual and healing work, I need a break from this. This year is in numerology terms a 7 year. For me the number 7 has always meant a time to go inside and learn about yourself and who you really are and what you are here on this planet to do.

The year did not start well as I had rather a lot of technology problems but they seem to have been sorted apart from one which is not so important. However although my body resists walking far, my brain is working overtime some days. This means I have been able to do local history research and write it up. I have managed to finish two projects this last couple of weeks and am now waiting for record offices to help me to move on with other projects. I find this kind of work quite fulfilling. It is social history of course, and I can see how little the world has actually changed regarding how people live despite technology and higher wages. There are still many who do not have enough money to live on, just as there were many years ago. We no longer have workhouses though which is a good thing.

There are still wars going on and many dying through this and through other disasters. If our climate is changing as it seems to be then there will be more refugees and more deaths. Are we ready to deal with this or are we going to refuse to help when needed? If parts of the world become inhabitable then people will more elsewhere to somewhere they can live safely and find food. If we don’t think about how we live and change as needed then in a few more decades we may not be here as our world will not provide what we need. What do you think about this?

Winter

It really has seemed like winter time this last couple of weeks. I went out with my son on Thursday to a local country park. Both lakes were frozen over, one totally and the other about 3/4s so the poor swans and ducks were stuck to one part of the lake which was not frozen. It was bitterly cold but the sun was shining. I love these kind of days but I do not like the dark mornings and evenings. However the Winter Solstice is almost here.

Once we get to the winter solstice I feel much better. I know the light is returning and it will be lighter in the mornings and evenings. For me it is my new year. But there are many other things to think about. The weather is changing today and going from 1 degree to 11 or more. Climate extremes but why? There are many who say there is no such thing as climate change. There has always been climate change but it seems to have changed for the worse over the last few years. There are things we can do to slow the changes down but no-one seems to want to do anything.

In this country many are struggling to pay bills, to buy food and to stay warm. What sort of country is this? How has it got to this? And what are we going to do about it? I feel lucky that I have enough for me, I am warm, fairly warm at least, and have clothes and food. I am able to help a less well off neighbour and can help in other ways too. But it should not be like this. If we imagine how we want our world to be, how we are all equal and work together in peace and respect, if we can imagine this each day then maybe if enough of us do this, it will actually happen. Be the world you want to be.

Happy holidays to all my readers.

Attitudes and understanding

Today I went to my local shop to collect a few items I needed. I spent some time outside the shop talking to the young woman who sells the Big Issue. There are often some very important articles in it and this week in particular there were some articles which raised a lot of discussion. I have noticed that the regulars know her name and she knows their names too. But as we chatted she told me about one woman who comes past every week, takes a photo of her and tells her she is begging and should get a job. There is obviously a lack of understanding about those who sell the Big Issue. I had hoped that this type of attitude was long gone but it is still here obviously.

I don’t often talk about my early years or being a parent as there were some very painful times. I remember well trying to feed and clothe my very young children after a nasty divorce. Divorce then was difficult. You had to prove or/and have witnesses before any judge considered you could have a divorce. This was over 50 years ago! Times have changed but I remember having a boss who thought I should not be working because of the children.

So I have a great deal of sympathy for those who are struggling to live a decent life and who are short of money and food and clothing. I was always told later during some training as a counsellor that you could only really understand how people feel when you have been in the same position. This is very true and I hope that the woman who keeps being nasty to the young Big Issue seller never finds herself in such a situation.

We think that things have changed over the years and attitudes to others are much better, but that is far from the truth. You only have to read the news to hear about racism, misogyny and ageism to know that things have not changed at all for the better.

A chaotic world

All around are the signs of chaos. I am really shocked at what is going on around us. What happened to common sense and reasoned thought? You can’t just flip from one thing to another without hurting someone or something. There are so many important things going on in our world that need to be dealt with sooner rather than later or there will be no later. Yet people dance around each other thinking things are funny when so many people are suffering not just here in my country but elsewhere in the world. All life is suffering, trees, birds, insects etc are all in decline.

We have had extreme heat over the summer, now torrential rain has arrived. There are so many signs that our climate is changing yet nothing is happening to help us to find solutions. In fact, those in power are making things worse by allowing new coal mines, new oil and gas offshore drilling and fracking. When are people going to realise that we have to change the way we live, the way we build our homes and the way we travel, grow food etc. If we carry on as we are doing then in a few decades time we will all be gone.

I used to believe that spirit would not allow our world to disintegrate but I find it hard to believe that now. It comes back to hope. We have to have hope or we have nothing. I’m sure I wrote this last week but things have got much worse since then. Is what is happening a sign that all we know will disappear and a new world miraculously emerge? If so how do we help that new world to emerge? I remember writing that we could imagine a better world and keep that image foremost but I am beginning to feel that we need to do more. But what? Do you have any answers or suggestion?

Coping with difficult times

Many of us are going through difficult times and also times which may get even more difficult. My difficult time is really about my mobility and my physical health but this also applies to many others as well. As many of my readers know I am now 81 and have mobility problems which vary from day to day. After doing very little during the hot weather I decided that I needed to walk more either using my elbow crutch or using my walker/rollator. I made a decision to walk every day even if only half a mile. The first few days were fine but then I chose a different route which went up a hill. Where I live, if you go off the main road you go uphill. This uphill was hard and I was out of puff when I go to the top but I found a different way back down. However the feeling of space at the top made up for the hard work getting there. The following day I went the other way and came down the steep hill. That was the straw that broke the camels back and my knees and ankles did not like this at all. So a decision is made now that I do not go up or down the steep hill but go the other way which is less steep. You could call this adjusting or adapting what I do.

I feel that adapting different ways of doing things or making little adjustments to how you do things can make a lot of difference. You can apply this to many other things, shopping, cooking and other what you could call household tasks. I look out for offers when shopping and have found that I can still buy good food but save money with offers.

There are other things that can prove difficult for many. Those on waiting lists to see consultants or have operations or treatment. This can mean a difference between life and death in some cases and some with savings are using those to get treatment. In the UK this should not have to be the way but lack of proper funding for our NHS has brought us to this position. How do you cope with the waiting? Some look for alternative treatment and this can work well for some illnesses, others sink into depression which only makes things worse. I really understand that staying hopeful is hard, very hard, and when I look at the state of the world I often feel that there is no hope for change but we have to have hope and we have to imagine our world as a better place however hard our lives are currently. Without hope there is nothing.

As a Reiki practitioner I know that working together is better than working singly. Thoughts are energy and if we all send out love to every person in the world at the same time on the same day I am sure things will change. If you believe in this then join me at 9pm UK time on Wednesday evenings when together with others we send out healing and positive energy to our world.

Are you ready?

There are a lot of changes on the way so are you ready for these? Are you prepared? It is much better if you have some idea of how to cope as the changes are then not such a shock.

The world we have known is falling apart and collapsing around us. Most of this is about material things but governments are not doing so well either and no-one in charge really seems to understand how important our planet is and how to protect it better. Humanity in the western world has always seemed to take things for granted. You want it and it is there for you. This will not happen for much longer and in many parts of the world it has never happened. We have just had one of the hottest summers on record with little or no rain, yet many still go on as before and do nothing about saving water in their daily use of it, still drive more than necessary and still fly on holidays abroad.

Many habitats have been destroyed by lack of or too much water in some cases. We can save water by using it sensibly so why don’t we? We can save electricity and gas by using it sensibly so again why don’t we? Do you need to wash your clothes every day? Do you throw away clothes after wearing them a few times and buy new ones? I still have clothes that are very old, like ten or more years old, but still wearable and I love wearing them. My mother taught me how to repair clothes so they are as new and I do this. Every little bit helps.

But one of the most important changes to come will be in how we treat others. We all come from the same source, we all have a spark of the divine and we are all equal in the eyes of Spirit. It is not just about us but about all of us. We need to make sure that we all have food to eat and clothes to wear and a roof over our heads. There should be no-one homeless anywhere. Homes should be built where they are safe and not likely to be swept away in a flood but we still build houses on flood plains.

The future seems uncertain but hold that vision of something for everyone living together in peace and working together to provide food and clothing for all. It will be different from now but it will be better. Hold that vision and stay strong!