Vision for a Sustainable world To-Do List
This is a note to myself.
Realise the small and enormous importance of human beings.
Find some place that makes your heart beat faster, with love. You can call that feeling biophilia if you like.
Go there as often as you can.
Control through your consumption.
Enjoying the beautiful abundance of not having everything
As you eat local food, in season, even if isn’t what your cookbook says to make.
Reduce, re-use, recycle.
If you write, grasp the pen so your knuckles turn white because you care what you are saying.
If you paint, immortalise places, because they are probably not immortal either.
If you sing, go sing loud into the ocean waves.
And if you garden, garden.
Plant flowers, in unlikely places, to feed the bees in unlikely places.
Find out the long-ago stories of where you live.
And tell them to yourself and others until they make sense to you.
Be kind to yourself because, sometimes, sustainability is far from reach
So grab it when it’s close by.
Remember that there is no such thing as away, when you throw things “away”.
Cry for something lost
And grow something new with those salty tears.
Make a path, by walking.
If something needs attention, pay attention
If something is not right, make it right
Imagine problems as if they are a river; go up up upstream to find their cause.
Wield all the power you have.
Tell someone when something is not okay
Tell them with letters,
and ballot papers
Wield a placard
Shout, and whisper.
Really deeply listen
Stretch the stories you know already past their immediate edges
Drink water from taps, not plastic bottles
Unless it will make you sick
Do something for the 1 in every 9 people whose water makes them sick
Ask if easy, really is easy.
Anywhere, plastic almost anything, is not easy.
Driving your car, alone, when there is another way there, is not easy.
Think of the future as at least a hundred thousand years from now
Do something, to knock down the fortress-like walls between so many of us and access to an education
Remember that the gap between your life and the life of a woman sleeping on your pavement is probably paper thin.
Find out what says “I love you”, and say it often (remember that story about undies, how nothing says I love you like a clean pair of undies)
Find what amazes you
And be amazed.
Remember, when you learned that the holes prairie dogs dig become pipelines for rainwater to meander back to earth.
Remember, as a child, when you scampered around ocean rockpools.
Remember your river, made of concrete, water and stories.
Remember forests of giant kelp, growing taller than you will ever be
And that expanse of grass trees on the mountaintop, where you sat and tasted sweet nectar from bright grevillia blossoms.
Be cautious with your power
Because you and your humans can murder rivers, and hide away the stars
You can turn ancient forests into dust, that runs too quickly through the old man’s fingers
as he cries.
You can take orchards, and make them into cavernous houses for lonely people to rattle around in.
Your bulldozers can in hours take away what took millennia to create.
Make it wrong for people to shoot people
Wrong to bomb people
To torture people
To strap hatred onto these bodies of ours for any reason
Make sure you make lives matter.
Tie imaginary orange ribbons around the precious things
Like the monks in Thailand actually do,
when they tear their own robes into pieces
And walk, barefoot, through threatened forests
Wrapping cloth around tree after tree to keep it safe.
If you notice ways to make things better
Make them better.
We are nothing without them.
Make checklists for a sustainable world
But make them on scrap paper, and only when you are ready to mark things off.