Wednesday, April 18, 2007

would you like climate change with that?

what we learned at YF Camp!

Akin to the world's leaders current preoccupation, much of YF Camp was spent discussing climate change, what it means and our response to it. Whilst we can't personally do much about factory or agricultural emissions that doesn't mean we can't lead the way within our own community. We came up with (amongst others) the following Minute:

To Yearly Meeting, we strongly advocate and offer our assistance to the formation of an Aotearoa NZ Testimony to Sustainability and the Earth. We also call for the development of YM policies on sustainable codes and practices in Quaker buildings, gatherings and events. We ask that time be allocated to these issues at Yearly Meeting 2007.

We've also established our own Climate Change group, started work on guidelines towards improving the sustainability of our own YF Camps (both this YF Camp and the last Summer Gathering have been carbon neutralised as best we can), started discussions on possible future sustainable property options and made some headway with an article on the sustainable codes we're asking YM for (working on which is on my 'to do' list...).

Several YFs went away from Camp determind to reduce their carbon footprints by reducing the amount of meat they eat, if not cutting it out altogether. Sarah and Mim decided in the car home to combine the skills learned at Bridget's printing workshop with the climate change message (and Grace's catchy slogan!) - as Cat would say think it do it... the photo is above!

Living here with so much fresh fruit, eggs and veg around plus all the time I need for baking my own bread and making meals from scratch it would be easy to get complacent about my dietary impact on the world. But my ricemilk comes from Australia in unrecyclable tetrapaks, chick peas are from heaven knows where, you can buy NZ grown lentils but I'm not sure if you can in Kaitaia yet, my tea and coffee are imported (albeit organic and fairly traded) and no matter how hard I try I still seem to use a fair number of products in unrecyclable packinging.

I don't drive, and still don't intend to learn (for many reasons including environmental) however there is only so far, and so often, I can get on the bike but I'm trying to keep to a minimum the number of extra journeys others have to make on my behalf - luckily for me the road to Ahipara is commonly used by those happy to give me a ride.

At camp we were urged to 'be patterns, be examples' on this issue, it's not so much a case of 'what canst thou say?' but what canst thou do?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

strange fruit

Apologies to anyone who was getting worried... I'm ok! Just managing to get a few other things ticked off my to do list now I've actually got more hours in the day than things I have to do to fill it rather than visa versa. No chance of me getting bored though - lots to photograph (even though I've yet to figure out how to upload them given this machine sulks and turns off if you use the usb port...), ooodles of great books to read, my quilting stuff arrives tomorrow and there's the garden, chooks and Cammi to look after....

Having lived in this country now for 18 months and been visiting for over 3 years the number of occassions when it hits me hard that I'm a comer-in rather than a local had been gradually diminishing. Until I got here when everything stepped back up a gear. Ok, so how do you know when a tamarillo is ripe? (and then what do you do with them?!), what about figs (I've only ever eaten them dried!), guavas - both red and yellow, persimons (spelling?), and how come limes turn yellow? The apples I can cope with, mandarins I got used to in Wellington but the rest of the fruit I'm far more used to seeing on the greengrocers shelves - if there!

The chickens are having to put up with just getting their coop moved as far as I can pull in one go rather than the distance they should be but that's getting further each day. I've not (yet) fallen off the bike and John fixed it to the right height for me rather than the basketball player height M&Q's spare was set at (my elbow has healed over now, but the bruise on my bum from where the sadle hit me is still a corker!).

YF Camp is already feeling like a distant memory, yet it was only a week ago that we started heading north from Wanganui round the Taranaki coast to Auckland. It's almost two weeks now since I left Wellington behind with GFH now in Alan & John's capable hands. It feels like there ought to be lots of reflection going on about the last 18 months, and the months to come, but right now I'm happily content living in the moment, taking each day as it comes and enjoying simply being here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

mission accomplished, over and out

well, almost.

By the end of YF Camp it really did feel like time to hang up my boots as a YF. Not for any negative reasons, I had a great time and felt very much a part of things - in fact I was possibly the only one there who had met every single one of the 52 present before. But 20 years of YF events (even with a long break part way through!) is I feel enough. Not only that but I got a sense by the end of Camp that Aotearoa New Zealand Young Friends Meeting had really found it's feet. Sure I'll carry on helping support the Committee, but from the sidelines.

Leaving Wellington had a similar feel on the YF front, there are others who will make sure YFs meet regularly between the monthly SOYFA evenings, there are others who will make sure no-one drifts off and gets lost unwittingly. I'm not able to say the same about the rest of the Meeting, that I feel I left with a long way to go and no real sense of how what is needed can happen, but at least some things are being talked about openly that haven't really been addressed for some time if at all.

Having shifted now from Te Ūpoko o Te Ika to Te Hiku o Te Ika a Maui - from the head of the fish to the tail of the fish of Maui (ie North Island - confusingly the tail is at the top!) there are new opportunities, new challenges, a new mission?