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?

1 comment:

Martin said...

One way I've had my thinking challenged on food miles is this: is it better to eat strawberries (for example) imported from far-off warm place, or locally sourced ones that have a high carbon impact from being grown in heated polytunnels?

(I know, I know, the logical answer being to eat seasonal local food).

And are food miles a useful measure at all, when dealing with complex supply chains?

Finally, that cup of fairly traded coffee - is it a net positive thing to consume it, thus supporting small farmers (as opposed to global agribusinesses) in poor countries?

I'm not saying I'm disagreeing with you, nor that we should give up and do nothing, but it's a complex matter, with perhaps no simplistic solutions. And of course, they're some useful debate prompters for (say) a YF Camp...