Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting to work (or, undoing the fixing of carbon)

Planting trees fixes carbon, mulching fixes carbon, aerobic composting fixes carbon, buying op-shop clothes fixes carbon, growing your own food fixes carbon, reducing your plastic consumption fixes carbon, driving to work burns carbon.

On Tuesday I finished a job using stone age materials that I've been working on for the past several weeks. I drove about 40 minutes there and back every day until the job was done. Needless to say there was no public transport option.

Yesterday, I drove 25 minutes to Ballan, caught a train to Melbourne, then a tram to St Kilda to do a day's work painting at the Prince.

It seems all the good work we do in the garden, especially fixing carbon, is undone by the travel we are required to do to earn the income we need in order to survive.

Whereas all our changes have come about by first identifying the problem, then chipping away at it – such as a 75% reduction of plastics in our household waste, including bin liners (because we compost all food and liquid scraps) – transport for work is an ongoing dilemma. 

My work is part digital, and therefore requires little transport, and part light-industrial – building, painting, dry-stone walling, anything, you name it, I'll do it. I have had the idea for a while of buying a cargo bike and specialising in bikepentry (carpentry on a bike). I've even purchased the web address. But until that time as I can afford the bike I take what I can get and go to it.

In 1996, when John Howard came to power, followed shortly afterwards by George W Bush, the rich nations had the opportunity to be driving electric (therefore solar) powered cars. See the film Who Stole the Electric Car? I wonder whether 13 years of government-corporate support of these cars, as opposed to what really happened – government-corporate shafting – would have mitigated climate change enough to have avoided the severe weather conditions that caused the latest, never-before-seen fires in Victoria. Roll on with your Grand Prix Mr Brumby. Soon we will see a time where irresponsible politicians and corporates will be tried in a court of crimes against humanity (and other animals), having had the scientific evidence of climate change on their desks for decades, and choosing to ignore it.

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