This is a blog of the 31 things we will be doing in the month of January 2010 as part of our sustainable communities group. This post explains it all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

dried out like seed husks, tired out resting in the cool again

This reading was taken on the back lawn on Friday afternoon, admittedly not in the shade.

I still can't think of these last few days as normal, but apparently it's better for your ability to cope with change if you can start factoring it in as reality, rather than brace against it in denial.
One of our friends, Joel, at the Little House on the Plains wrote a piece about the weekend that summarises the way we're going to have to start thinking about summer in Adelaide from now on.

Part of me wants to keep outraged from day to day at the systems and individuals who are refusing to act on climate change while there's still time, and this part wants to catalogue our suffering as a form of protest. But another part doesn't want to be so rigid in my refusal to adapt that I end up living half the year in a state of dread, awaiting heatwaves, or sulking while they're on.

We are learning new skills and ways to cope with the increased frequency of extreme heat. The Little House people headed for the coast this weekend, and I too researched the public transport options and realised it's an easy busride from the end of our street all the way to Henley Beach. We could also get a train to Grange, or tram to Glenelg. We might have to factor this sort of thing into our daily routines in summer from now on. Over 35, head for the coast (or the Hilton).

I guess one of the early stages of grief is denial, and I am still in denial about the fact, not that this is happening, but that it's not an aberration. It's not going away.

Even so, I'm sick of suffering in protest. It makes me miserable.

There are some good and beautiful, strange and interesting things about these new days of extremely hot summer. If I can accept them as reality, I'll feel better, stronger, more in the moment, and better able to act to try to help mitigate the effects of climate change through community and activism.

A list of things about extreme heat that don't suck.
  • The light is amazing. I have taken several good-looking, light-saturated photos during these boiling days.
  • Realising we really are in Australia, not Europe - feeling more connected to the desertous regions of South Australia, now that it's harder to pretend we're in a different hemisphere.
  • Feeling connected to other arid cultures and their relationship to the landscape and climate, as well as customs and ways of coping.
  • Back to basics - shelter, water, looking after each other.
  • Plenty of solar energy.
  • Slow time - the pace of normal life isn't possible when it's 35 degrees inside, and 42 out.
  • Night walks and day dreams.
  • The crazy antics people get up to when the thermometre goes above a certain level - the party atmosphere that ensues.
  • We're all in this together - the sense of community and sharedness of the experience.
  • Worrying about the old folk neighbours - and being relieved when a light is seen under their door just when you were getting ready to "drop by".
  • Feeling close to the plants and other animals.
  • Anticipating and appreciating the cool change.
  • The resilience of tomatoes.
  • Coming up with new or borrowed rituals and customs - the parasol, for example. It makes SUCH a difference.
  • Rising to the challenge....

Thin slice of moon, dawn on Monday.

It definitely sucked last night when I was worried John had heatstroke. (I think it was actually from a cool change drink or two taken too early, coupled with the heat (it had been cool in the pub, but parts of our place were probably still about 40 degrees).)

And it sucked listening to the eery hot wind blowing around the house all day and hoping the cool change got here first before the threat of the new "catastrophic fire danger" category was realised.

It sucks because I am so afraid of how bad it might have to get for most of the species and people on earth before our governments do anything to curb the greenhouse effect, and because by the time they do anything it may be too late for many.

But we are developing a culture of coping, and caring, and I like that.

The old lady's house across the street at sunset.


  1. the beach is definitely the place to be.. we hung out there till sunday midday, and it was so bearable compared to town. loads of folks there camped out under the jetty with all the supplies needed for the day. so much nicer than being cooped up inside in the dark!

  2. You should come down to semaphore