Wednesday Vigils: Francesca

This is the first day after the election to continue our climate change vigil on Parliament lawn.
We decided to continue once a week on Wednesday to remind politicians and Jacinda in particular of her promise to declare a Climate Emergency and that we need to act because “ Climate Change is our generation’s nuclear moment.”

Sue Boyd and I, Francesca Pouwer, put our hands up to share a 10 to2pm vigil alternate weeks. Others will come in to support as they can.

This was my first time to be the one to take over the baton so to speak. If felt a bit lonely when I arrived on the lawn. Thankfully the constant rain had cleared and it was a beautiful blue day. I had also decided to make myself a new sign at Parliament and I came prepared with board and coloured pens. This helped me to get into the swing of taking on the responsibility to continue our vigil.

I have selected the following question to engage with the public and as a challenge to parliament.
How can a City be as generous as a Forest?

This question stayed with me from reading Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth.
It comes from one of the seven ways to think section Create to Regenerate. This question really challenges us to think of all the ways we can minimise waste. In other words, it requires our current civilisation to move from Take-Make-Use-Lose to a system that focuses on Regeneration, using green energy and resources that can be reused and repaired. It takes a mindset change! This is our challenge to the Government!!! To signify this Kate, myself and Diane sat on the other side of the Seddon Statue facing parliament. Kate had a sign around her neck saying: “C’mon Jacinda”. Diana held up “There is no Planet B!”
We need the Political Will for crucial changes to meet zero carbon by 2030 and to reimagine our way of life to save our oceans and all life in motion for future generations.
This need for Political Will was also pointed out in Last week’s New Scientist 17 10 2020 articles on THE OTHER GLOBAL CRISIS that is ramping up after Corona. Hereby some salient points from one article Climate’s Make or Break year by Adam Vaughan (pp.34 – 39).
“..the wider world has the technology and the tools to halve the emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. …. Governments need the political will, and businesses, which will pay for a lot of it, will be vital. Economic shifts well under way, such as the falling price of renewable energy and batteries, will make some decisions easy. Citizens meanwhile, who can only do so much by insulating their homes or buying an electric car, need to pressure their political representatives, in writing, in election, and when necessary on the street.”
There we have it. We need to keep going.
And “the biggest change we see from climate change is on temperature, and there climate is an absolute game-changer,” according to Friederike Otto at the University of Oxford.
We in New Zealand have the highest emissions from agriculture plus car use in the OECD. A member of Tramsaction, who dropped by today highlights the fact that our Transport system is sorely lacking. He talked to us about how Light Rail has a narrow-gauge and it is absolutely the right choice for extending our public transport and that it is faster than current rail carriages. Yet the new carriages ordered for Johnsonville line were not light rail.” If they were” he argued” it would be easy for the tracks to be continued into the city so you could stay on the same train”. He stressed that the government and the city council need to ensure efficiency, reduce time travel and cost in order for the public to move en-mass to public transport. “I am ashamed to admit that I used the car to get to work because of the time it took to get there.” Is what he said. He was off to parliament to hand deliver a letter about the need for light rail. He wanted to make sure it got attention. He came back a bit later that he needed to use free post. It is no longer possible to hand deliver our plights.
Other visitors echo the concern that we as individuals can only do so much. A retired couple from Whakatane responded with” We have to keep posing the question (to government) I suppose.”
Another comment from a couple from the Bay of Plenty said: “Jacinda has no excuse now. This government has to come up with the changes. Not for us, it’s for our children that they need to do this for.”
Later on, an elderly man in his eighties called out: “I agree with what you are doing but… There is always a BUT isn’t there?” He came down from the steps and continued,
” I think it is too late. We have all been too greedy and it’s all about money. You won’t change that”
Violet, who was supporting over lunch, countered with “But it’s not all of us. I hold the oil companies responsible….. And we are in this economy and only have a few choices. We can’t easily make the changes!!!”
“Well yes”, said our visitor, “I cannot blame you for trying. But it is not for me. I have had my life. .. we here are the lucky ones. My children might be affected, well not so much them but my grandchildren, they will be the ones to see the changes. So yeh, I suppose we should still try.”
“Yes,” I thought, “if the world were to end tomorrow, I will still plant a tree today.”
We also had a visit from a large group of Raumati South Primary School children. They did a parliament tour and were sent out to do a quiz around parliament afterward. I asked one of the teachers what she thought of the question on my placard: How can a city be as generous as a forest?
“It‘s very interesting. I think I will ask the kids this question sometime.”
I hope she will.
In the meantime, I heard several kids trying to read the sign out loud while they sat having their lunch under the big Pohutukawa on the lawn. One of them was stumbling over the word ‘generous’. So, I read it out to him and asked if he knew what it meant. He came forward a few steps,
“Yes, it’s what people do, give things. Also, we should not cut trees!”
Once the quiz started a group came right up to the Seddon statue to read the sign. A few of them started looking at me holding my placard. And then one boy said:
“Are you poor?” with a disbelieving look on his face.
“No, I am not asking for money. I am asking you to think. Have a look what the sign says.”

But really, if we do not take this question seriously, our precious Papatuanuku and all life on it will be much impoverished. I hope David Goldsmith is right when he responded on WhatsApp:
“Love, love, love the sign! Beautiful question that could go on resonating in people’s mind.”
But I want it specially to keep resonating in the minds of our politicians and mayor businesses.

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Vigil Day 97

Mental Health on Parliament’s Lawn

I’ve been back on the lawn now for 5 days and haven’t done any blogs or social media posts. I’ve enjoyed very much my partner Julie and our 4 year old daughter Hana being with me for 3 of these last 5 days. They returned to Christchurch on Friday.

Many of you who are engaged with the climate and ecological crisis will also be familiar with struggles similar to myself, with low mood, anxiety or despair. For me, it is hard to single out a single, dominant cause. Mental health seems to have so many levers attached to it, some more significant levers and other more minor levers. One example of a mood “lever” is if I’m feeling low, just trimming my beard or having a haircut usually helps me feel significantly better.

A big feature of low mood for me is also feeling very overwhelmed: completely swamped by expectations, unmet duties, unfinished tasks. Feeling overwhelmed I fall into being less and less productive, and so progressively feel even worse.

I went through a period after my 21 day hunger strike of feeling significantly low and unproductive. Again, it is difficult to identify all the levers behind my post hunger strike low mood: it could have been part of the transition back to eating from fasting for that length of time. One fascinating observation I have from hunger striking is that my emotions were very quiet and stable when I wasn’t eating, and then returning to eating was like the furnace of emotions in my belly was lit up again. Equally, my low mood post hunger strike may have had significant cause in losing the very clear engagement and focus I had while hunger striking.

Anyhow, the last time I returned to Parliament’s lawn (on Rick’s 20th and final day of hunger strike), there was an immediate lift in my mood by returning to the lawn. It felt deeply right to be there for Rick’s last hunger strike day, and Rick’s very tender and still presence was a privilege to be with. I do think hunger striking enables the more noble side of ourselves (that everyone has in their own unique way) to shine more brightly and I was soothed by that day sitting in Rick’s shining presence.

In the following few days I remained on the lawn that week, I remember feeling somewhat lonely and sad at times. Sad because the hunger strikes and vigil were reaching an end (the decision to continue the vigil to the election was only made later that week) and lonely because I was alone on the lawn for much of the mid week and also alone in the evenings at Viard House. However, feeling sad or feeling lonely isn’t the same as the despondent flatness I experience in what I’m calling “low mood”. There is a poignancy in loneliness and sadness, that still feels alive and connected to love and caring. Whereas what I’m describing as “low mood” is more akin to despondency, even despair; it is a more lifeless, trapped and disconnected feeling.

So, my most recent stint on the lawn was overall a very enlivening and supportive experience. This was also significantly helped by a wonderful final day on the Friday. A larger than expected turnout came to Fridays for Future and the XR roadshow finale event. It was a joyful day of reunions and new connections.

In the few days prior to returning to Wellington this time, I was falling again into those familiar feelings of overwhelm and “low mood”. I’m remembering too irritability, sometimes a short fuse with Julie and Hana that feels ugly and shameful to admit. All part of the multi-levered, stuck and tangled knot of “low mood”. So, it was good to leave the complexity of home duties and expectations in Christchurch, come to Wellington with Julie and Hana and have quality time together: on Parliament’s lawn with light duty 4 hour days, exploring the city together and resting at Island Bay in the generous and loving hospitality of Francesca and Dolf.

However, returning to Parliament’s lawn for this final stint (final for this particular action, I do hope to return again in future), did not entirely lift my recently returned low mood. I’ve been enjoyed very much the precious quality time with Julie and Hana and experienced also some returning clarity of mind by sitting on the lawn. But the shadow of unmet duties and unfinished tasks has remained present, albeit a lighter, less overbearing presence. My “low mood” has still been nipping at my heels and its nipping is more debilitating than enabling!

So we come to Vigil Day 97: it’s Saturday and I set up on Parliament’s lawn just after 10am. Kieran joins me shortly, carrying a yellow ukulele and his motorized skateboard with part of its underneath workings hanging off: “It’s brains fell out on the way here” Kieran announces cheerfully, and then after Kieran’s “How are you?” elicits a “I’m a little low” from me, he announces “We’re going to give a concert!” An audience of zero and any low mood objections from me are obviously irrelevant!

Kieran sets himself up on Molly’s folding plastic stool and tunes up his ukulele. We take turns at choosing songs. Gradually I warm to the experience, although some of the songs Kieran chooses I barely or simply don’t know, choosing songs in turn means there are some I’m familiar with. One of my early choices, Neil Young’s “Old Man”, we didn’t do so well. I’d have liked to have sung it better while thinking of my own Dad: despite my fraught relationship with him, now looking in the mirror I see him. Even hunger striking I see some of my Dad’s passion for crazy ideas! “Old Man look at my life, I’m a lot like you were . . ”

Two middle aged guys, mostly singing badly, to nobody: yet I notice a gradual shift in myself, a thawing of the heart, a relaxing of self consciousness. Kieran does a passable impression of Tom Waits singing Time: “. . the wind is making speeches and the rain sounds like a round of applause . .” Wellington weather is actually being kind today, sunshine and little wind. I join the chorus with growing enthusiasm “And it’s time, time, time; And it’s time, time, time; And it’s time, time, time that you love; And it’s time, time, time”. Our singing, while it never becomes entirely in tune or on time, it does improve and our renditions of Leonard Coen’s Hallelujah and John Lennon’s Imagine were occasionally alright. Yeah!

Interspersed with this impromptu, unrehearsed performance is small conversations with occasional passers by and longer, deeper conversation with each other. I confess to Kieran that I have not yet read the 4,000 words he wrote (in a single evening) back in July for “The Homework” page on this website. This is quite a shameful admission, it is one of the unfinished tasks lost in my overwhelm soup. My admission triggers Kieran a bit also as he is such a powerhouse of support for the vigil and hunger strikers, this website, kea forum (Kieran’s discussion forum on discourse), “Imagine my Relief” podcast, interviews, videos, animations etc, etc. “Shit man, what do I have to do to get people to look at the stuff I do? Nobody is listening!” It’s ok, we are comfortable with each other; this is a good, honest moment. I promise (as much a promise to myself as a promise to Kieran) that I will “read at least half of “The Homework” tonight”. I don’t know how Kieran achieves a fraction of the vast array of his climate related work, combined with a real job at Weta workshop. Does he ever sleep? Obviously not much!

It has been a good day. Shortly after midday, preparations begin near us for the arrival of a gentleman who has walked from Tauranga carrying a small pink coffin, a hikoi to protest legal liberalization of abortion. While we don’t share the kaupapa, we are respectful and friendly and receive in kind. Kieran and I decide to vacate our space in front of King Dick, to avoid any confusion and to give the visitors space. We move with our placards to one of the nearby bench seats. It is close to 3pm when we eventually pack up for the day and go in search of an open café for coffee and further conversation.

Later I catch the number 1 bus to return to Island Bay. As the bus turns from Lambton Quay onto Hunter Street, suddenly the bus is surrounded on both sides of the street by climate protestors! WTF, why didn’t I know about this! I search the protestors faces for someone I recognise. Nobody. It seems to take ages before the bus reaches the next stop. I jump off, phoning Kieran (who I’d seen walking in the same direction carrying his brain injured scooter). No answer from Kieran, I leave a voice message and walk briskly back to the protest. Now nobody is there, only two technicians, one of them packing up a smoke machine on a trolley. I approach him and get the rest of the story: yes it was a film set and they are filming an ad “for the Government” about the need for action on climate change! I look forward to seeing it.

Into the small hours that evening I read all the 4,000 words Kieran has written, do minor edits/corrections and write larger edits for parts of the section Kieran wrote on the “seven homework points” from my whiteboard (this minor editing work was the reason I had been avoiding reading Kieran’s 4000 words), somehow losing all my editing and rewriting it. Then I follow up some of the afternoon’s conversation with Kieran by watching the latest podcast from “Image my Relief”, https://imaginemyrelief.blog/2020/09/14/ending-oil-and-gas-dependency/ (a link to a 52 minute video of Dr Terrance Loomis talking about the predatory delay behaviour of oil companies in response to the climate and eco-crisis, see also http://www.terrenceloomis.ac.nz/latest-publication.html ).

Somehow, today has pulled the right levers of my tangled “low mood” knot. My low mood has lifted (for now) and I’m engaging in some productive action.

Half way through writing this blog (written off and on through Sunday, the following day), I discover that Vigil Day 97 was also World Mental Health Day. Is there something bigger than all of us that sometimes we tap into, sometimes entering a flow of existence? Or are these serendipitous coincidences just the Universe blowing a kiss. I don’t know, but sometimes I feel low and sometimes I feel engaged, connected and alive.

Whatever state I’m in, it is all an incredible miracle; at once both fragile and robust.

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Vigil Day 84

David has committed to returning on the 5th of October to carry the vigil through to the 2020 Election. In the meantime the locals are keeping the vigil. I was there for the week: the picture you see there was three lads from Wales who were on a mission to the human pyramid pictures at important places. I took the pic for them but insisted on a shot by the signs in return.

The weather bomb can to us on Sunday. Caz and Francesca were there for the day. Caz and I were late (daylight saving!) but we picked up a load of wind and rain.

Both days included plenty of talks about climate change with passers-by. That sign on the right “Support farmers, support regenerative farming” does a lot of heavy lifting for us – it starts more conversations than any other.

One guy pointed to the row of signs and said “Which one do you support?”. I pointed out that they were all tied together, I put them up and was there on my own. I them talked about the way politicians and industries create the rural urban divide to over-simplify and destroy any constructive conversations about complex problems.

Thanks to the local crew: Mick, Molly, Francesca, Caz and Sue will be keeping the vigil this week, as they have done across the last 84 days. So proud to be with you all.

— Kieran

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Vigil Day 82

E Tū for Future and Fridays for Future were joined at Parliament today by:
•Extinction Rebellion (XR) roadshow
•XR Toddlers (my personal favourite)
•James Shaw (briefly)
•Jessica Hammond (TOP candidate for Õhāriu)

I estimate about 80 people altogether gathered with us today.

It was a special day: wonderful reunions with people who supported Tim and I over our month long stint here, plus meeting new people who’ve become involved over the 6 weeks I’ve been home recovering in Christchurch.

We ate cake to celebrate Florry’s 1st birthday.

Jessica Hammond and I fought back tears together while wondering how we can face our children when considering the future we’re leaving them.

I can’t say how much it means to speak with a politician and feel they really get it. Sadly, it would take a miracle to get TOP in parliament, but if your electorate is Õhāriu please consider giving Jessica your candidate vote.

Sue Boyd and James Shaw

It was really good of James Shaw to spend a short time with us today. I’d dearly love to have a real conversation with him however. Maybe that can still happen sometime soon.

David with Rick on his 20th day of hunger strike.

Rick Williment ended his 20 day hunger strike on Tuesday (vigil day 79). Congratulations Rick.

Poignant moment: Rick departs the lawn with his partner, ending his 20 day hunger strike.
Rick being interviewed on camera by Newshub today.

One big disappointment for us recently has been the complete lack of any media coverage of Rick’s 20 day hunger strike. So, today it was exciting to see him getting media attention at last, being interviewed on camera by Newshub. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any sign of his interview being published at all by Newshub.

We’ve had 6 hunger strikers over a total of 69 days of hunger striking! Today was the 82nd day of our daily vigil at Parliament . . So what now for E Tū for Future?

I was expecting today would be the end of our inaugural E Tū for Future action here at Parliament (I’m returning home to Christchurch tomorrow). However, despite their weariness after 82 days of supporting vigil and hunger strikes, a core group of Wellington supporters have stepped up and committed to keeping up our daily vigil until I’m able to return on Tuesday 6th October.

From Tuesday 6th October, I’ll then keep daily vigil at Parliament until the election. Our action continues!

Thank you everyone for your loving support.

A huge thank you especially to those of you who, like a flock of geese, are stepping up then swapping out of the lead roles, keeping E Tū standing.

💚 David

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Vigil Day 81

E Tū signage facing Parliament for first time.

I moved to temporarily facing parliament this morning to allow TOP to announce their climate change policy in front of King Dick. I think this is the first time in our 81 day vigil that our signage faced Parliament!

TOP announce their climate change policy

I was really impressed by the TOP climate change korero from both Jessica Hammond (candidate for Õhāriu) and Geoff Simmons (leader). The only major critique I’d give is complete absence of discussion of need for economic degrowth with banning fossil fuel. Now that is a really inconvenient truth for politicians.

You can watch the TOP climate change policy announcement here: https://m.facebook.com/topnz/videos/1522221264616695/

I did have a one-on-one discussion with Geoff Simmons about the obvious need for degrowth when we ban fossil fuels. He was amiable and seemed open minded.

Order is restored!

It wasn’t long before I was able to occupy the familiar position and orientation! And it also wasn’t long before I was again alone.

It is very quiet in front of Parliament these days. Politicians are busy politicking, and our local E Tū supporters are taking time to recover/ give attention to their normal lives, after their huge effort supporting 69 days of hunger striking.

I admit to feeling a little lonely and sad at times, here keeping up the E Tū for Future vigil. It is feeling like this inaugural E Tū action is winding down and possibly coming to a close.

I’m very grateful that the Catholic Church are accommodating me again in Viard House. It is familiar, very comfortable and extremely convenient being immediately across the road from Parliament.

However, even at Viard House, I am aware of feelings of loneliness and some sadness. It is like returning to the vibrant scene of a party, only everyone has left and nothing feels the same.

My tonic for these sad feelings is to think of the huge achievement of everyone here: 6 hunger strikers over 69 days of hunger striking, 81 continuous days of vigil. Wonderful people supporting all if this. I’m thinking of everyone involved and feeling very appreciative, feeling all the love.

💚 David

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Vigil Day 80

It is a wet and windy day today after a sunny (and windy) day yesterday. It is great to be back occupying the foot of King Dick’s monument. It was especially a privilege to spend yesterday with Rick, his 20th and final day hunger striking. Rick was very tender, emotional at times, open hearted; clearly already deeply moved by the crisis we all are facing and feeling it even more through the hunger strike process.

I sent a message hoping that Rick’s refeeding is going well and below is the response I received:

Dear David!
I’m thinking of you there today in the wild wet turbulence!
I broke my fast with so much joy and relief yesterday afternoon. An apple. A dried apricot! And in the evening I had a plate of asparagus and beans and carrots and courgette even though they aren’t in season, and avocado with cashew nuts even though they aren’t local. And actually I wept again and strongly. For the relief of it being over, for the privilege of having such foods, for those who don’t. I don’t think I’m a sentimental person. My heart is very open to those on the front lines of these climate/industrial-addiction-fuelled catastrophes 🙏🏻
Deep gratitude to you David, and to Ollie before you, and to all your courageous hearts. Thank you to all of us for standing up. E Tū!!!

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E Tū vigil, day 78. Rick’s hunger strike day 19

Tomorrow I am an eating person again. That is so exciting. I feel great appreciation for the fact of food. For the privilege of eating food.

And I don’t want to be sentimental or seen as sentimental – (I can’t use the word ‘but’ here – so, yet/and/ as well as), my heart and mind go to those who can’t eat what they need to eat. Some such at home here in unevenly wealthy Aotearoa. And everywhere else.

My hunger strike is ending and my energy reserves are getting lower. I’m living within my means, energy- wise, because there’s no choice. The thought occurs ‘if we might embrace that principle’ in our society.

I appreciate the care I’ve been given by the E Tū team, Kieran, Molly, Sue, Caz, Rachel, Kate, Hiro, Mick. The Fridays for Our Future group have held this vigil for a long time. So many days of dedication. Often unacknowledged. A deep bow to you all. And thank you.

My friends and whānau and the very many who’ve come to be with me, and those who couldn’t but have held me with love and care. I am grateful.

We live in fundamental liberty, pretty much, I think. Liberty to eat (though plenty go hungry), to drink clean water, to speak truth, to love another, to counter government. Basic liberties that aren’t assured in many parts of our world. And willingly surrendering our liberty is a strong statement, then. To go to prison or to risk going. To stop eating because we are literally stealing life from other species, from every generation ahead.

I am thinking of this as gifting liberty.

Gifting liberty

With love all around it

I rarely discuss this. The topic of sacrifice. The associations with guilt, masochism, posturing. Maybe I’ll try poetically.

These times do call us, I think, to reach deep, to show up, to be seen

To have our voice heard as powerfully as we can

We are in serious trouble

There is no happy ending

So, gifting liberty through sacrifice

(out of love, grief, and rage perhaps)

Is one (noble) response

Mine and yours, inspired by each other’s

Our best blessing

With sincerity

May we uphold our sacred obligations to the Earth and to each other.

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E Tū vigil day 73, rick day 14

Two weeks in to my hunger strike and I’m in a sort of flow.  Rhythms around waking,  drinking,  commuting,  engaging,  relaxing,  reflecting,  drinking,  sleeping,  going again.  I tire quickly but feeling strong,  and grateful to be in good heart.  In good humor. 

The variety of interactions during each day is broad.  I’ve had many folk I work with come to see me and I’ve loved it.   There’s more reciprocity than there is typically in the therapy setting i think.   Perhaps i have more vulnerability since I’m somewhat starved!?  Today a number of hilarious and also touching moments.   Yesterday too.  Authentic human encounter which can be very nourishing.   I finished my day with an engagement with a beautiful 80 year old who was so open with me, and sincerely spoke of how she would like to do more to help with the climate problem beyond her vegetarian diet and low- fly policy.

“How can I contribute meaningfully?” I find it a very fine question, and one I like to ask myself over and over.

One thing that’s clear to me is that the whole unavoidable presence of unfolding climate alarm globally is being ‘dealt’ with; whether with a dissociative denial, or hopelessness, or through blame and hostility, or through so- called ‘hopium’. Who can bear the grief??? And how do we in activist circles remain connected to ourselves emotionally and not get fixated on perpetrators of climate injustice?? Can we untangle our own trauma enough so that we can keep in touch with all the sides of the thing emotionally?? Our self care included?

I find it works to engage with the public quite gently. If there’s a rigid or dismissive stance, it seems better to approach respectfully rather than try to educate or change people. It’s so fascinating too to reach people where they are. What are their thoughts and beliefs? What do they hope for? What is meaningful to them?? And these exchanges can become quite personal, even intimate, as with the lovely 80 year old today.

Starting out on the strike I imagined it would be an intense inner journey, akin to a meditation retreat. I’m surprised. I am being showered with gifts.

Six days ahead.

I’m aware that some of my writing may be straying from the kaupapa. I can easily imagine that there’s an expectation or hope that I should be more focused, a little more persuasive. But then I think, a hunger strike speaks for itself. Let’s create the space to connect with each other.

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E Tū vigil day 71; Rick day 12

As a therapist I live my life in relatedness and dialog.  How strange this beast, blogging.  Opaque and one sided!  Perhaps this is the life of writers and columnists I am glimpsing into.  I prefer to shape and share my ideas in relationship.  

On this note,  an interesting proposition today ‘what if post ww2 reconstruction was based on nuclear power,  not fossil fuels.   We would have other problems,  but not climate change on the scale we have it’.  This seems accurate.  But I’m very inclined towards the view that although climate change is an existential threat,  it is symptomatic of a worldview that is a way more fundamental problem.  Naomi Klein speaks of ‘sacrificial zones’ required for  industrial growth society.  The colonialist mindset (we built on the backs of slaves).  The patriarchal nonsense.  Racism/ white supremacy (as Klein provocatively says “let them climate refugees drown”).   And the natural/ living world as ‘resource’.  Extractavism.  The natural/ living world as sewer – plastics,  nitrates,  air pollution etc. 

I imagine I’m stating something obvious but that’s alright with me.  In my view,  we are embedded in a highly artificial construct.   Monbiot would say we are living in a myth of omnipotence; captured by a narrative that assumes our primary drive is competitive and not cooperative.  In my work I get to experience a thousand times how cooperative; how relationship seeking we are.  Our very life blood and safety lies in cooperative, responsive relationship.  How did that truth get snared by individualism?

Anyway,  I begin to feel self conscious.   This isn’t my website.   These views are mine,  not necessarily E Tū’s.  But I would encourage anyone to invest 55 minutes watching the YouTube doco ‘living in the time of dying’  https://youtu.be/TvzmPyY08ck  Bendell, Ingram, Jamail and a stunning, pointed and eloquent narrative from a Cherokee elder. 

I’m a bit overwhelmed by the number of friends and whānau that awhi me.  I feel loved and very supported.  One week to go (and thinning down a little).

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E Tū vigil day 69, Rick hunger strike day 10

‘Hunger’ is such an emotive word.  My hunger strike is obviously a hunger for food.  It is designed to convey urgency.   It embraces some sacrifice and offers up a fundamental liberty for something important.   But what else am I and others engaged in these actions,  hungry for?  What i am really hungry for is greater justice.  I see a travesty of harm, committed and due to be committed, upon the vulnerable, upon the oceans, upon our air, our forests,  upon so many threatened species.  I see it as a profound betrayal of all beings and creatures who depend on the interconnectedness of life.  Since we have great power,  therefore we also have great responsibility.

It was a beautiful day at parliament today,  Saturday.  Kieran set up and Rachel stayed all day in support.  Lots of visitors..  Duncan the thoughtful farmer,  Hayden who keeps bees in Miramar who kindly gave me a jar of beautiful honey,  (which made me long for wholegrain toast!); Tim who brought me green tea; brother Dave who rode his Ducati through parliament grounds; Jackson and Ellie and Aderyn.  And dialog with a number of folk all eager for more meaningful action on the climate crises. I enjoy finding ways of engaging with people.  I don’t set out to change their mind, but to stimulate thinking and also to learn myself. 

I’m feeling strong, although my reserves aren’t great. And have decided to aim for 20 days rather than 21 so I have a day to transition a bit before returning to work.

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