Why are we doing this now?
Disaster: the world is not tackling climate change properly. The most worrying news item ever, read it here, in last weekend’s Observer suggests that the 2C target (ie, not letting the world’s temperature rise by what seems to be such a small amount) is now “almost out of reach“. The world is “on the brink”. And it’s so hard to believe with this amazing sunshine, the half-term holiday mood, the flowers out, the lights on, the planes criss-crossing the sky… This post is by Nicola, also explaining the start of a subtle change to this blog.
Well here at Homemade Kids we did know it (remember the endless weather record breakers – the coldest winter? the dryest spring? the wettest cloud burst?) and have tried for some years to keep our emissions low in between the thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways of living. But next week the 10-year no fly record will be trashed as Pete, me, Lola and Nell take a three month expedition that will see us briefly visit Hong Kong and Singapore. We will spend about a month in Australia, and two months in a South Pacific country, Solomon Islands.
We will be 15,000 miles from home and I’ve already booked a lot of plane journeys to make this happen so we can get back to the girls’ schools for the start of the September academic year. Otherwise it’d be a boat there and back – three months each way.
Pete and I intend for this to be our last plane trip: you can keep us to that. In fact Pete claims I’ve given him Stockholm Syndrome from years of carbon counting, so I reckon he’ll be the one holding me most to account. And we all need an eco-nudger sometimes.
“Is this a sabbatical?” ask friends. Other’s express generous jealousy – Tunbridge Wells’ Jenny said “That sounds a considerable way beyond fabulous. Have a great time & I’ll look forward to catching up when you get back.” I have been lucky that my eco-bunny friends don’t seem to hate me for racking up all that carbon, which would be reasonable, if extreme. I partially justify the air miles (and the girls will be doing this as part of their maths) by such a long time away from airbuses. It’s not good enough, I know.
So why are we doing this trip now? Why are the girls being homeschooled, the dog, mouse and hens going to temporary new homes, the house being taken over by another person? Even the neighbourhood’s stilts have had to move out of our attic ready for use at the July street party. There’s a huge amount of disruption for all four of us to travel at the same time – and poor Nell has also had to have three sets of vaccinating jabs, with each set leaving me, (the nurse!) and her in tears.
I’m going to borrow the answer from a quote one of my uni students made in their end of term assignment on Scott’s so-called race to the South Pole (Antarctica), “That’s what I think exploration should be about. It’s the research and all the extra bits which make the getting somewhere actually worth anything, not the getting there first.”
Yes, we’re finding out more about life, helping us all make better connections. And as Pete and I write as a day job the idea is that we then share those connections by telling the climate change story a bit more…
Tao of travel
People have been to the Pacific before (read all about it in Grimble’s 1954 classic A Pattern of Islands, the anthropological eye in Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road, Paul Theroux’s The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the South Pacific). On this blog you can go with us to chocolate factories, vineyards, the place in Australia where the rains were two months later than normal, witness the village in the Solomons that’s been flooded by rising sea levels, we’ll meet emus and dugongs, we’ll learn a new language (pijin English). Come with us to see world sights, learn and hopefully laugh sometimes too.
How do we feel?
When I first suggested this trip to Pete he tried to ignore me, worrying about carbon footprints. Lola was excited. Nell is just very concerned that the sharks and crocodiles are out to get her (don’t worry Nell they don’t live indoors!).
This week’s task is to get a suitcase life together and say goodbye to friends and family. One day I may share the list of tasks I’ve been working through since January, just in case it’s helpful for anyone else with both family and wanderlust.
Until then, as they say in the Solomons, “lukim iu”
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