Refusing to sleepwalk into the apocalypse


This is what Maxie spent a whole afternoon doing … it is one of the divine things that children do when you least expect it. He did it because it was an enjoyable thing to do and because he thought it might make me happy … it was an act of love … love for me and a love for creating things.

People often say to me that you don’t have to be a mother to care about the planet. That is so true, but something does happen that changes you quite profoundly when you do become a parent. Your life ceases to become yours alone and the consequences of your actions become far greater than ever they were when you didn’t have children. You also “wake up” in a way that is, at first, quite unexpected.

Since New Year’s Eve 2000 when I found out I was pregnant with twins (Y2Kids?) I’ve been CONSTANTLY responsible for two lives other than my own. Fully comprehending this the day I walked out of hospital with them was the biggest shock of my life. It has also become the most awesome thing that has ever happened to me. When Maxie and Oscar were babies this was a 24 hour a day responsibility. There was no room for error. I could never change my mind and walk away, or decide that I’d rather do something else for a while – in the early days their lives depended completely on me.

Now that they are 6, I share their care with a

community of other people like their teachers, their friends, their extended family. They still, however, trust completely that I am there to protect them and look after them. They still cry for me when they get hurt. Having babies woke me up – made me come out of my head and be fully in the present. Finding out about global warming last year when they started school has kept me awake. One of the first articles I read when I started researching global warming then, was one which referred to the bulk of the population “sleepwalking into the apocalypse”. (Click on this link to see what was written nearly 2 1/2 years ago!) We have so little time left to act that none of us can afford to sleepwalk any longer.

The way that this translates into my life is that, even when I go to a party, as I did tonight, all I can talk about to strangers that I meet is global warming and how urgent it is to act. Whenever Ian strolled up to me to join in with conversations I was having he would just look at me and say, “let me guess, global warming?”

A lion whose cubs are at threat doesn’t walk away and stroll down to the pond for a drink … or catch the next flight for a well earned holiday, knowing as she does, that that single flight could be putting the carbon into the air that sends the earth past its tipping point. A lion whose cubs are at threat stays and fights to the death for her cubs. A lion whose cubs are at threat knows that nothing in life is more important than her children … and any smarmy global warming skeptic, politician or businessman trying to wheedle their way in between her and her cubs would simply be gobbled up by her fury. A lion can sense threat.

I am a lion and I am fighting for my cubs. And nothing, NOTHING, matters more than that.

Even as I say this, it is also important to live a life and an enjoyable life. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Today, for example, after the boys nagged me about doing it all week, I finally got it together to help them make native animal masks for the parade at the markets tomorrow. In the past, in a situation like this, I would have gone shopping to the local craft shop for things to make the masks with. I would, in effect, have “thrown money at the problem”, even if only for some paint, elastic, fabric …. whatever. This time, however, I made a pact with myself that I would only use whatever I could find around the house. I’m fairly fortunate in that I have a house chock-a-block full of stuff. This still would not have stopped me buying more “stuff” in the past. I would not have “stretched myself to find another solution”. Anyway, we started looking for anything brown we could find and, bingo, before we knew it we had two masks … papier mache bases that we’d started another time, bits of cardboard and egg cartons for ears and noses, old spinning wool and a scrap of velvet for Maxie’s koala and an old brown sock and dress fabric, with a scrap of velvet for Oscar’s kangaroo. The boys were really thrilled. Even the wide elastic for putting them onto their heads were scraps from an old sewing box of my grandmother’s. Bits that she’d rescued from old clothes. I am now also constantly saving things from being thrown into the bin because they might come in handy later … for things like this. With global warming too, we have everything we need to lower our carbon emissions now – see, I told you, I talk about it all the time.



2 thoughts on “Refusing to sleepwalk into the apocalypse

  1. Lis

    PS. Being a lion is, of course, a metaphor – I don’t
    really want to “attack like a lion” but I do feel as fierce as a lion about protecting my children from any threats to their future.

  2. Anna

    Lis, we can all take pride in the fact that you feel like that.
    In fact it leads me to wonder what the collective noun for a group of “fierce”,climate change and globally concerned mothers would be?

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