Gallery

We have an online exhibition with Riverhouse Barn until the 7th February which is over on their website – Click here to see the exhibition!

Making Small Differences

My panel celebrates the beautiful world we live in, which is threatened by man-made climate-change.

I contribute to the threat each time I fly, which I do as infrequently as I can. I have placed an image of a plane in a red warning triangle.

I try to make a small difference in several ways, as illustrated

  • walking, cycling and using public transport when possible

  • eating locally-grown or home-grown food, e.g. plums, pears, strawberries

living with the little beasties which also enjoy the food“ they are all part of the bigger scheme of things, and some of them turn into beautiful butterflies

Celebration of the Hedgerow

A North Kent hedgerow in spring is a riot of wild flowers, mostly white. This panel celebrates seven of them: above from left Cow Parsley, Garlic Mustard, Deadnettle, Hawthorn. Below: Meadow Cranesbill with root, Herb Robert (flower has lost one petal) and Ivy.

Hedgerows are disappearing with the spread of intensive farming. Many miles have been grubbed up to make way for massive fields. This reduces the opportunities for foraging and nesting by insect, and food sources for birds and humans. Hedgerows are sources of joy and nourishment for body and soul.

I support Kent Wildlife Trust which works with local farmers to reverse these trends. Our district council is currently formulating its plan for the next 20 years and I, with other local Quakers, am asking for local farmers to be helped to plant using permaculture methods which are less intensive than traditional ones. I have talked with my local councillors and support their new biodiversity initiatives.

Polluted tradition

The Ganges river in India is sacred in Hindu tradition and is thought to have the power to wash away humanity’s sins. But in fact they are explosing themselves further to its poisons: you can hardly see the water in this river for chemical foam and it’s also full of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The air is so thick with fumes that you can’t see the far banks or the end of the bridges. Air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of 2 million Indians every year. Half of the air pollution is caused by the industrial pollution. Vehicles and crop burning account fo a further 44% .`

The population is more vulnerable to Coronavirus because of the harm done to them by these noxious fumes. The move away from traditional rural ways of life to dirty industrial production has been at a high cost. Pollution is poorly regulated and little information about it is made available.`

I don’t live in India, but I shall try and find out more about this and seek to press for better regulation of industrial pollution. Meanwhile I’ll avoid buying Indian goods unless I know they are made in environment-friendly and fairtrade methods. I will also continue to support projects that help rural people to live more sustainably, including less-polluting cooking methods.

SWIFTS

Swifts flying wild and free above our countryside, towns and cities, their cries announcing their arrival.

Their steep decline, over 50% between 1995 and 2016 is thought to be because of the decline in the insects on which the feed, nesting sites, as old buildings are demolished or refurbished and new ones built without spaces for nests, and extreme weather events driven by climate change.

What can I do?  Do my best to minimise my carbon footprint, grow and buy organic fruit, vegetables and textiles, find out about my council’s biodiversity plan.  It is easy to fit swift nest boxes during building and renovation.  Learn more.  https://swift-conservation.org

GARDEN WILDLIFE

Small is Beautiful.

I marvel that all the necessities for life are packed into these tiny bodies.

Like more iconic animals, many of these are threatened by loss of habitat.

I will make my garden a haven for wildlife.

LOVE OUR RIVERS

L
W. H. Auden once noted, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” Yet while we all know water is crucial for life, we can take it for granted and trash it anyway. Some 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped—largely untreated—back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans.
The widespread problem of water pollution can jeopardise our health. Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined. Meanwhile, our drinkable water sources are finite. Sip a glass of cool, clear water as you read this, and you may think water pollution is a problem . . . somewhere else. But while most of us have access to clean drinking water potentially harmful contaminants—from arsenic to copper to lead—have sometimes been found in tap water.

Water pollution occurs when harmful substances—often chemicals or microorganisms—contaminate a stream, river, lake, or ocean, degrading water quality and rendering it toxic to humans and the environment.
Water pollution can have disastrous effects on the environment. Pollution in the water can reach a point where there isn’t enough oxygen in the water for the fish to breathe. … Small fishes absorb pollutants, such as chemicals, into their bodies.

People are sometimes careless and throw rubbish such as bottles and crisp packets directly into rivers. Pollution kills water plants and animals.
I’ve been a supporter of WaterAid for several years, from their most recent posting: wateraid.org/uk/show-water-love : they thank all those working to keep our water supply going, in the UK and worldwide, so we can all stay safe and healthy.
‘When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy’ – Rumi

PALM OIL and ORANG-UTANGS

The orang-utang is losing its home as rainforests are being cleared to farm palm oil. As the orang-utan needs the forest, so the forest needs this mammal to disperse its seeds. In terms of evolution it is one of our closest relatives.
I promise to help by buying as little unsustainable palm oil as I can. It is found in 50% of our supermarket products, from shampoo to frozen meals, even cat food. I am also aware that there are many different names for Palm oil. I will continue to cook from scratch whenever I can and will try to make others aware of this problem.

Wear it as long as thou canst

Pieces of cloth, printed and dyed with plants, placed together on a soft wool base. As I stitch by had, slowly and quietly, with plant dyed thread. I have time to reflect .

I discover new landscapers emerging between my hands” contours leylines, hills and valleys, wandering streams and lines of desire. In times of challeng I find myself returning to square – my security blanket .

But even as I stitch I am aware of the rivers diverted and piped in cotton production, the stories of cruelty in mass sheep searings, the dead worms who produced these beautiful scraps of silk.

When I think about the environment and the actions I take to protect it, it is easy to become overwhemed. There is so much to do and I am so small. People around me, those I know and those I see on the television and in the news can seem so much ore committee, more passionate, more effective than me.

Each thoughtful stitch is a step on my path. Each change I make in my life is part of a longer journey. I need to be gentle with myself as well as with the world.

I come back to the words of George Fox to William Penn about his sword:

“Wear it as long as thou canst”.

Darn it!

I mend clothes.

It connects me to my Mum who always used to settle down to do the darning on a regular basis.

I am happy to celebrate the darns by making them into decorative features.

We can make a difference by extending the lives of our clothes, even by three months. We can lessen our contribution to the number that go to landfill. (According to Wrap UK an estimated £140 million worth (around 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year.) We will also lessen our carbon, water and waste footprints.

Loveyourclothes.org.uk can help us to make the most of our clothes.

Wrap up!

This panel was inspired by a friend who, in cold weather, always puts on an extra sweater.

Around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes.

According to the energysavingtrust.org.uk we could save 310kg of carbon dioxide a year if we turned the thermostat down by one degree.

Strong and fragile like us.

I saw our planet as an egg, both fragile and strong, sheltering and feeding us but cracking under the strain of the choices we make. Powerful fires are consuming forests across the world, eco-systems are being destroyed, and military conflicts wreak havoc. We can help by our actions but we also need powerful agents around the globe to curb their damaging activities.

I made the panel from litter, discarded plastic, my grandmother’s treasures, offcuts from Royal Ballet costumes, fabric I rubbed in my garden’s soil, creating layers of memory. The base is a very old quilt remnant sewn by women’s hands before knowledge of environmental destruction added to their cares. 

I want to explore further how privilege is linked to the freedom to choose, and also to reconsider moving to a city centre location to cut down on the carbon I use heating and travelling to and from my rural home. I’m also planning a craftivism project for next spring to encourage people to use less pesticide.

Emissions

To help cut emissions:

  • Consume less energy,
  • Unplug electronics when not in use.
  • Lower temperature on central heating by at least one degree.
  • Drive your car less, walk whenever possible. Ride your bicycle.
  • Buy local fruit and vegetables, buy seasonal produce.

This panel was made solely with scraps.

Where have all the flowers gone? Long time passing

Through the ultra violet spectrum of a bee:

How I crave my beautiful flower, the Pheasants’ Eye and oh so many others. This place will become like a desert to me before long. Where are all the pollinator patches now? Let’s face it…every living creature needs an oasis. My friends the moths and butterflies say they are grateful for the few wildflower meadows that some of you have planted…but we need more.

I don’t understand why you have to cut down so many hedgerows and, you know what, all this nitrogen pollution is really harming our bogs, streams and woodlands. Mind you it isn’t all doom and gloom. Check out what some of you are doing in the Sierra Nevada for example. There is also that brilliant organisation called Plantlife. Google it. They hang out in Salisbury, Wiltshire. (If you want to find out more about the excellent work they are doing go to enquiries@plantlife.org.uk)

Buzz buzz. Let’s get busy.

Where have all the flowers gone? When will they ever learn?

Through the ultra violet spectrum of a bee:

To all you humans out there…do you realise you are putting our wildflowers under stress? They are becoming extinct at a rate of two species a year! That’s huge and I’m worried. I have noticed seasonal changes which are different to the norm and these are causing fewer seeds to form. The seasonal timing across the world is confusing some plants to say nothing about confusing the insects, especially me because my pollinating visitations are in absolute chaos.

My bee world is in terrible danger because of pesticide use and monoculture farming practices. What is happening to all the green spaces?

We used to have such rich flower habitats. Can’t you do something to save our world? You could plant more flowers for example…remember to plant in clumps! Don’t forget my water in a wide bowl and make sure you add stones, corks and twigs for me to land on.

Buzz buzz. Let’s get busy.

Power

Wind turbines make a fun sight especially out at sea off the NW ‘Energy coast’.

Renewables and wind energy in particular provide an increasing proportion of our energy and allows us to stop using fossil fuels which have contributed so much to global warming.20% of electricity generation in the uk in 2019 was from wind ( more than half the total of uk renewable electricity).The UK is sixth largest wind power producer in the world and has targets to produce a lot more.

We all use electricity and have all been part of the fossil fuel era which has done so much to accelerate climate change.

So what can I do? I have switched to an all renewable energy supplier( and they give me a good deal!). I have put some savings into community wind power projects.

Dolphins

I love dolphins and remember them jumping out of the water and playing near us on holiday.My daughter loved them and collected dolphin pictures when she was small.

Like all marine life they are threatened by the rising tide of pollution , especially plastic in the sea.

What can I do? I try not to buy single use plastic and reuse plastic where possible. I use fabric facemasks from reused materials. I still find a lot of foodstuffs wrapped in plastic and try to chose paper bags instead.

Children in the Woods

The air that we breathe is endangered by environmental breakdown.

Our lifestyle contributes to the problem especially with consumption of manufactured products, and car and air travel.

As trees are the lungs of the planet, absorbing carbon and creating oxygen, we need to conserve what trees and woodland we have, and plant more trees.

So far we at Underbarrow WI in the South Lakes, Cumbria, have planted a small wood of thirty trees, to be known as the Green Wood. I want to see a healthy environment for my two young grandchildren Ivor and Rowan.

Don’t Be Trashy

A collection of pieces of litter found when going outside in lockdown, recorded with stitch.

It may be a simple and obvious way to be kind to our environment and something we all see on signs daily, but somehow rubbish still ends up on the ground.

Using glinting tin foil, colourful food packaging, bits of disposable mask and embroidering into a used yellow duster, I want this to become a sign of small littered ‘bits’ that the viewer is unable to ignore.

BEACH VIEW

This is my local beach, I am thankful for it every day when I walk my dog here. A wide, unspoiled beach, lots of space for wildlife and people to enjoy.

Tankers lay offshore, storing crude oil, waiting for the price to go up. Consumption of this oil fuels our transport, homes and industries. The resultant carbon emissions are a major factor in climate change, resulting in sea level rise.

If we don’t halt global warming, there will be no beach here in years to come, it will be inundated.

I minimise my own contribution to global warming by using a green energy provider and turning down the heating, a meat-free diet, growing some fruit and veg, shopping local, recycling, buying re-used items, composting waste food and holiday locally.

The Meek shall inherit what’s left of the Earth

‘Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth’   Mathew 5:5

When first contemplating the possible subjects for my ‘Loving Earth’ panel, I thought I would choose one of the upland fells I love walking and which I know are under threat.  However when I began the mediation a much stronger and more immediate concern came to me.  When I am honest with myself, my heart is most rung but the thought of what kind of world I am allowing to be bequeathed to my grandchildren – and all the other children in our care.   We should be guardians of the earth and their future in the same way, as we understand our responsibilities to their day-to-day care.  What point in buying well fitting school shoes if we are allowing the watercourses to be poisoned?  

I have now decided to set myself the task of asking, whenever I am contemplating some kind of expenditure, some ‘little holiday’, some treat ‘Is this worth taking a hour off their lives?  Is it worth depriving them of all the most basic things that have provided me with a sense of security my whole life? So I have envisioned them as the caretakers we have failed to become. 

Bees and Trees

My panel was inspired by  this poem :

Bees and trees, give a thought and think of these.
Bees hunt for nectar in every sector
And trees purify our polluted air.
Does anyone understand or care?
Once they are no longer there
Nor will there be apple or pear.

I found it in the book of poems by the Wimbledon Warbler, Robert George Ball, who is a friend and neighbour. I have been concerned about the environment for a long time and am a trustee of Sustainable Merton which is an organisation helping local people to lead “greener” lives. I’m also involved in Abundance Wimbledon which reduces waste of local fruit. We pick unwanted fruit and distribute to charities or make produce including jam and chutney.

THAI FISH

I lived for a long time in Thailand and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time on an island in the Andaman sea. There were no roads and only a few resorts. At the far end of the beach the coral came close up to the shore and I spent a lot of time snorkelling. Although the coral was already damaged, I was mesmerised by the colours of the fishes and the whole underwater world that was invisible to me unless I entered into it. I felt my body slowing down and picking up the rhythms of the sea. 

Over the years I have seen the corals crumbling and the fish, though still beautiful, are definitely fewer. I feel sad for the loss but grateful that some local people are working to conserve this beautiful habitat.

I know that I am contributing to this in a small way. I used to fly a lot for my work but I have changed tack and taken a job that does not require me to fly. I am trying to support local people to do climate justice work themselves rather than flying experts in. And the fish taught me to slow down and look closely – this has helped me to enjoy nature closer to my home and see that there are invisible worlds everywhere, not just in the sea.

A poem came out of this experience:

Loving Earth Project

I care deeply for our suffering polluted but still stunningly beautiful planet. I procrastinated on the idea of making a panel for the Loving Earth Project especially during our lockdown 2020 nightmare. I put off starting it for many weeks but finally shrugged off my fear of failure and lack of confidence and started my panel.  I reasoned that however rough and unfinished my work looked it was a work of love not perfect but unique and mine all the same.  My cataract has got worse so my eyesight has been challenging though an operation is immanent. 

I wanted to use only found second-hand materials I had in the house and to buy nothing new.  Our sofa was being recovered so I used the old cushion covers for the orange base and backing.  I retrieved a box of buttons that my late mother had collected over many years. She was a recycler supremo and had kept buttons galore of all shapes, sizes, and colours. Like an excited child I sorted them into green ones for LOVE. White ones for PEACE and the CROSS a symbol of suffering and redemption. Buttons have a multiplicity of uses. Practical to keep clothes done up. Decorative and creative to enhance pots, as earrings, necklaces, and other fashion statements. As they seldom decompose except if made of wood, in archaeological digs often it is the buttons that identify the deceased and the era if all else has long gone.  For the blue circle I used a school uniform polo shirt from one of my granddaughters.  I used coloured threads and scraps of green ribbon I had squirreled away in a cupboard. At last I had a use for them!

This work has given me enormous pleasure and reignited my love of sewing and creating a piece of unique artwork. for this amazing and inspiring project.

My 3 personal pledges to save the planet have so far been: –

  • To change our home energy supplier to Good Energy 100% renewable electricity, carbon neutral gas and the power to make a difference. www.goodenergy.co.uk.
  • We have progressed from a Prius hybrid car to a fully electric Kia e-Niro.

I cycle everywhere I can it is vital for my mental and physical health.

School Climate Strikes

At the start of 2020,  the children and young people in Newcastle Quaker Meeting in England  were thinking about climate change and the  school strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg. They started to make a poster about this but when they heard about the Loving Earth Project they decided to switch to making fabric panels to celebrate the school strikes.

Some of them knew all about Greta and had learned about her at school, but other schools were making a point of not allowing discussion about the strikes. Our children and young people were very happy to talk about her and felt it was very important to know all about the movement. They found out about the stories of children and young people all over the world who have been inspired by Greta. Their messages are on the placards.

Children are worried  for their own future but don’t have much power, except to try and persuade governments and other adults to address the climate emergency urgently, and to listen to the scientists, like the IPCC reports to the United Nations which summarise the advice of scientists around the world. Taking action helps address climate anxiety that many young people feel acutely, and helps us all become part of the solution.

More than a culinary delight

My only knowledge of cuttlefish is a memory of our budgie using it to sharpen her beak in the 1970’s. So many of the easily identifiable cuttlebones litter the shoreline where I live, that it made me want to look into how they are faring in our British seas today.

After wading through articles on the culinary uses of cuttlefish on the continent, how their ink can stain a variety of materials, and how they can be kept as pets, my heart began to sink. This intelligent marine mollusc was once again being listed as a human resource rather than an integral part of the natural world. Inevitably as I delved deeper, the words ‘endangered species’ leapt out at me. In 2018 landings of cuttlefish were worth 14.9 million pounds and the species had been placed on the red list by the Marine Conservation Society.

“We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will.’  (Quaker “Advices & queries”, 1994, No.42) For my part, I so appreciate and support those organisations that work to protect nature and wildlife and keep us informed of what we can do to reduce our impact on this beautiful planet.

All the fabrics, except the calico have been recycled from somewhere, the sea is an old scarf that I stained with watercolour paint in the absence of all my usual artwork materials during lockdown. The grey painted scraps were from an earlier project.

Consider the Lilies

During lockdown , walks in the countryside revealed beautiful arrays of wild flowers which brought me a sense of calm amidst the anxiety of coronavirus. I love them. Yet these displays are becoming more rare as our climate changes and environment degrades. 97% of Britain’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s according to researchers at Kew Gardens.

So what can I do? I can encourage others to enjoy and learn about wildflowers. 

I can join with others to sow wildflower seeds around the area .

I can seek food sources which do not rely on the intensive agriculture which removes diversity replacing it with monoculture. I don’t eat meat but milk and cheese remain a challenge. I will try to seek sources of these which allow wilding of the environment.

Consider the lilies of the field and enjoy their simple beauty.

Wild Flowers stitched in Lockdown

This panel was done in May/ June 2020 , based on wild flowers growing in the garden. It coincided with ‘No Mow May’, but we had in any case let the grass grow out of a mix of laziness and enjoyment of the flowers and the bees.

I painted on the cloth, and then stitched into the flowers and leaves, and used various bits of ribbon, wool and a pair of old school socks. I was using the sewing machine that belonged to my mother, who was born in 1919. It was the machine I used as a teenager, and using it during lockdown brought me a lovely sense of connection with her, as well as with the beautiful and unassuming flora we so often overlook.

We are Stewards of the Earth

‘My panel shows a sky clear of pollution with a bright sun, clouds and rainfall.  There’s a diverse range of plants and insects to pollinate them. 

In reality every square kilometre in the UK has lost an average of 11 species of bee and hoverfly, over the past 30 years. This has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems. Insects provide a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, while plants including most food crops rely on insects for pollination.

We can encourage pollinating insects by growing flowering plants, patches of wild flowers and weeds.  And we can campaign for more sustainable agriculture.

It’s up to us, we are the Stewards of the Earth. I have made a small part of our back garden into a wild flower habitat so that all the bees and other pollinators have a wider range of plants to chose from.  It’s also good for other bugs and increases biodiversity.  If more people did this the impact would be enormous.  

Trade Justice – Eco Justice

A sustainable future isn’t possible without fairness. Land and ecology is looked after best if they are owned by the community that lives there and depends on it long term. The people are then part of a sustainable ecology. Where land (or water) are exploited for cash crops or to extract minerals, the local ecosystem (including people) can’t survive long. 

Most of the time, consumers are not aware of where what we buy comes from, or its environmental impact. Some countries and companies have notoriously poor records on environmental, social and economi justice. Those of us in richer countries perhaps have a responsibility to take these things into account in our choices, though it can be difficult.  Research by charitable and campaigning organisations can often help and it can usually be found on the internet .

I support some of these organisatios, and try to buy Fairtrade and/or organic goods  from sustainable sources where possible. I also look at such issues when deciding where to invest, and avoid buying from countries with poor environmental records, though it’s difficult; Chinese goods are everywhere. This panel was made from a coffee sack made in India (under Fair trade conditions), and used to export Fairtrade and organic coffee from a cooperative in Peru to France, where it was roasted in traditional manner and sold locally by a small family firm.

Wild Life Powerless in the face of raging Bush Fires.

Climate change is characterised by unprecedented extreme weather events: tsunamis, floods, drought … and bush fires.

In 2019 in New South Wales, Australia, the bush fires raged far and wide, recombusted after being doused, destroyed many houses, and killed wildlife.

Koalas live there and only eat the leaves of eucalyptus trees. They tried to escape up the trees, but the tree canopies were on fire. Koalas were dehydrated, starving, severely burnt, and large numbers died. It is estimated that it will take 30 to 50 years for the habitat and koala numbers to recover.

When we see the suffering to people and animals that such climate events cause, it seems even more important to keep carbon footprints low by not flying, sharing transport (buses and trains), walking and cycling whenever possible, and buying locally.

Orangutans in Borneo

Orangutans in Borneo are losing their lush forest habitat because of deforestation for palm oil.

We saw a documentary about an orangutan rescue project where volunteers rescue orangutans from the destroyed forest. In one memorable sequence a solitary orangutan clung to the last tree in the forest, the rest of the trees had been reduced to stumps in the mud.  It was a poignant symbol of the environmental catastrophe created by man.

My daughter and I made this using fabrics found in a dressing up box when she was home because of lock down. It’s our first attempt at a sewing project. 

After watching the documentary we set up a standing order to the Orangutan Foundation, a charity that saves orangutans by protecting their tropical forest habitat, working with local communities and promoting research and education.

Palm oil is said to be found in half of all supermarket products – bread, biscuits, chocolate, shampoos, cosmetics and house hold cleaning products. We try to avoid these, scouring labels for products made without palm oil or made with palm oil from a sustainable source that has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).Orangutans in Borneo are losing their lush forest habitat because of deforestation for palm oil. 

Transformation from dirty energy to sun, wind and water power

As a teenager in the 1970’s I dreamed of going self-sufficient and reducing the damage I did to the world, after reading books by John Seymour and ‘Small is Beautiful’ by E.F Schumacher. Living mostly in a city, apart from 15 years in Cornwall, I only managed to reduce my energy use in small ways and have been working on the process ever since – installing a solar panel, eating less meat, growing some of my own food, using less, having a hybrid car, upcycling clothes, buying second hand and fair trade. All this alongside my ‘consumption’.  I still have a long way to go and I continue to dream of a world where all the energy we use is produced by water, sun and wind.

Are There More Birds?

Are there more birds, or do we just notice them more?

This is a question I have been posing myself and others during the lockdown.

I certainly am seeing more birds, especially the small ones …

They come and perch on the birdfeeder, or land in small flocks on the grass,

And I hear them singing in the trees, at all times of the day.

Maybe there are more birds,

Or maybe I am just more attuned to notice them,

The increased silence in the lockdown, with transport noises at a minimum,

Means their chirpy songs are more noticeable.

Whether there are more birds, or the environment is more conducive to notice them,

I am more committed to not passing by in my busy day without taking time to listen and observe these delightful small creatures

And becoming more mindful of their flight, their song, their love for life.

NO MORE WASTE

It represents our society’s wastefulness and the urgent need to put a stop to this. Our earth’s resources are being overexploited, misused and discarded with a resulting mountain of waste; food, clothing, appliances, cars, metals, plastics, chemicals, and the list goes on. My counter action is to buy very few new things, reuse and recycle materials and objects, choose second hand options, swap items, be careful with use of household energy and water, to buy food as and when needed in order to avoid food going off and thrown away. Where possible I try to find a home for items I no longer need. Where food is concerned, I volunteer at a community cafe where many menu items are made from surplus food donated by supermarkets and individuals. I also try to choose products with no or minimal packaging. 

(On the process of making this panel, Mona writes: It was, overall, a rather messy and impulsive process (but that’s not a problem for me. I quite enjoyed that freedom especially under lockdown). There was no plan – the piece evolved as I went along. I found the concept easily enough. I looked up some examples of NO MOre waste banners online, for inspiration. I then rummaged through my boxes of materials for the base and chose the most likely piece that would not be used for anything else other than patching up. I first thought I would just draw on the material with special felt pens as I was not sure how to represent the rubbish mountains; I did draw outlines and then I decided to sew on used scraps of paper, small pieces of plastic, loose beads, and things I might throw away like ends of thread and wool and felt. As I went along it felt right that it was messy because waste causes a mess. I would have loved to convey decay but didn’t know how and the smell? I suppose I could have dipped it in liquids but decided against that as the panel might end up being hazardous itself. Rest assured, it is clean. I found the making very relaxing even though what I was representing frustrates and worries me. I worked on the panel in the evenings; somehow it did not feel like a daytime activity. I wish I had been able to add some metal, and maybe I could have added more stuff to avoid any spaces but I had to decide to stop at some point, and so I did.)

I Love Trees

Trees are very important to me. 

They are also important to wildlife, offering protection from the elements, food for insects and birds as well as places to hide and to rear young. 

They provide shelter for us too as well as seasonal  produce, leaves and blossom.   They are the largest living plants we have. 

The loss of rainforest has a huge impact on climate change so we must protect them to protect the climate. 

I am supporting the planting of tree saplings and tree protection in my local area as well as having five trees in my small three by five meter garden.

Choosing the future

Normal Countryside with rabbits, frogs, birds and Jonathan Seagull?

or 

Neglect and destruction of buildings, plants and trees. Squatters with candles in ruined buildings ?

All our actions influence how the world will be in future. There’s a little owl of hope at the top. 

I will campaign to protect the countryside from being built on, find ways to help rewilding, and look after plants, trees and animals around my home…

Trade and shipping

Over 90 percent of world trade is carried across the world’s oceans. There are now around over 100,000 transport ships at sea, of which about 6,000 are large container ships. Engins on the world’s biggest ships can be as tall as a four-storey house, and as wide as three London buses. So a lot of fuel is required, which in turn creates a large amount of CO2. International shipping creates as much greenhouse gas as Germany. But they also pollute badly in other ways

The fuel oil used by large ships is also very dirty and sulphurous, poisoning the air and water and adding to acidification of the seas. Many ships also dispose of their waste at sea and don’t clean their bilge water. Many parts of the seas are now designated as ‘dead zones’ and these are growing rapidly.

While trade has many benefits, this is killing the oceans which has many damaging knock-on effects. Instead of encouraging international trade we should aim to become more self-sufficient, eating local food where possible, manufacturing and recycling locally rather than importing goods and exporting waste.

Regulating and policing international ship pollution is difficult, but needs to be further developed. Meanwhile I’m going to try and avoid buying things made a long way away, in favour of items made or grown nearer to home, and will encourage others to do the same.

We only have one world 

We only have one world. We need to protect it together,  whoever we are and wherever we are. 

It’s the only one we’ve got. 

Social justice and trade justice are essential for a sustainable world. 

I support ethical companies and vote for social justice and fairness both for now and for future generations.

For Peat’s Sake

Peatlands are thought to be the most efficient carbon sinks on Earth. According to Scottish Natural Heritage, the carbon locked up in Scottish peatland soils is equivalent to 140 years’ worth of Scotland’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. Conversely, when peat is extracted it releases a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Peat accumulates very slowly indeed, at a rate of around 1mm per year or I metre per 1000 years, so it’s vital that we protect peatlands. Unfortunately, we don’t. Instead, we continue to use large amounts of peat in our gardens unnecessarily.

Until I started doing some research into climate change for this project, I had no idea how important peatbogs are for our future. I now buy peat-free compost and am starting to make my own compost. I’m also supporting a local campaign to use only peat-free products in our Beautiful Scotland flower beds.

Microplastics

In this panel, I wove with wool and fine, virtually invisible, slithers of soft plastic to represent the sea, which looks clear but is actually polluted with tiny pieces of plastic.

I love the sea and have many happy memories of swimming and surfing at beaches in Devon and Cornwall.  When we moved to Scotland, I fell in love with the wilder, chillier seashore of the Outer Hebrides. It was there that I first became aware of microplastics, which pollute the sea around these beautiful islands and, indeed, oceans all over the world.

Some microplastics are manufactured intentionally and needlessly for use in cosmetics and cleaning products.  Some are created by washing synthetic fabrics; an average wash-load of 6kgs, can release over 700,000 fibres.  Large plastic debris eventually breaks down into tiny fragments, which end up in rivers and oceans. The full extent of damage to human and environmental health is not yet known.

What can we do? For a start, use less plastic, avoid products that contain microplastics, pick up litter so that it doesn’t get into the waterways, re-use single-use plastic items as much as possible and put pressure on supermarkets to use less packaging.

Chimpanzees in the Rainforest

The tropical rain forests are vibrant and beautiful. They are not only home to many creatures but essential as the earth’s lung, carbon sinks which are reduced by deforestation. When cleared by fire they are also a source of additional CO2 contributing directly to global warming. My understanding of our cousins, the chimps, owes much to a wonderful book by Frans de Waal, called Mama’s Last Hug.

Chimpanzees, like all creatures that dwell in the tropical rain forest, are threatened by deforestation. It takes place extensively in the Amazon and in the jungles of South East Asia for the purpose of intensive agriculture (such cash crops as soya and palm oil) and cattle ranching. This creates a loss of habitat as well as immediate danger from clearance through burning. Forest animals are also preyed upon by humans for bushmeat and sport.

We need to address the problem of species extinction and loss of biodiversity caused by habitat loss and destruction in the tropical rain forest. We can do it by refusing to buy palm oil products and eating less red meat and by political actions such as voting out of office those governments which, as in the case of Brazil, seem intent on hastening the destruction of the rainforest.


Hedgerow 

I love old hedgerows with their mix of plants, providing shelter and food for many different creatures and helping to hold the earth in place through wind and rain. I have been very sad to see so many of them being torn up over the years, the erosion of soil in fields and the decline in wildlife.

I look after the hedges I have and will try and encourage  people to care for theirs and/or to plant new ones. 

No Time To Lose 

Scientists have long been predicting the destructive changes to the environment that we are now seeing. Despite this, carbon emissions in 2019 were still the highest ever, ice is melting rapidly both at the poles and in the mountains and we see catastrophic droughts and wildfires, floods, winds and other extreme weather events more and more often. These have caused huge loss of life to many species, and often brought disease and famine in their wake. The risk of nuclear catastrophe, whether by accident or through war, is ever-present. 

We have no chance of halting the spiral of destruction without radical changes very urgently – as individuals, communities, businesses and nations. Those of us in the developed world  (especially the wealthier among us) consume the most;  so we need to lead the way by our actions.

What kind of ancestors do we want to be seen as … if indeed there are any humans left to tell the tale?

I have been cutting back my carbon footprint gradually, and try to buying and travel  less, seldom by plane or car. But unless Governments invest in radically greener tax and physical infrastructure there is little hope. So let’s persuade them to act now, before it’s too late.

Happy Pig                       

I made a pig playing in the mud because I think that humans are killing too many animals for their own needs. Soon there will be no animals left.

I will try to raise awareness of this, and I don’t eat pork.

Underwater life. 

I love the sea, the colours and the underwater life. 

I find it incredibly relaxing to swim underwater.

The delicate balance is being distubed by human pollution and by global warming. 

I’ll try and be more aware of my impact and to be more proactive in this, for example I’ll monitor my carbon footprint, probably using carbonindependent.org

Cow

I have chosen to depict a cow as I have decided to give up red meat.

I understand that forest land is being destroyed in order to graze cattle for beef .

It’s a small step but at least I can do my bit. 

Beach                      

The ‘beach’ square was inspired by seeing a sad gull dying as it was tangled up in the plastic rings used to package six packs of drink cans. I wanted to show a beach as it should be seen, pristine and clear of litter with the Gull soaring above.

I have been looking into the packaging of these cans throughout the world. Soon after the rings were introduced in the 1960s it became clear that they were a danger to wildlife wherever they were discarded, particularly on beaches as they could get into the sea. In 1994 the US made it mandatory that these rings were biodegradable, however they still take time to degrade, meanwhile they will have snared millions of birds, fish and animals. The response is slow.  I hope that plastic rings and shrink wrapping will be phases out. (More details on my research is on the Loving Earth Project Facebook page.)

Save the fridge 

Our Crafternoon at Yealand enjoyed interpreting this  World Wildlife Fund advert which one of our group found. The cold places of the world are  beautiful but also so important for storing water and keeping things cool supporting the earth ecosystem – like our fridge which
keeps our food and drinks cool  and lets us eat more variety and more safely. We all contribute to losing the fridge – by travel , by our use of gas and electricity, by what we do and what we eat.What can we do to reduce this?  We decided we could  all eat less meat and dairy and are hoping to plan a vegan meal for our village. Our textile piece is made from recycled fabrics and scraps left over from previous projects

Bees    

Important as pollinators . 

Endangered by loss of habitats and insecticides, also water and places to make a nest or hibernate . 

I can make a nest or bee hotel , provide food plants and water , and stop using insecticides. 

Moors and highlands


The moorlands are really important for wildlife and carbon capture and I love their spaciousness and the hidden live there. But they are increasingy unnder threat from wildfires, drainage, fracking, damaging agriculture practices and extreme weather events .
I will try to reduce my carbon footprint and car use, and support campaigns to preserve these precious places as wilderness.

London

I Love London. But people here are getting sick and dying because of air pollution and there’s an increasingly high chance of major flooding before long, as climate breakdown creates storms, tidal surges and rising sea levels.

Sea levels are expected to rise by over 40cm unless global warming is limited to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, the more ambitious target set by the Paris climate agreement.

I am trying reduce my carbon footprint: although I travel quite a lot, I haven’t flown for nearly 20 years and avoid cars where possible. We have also insulated our home and have some solar hot water. Also I don’t eat meat and will try and eat less dairy in future.  This is now an emergency and I will press for urgent and radical measures to be taken by the Government.

No more plastic pens
love coloured pens, but I also love people, fish, birds, turtles and other living creatures.

Plastic harms and often kills them – whether by affecting hormones, when creatures eat the plastic waste or in other ways. 

So I will stop buying plastic pens and use other drawing and writing materals. I am already recycling what I can and I will avoid buying plastic as much as possible in future, especially single use plastics.

Coast
The coasts are such wonderful places where possibilities seem endless and eternity seems near. They also teem with a huge variety of life. But they are being eroded by more extreme weather. Rising sea levels and ocean acidification will damage them further, and destroy homes and habitats too

So it’s urgent to halt and reverse global warming.  I am campaigning for this, and will  try to reduce my own carbon footprint too.

Wonder and compassion


I believe that with deep personal
awareness, the Earth can be seen as a metaphor for ourselves , bringing mind, body soul and emotions together and validating Wholism, which will in turn heighten environmental awareness.

If we lose the polar ice caps….    

  • The sun’s rays will not be reflected away from the Earth:  faster global warming
  • Polar animals will suffer :   loss of biodiversity
  • Water will not be bound up in ice : sea levels rising 
  • Coastal regions will flood:  land, towns, cities lost 
  • Mass migtration of the displaced  and dispossessed:  social disruption
  • Social pressure and antagonism :  more conflict and war

So, I do not travel by air; I use public transport; as much as possible I buy food not transported by air; I grow vegetables and fruit; I am vegetarian.

Therefore life on this Earth can be seen as a pilgrimage into personal empowerment and direct compassionate action, with our inter knowing, creativity and imagination prompting us to bring about positive change and compassionate action for the environment and all living beings.

Butterflies  

Need nectar-rich plants , especially late-flowering ones . 

They like large clumps of flowers to see from a distance . Also large areas of long grass and nettles to provide food for caterpillars . Not suitable for my garden but we have plenty at the Quaker Meeting House. 

I will refrain from cutting everything down in the autumn. 

Wild flowers and meadows  

Wild and not so wild meadows are precious because they are the free, uncultivated yet beautiful spaces where the earth can ‘sing’ and nature can thrive.   

Meadows are threatened by overcultivation and intensive farming, over clearing of green spaces, road building and tarmacking, use of insecticides and fertilizers, and so on. I play my part in adding to this threat for e.g. I drive and use roads, I eat the food that is produced by intensive agriculture, and I have until recently assumed meadows were mostly part of the rural landscape.  

I have never used pesticides or fertilisers in my garden and always left part of the garden as wildlife friendly as I know how. This year I have left all lawn areas of our garden to grow into a meadow. It is more messy but rather beautiful.

Oceans

I am most concerned about our oceans filling with plastic bottles and other dubbish which the fish cannot eat, and whose whose home is being wrecked.

I was  brought up in St Helens and many of our holidays were spent on the Wirral, in Meols and Hoylake. My sister and I loved playing with the lovely soft sand, handling baby crabs in rock pools, building castles etc.

Then came the Torrey Canyon disaster. Oil everywhere, causing the sand to turn a murky grey and the water just as bad. Sixty years on and I’ve not been back. I can still remember my horror and upset at my ruined holiday place .

Perhaps we could start by persuading everyone to STOP USING PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES.  It’s not very difficult!

Prayerful Upholding

The Earth grounds us and gives us home. As the cycles of nature are disrupted, species extinction is accelerating. Human communities around the world are also being devastated by floods, droughts, heatwaves and famines; this feeds further conflict and mass migrations. 

We need to draw on our deepest values and spiritual resources to help us change our behaviour, as individuals, communities and as a species if we are to break the cycle. We need to stop wanting to have and do more stuff, and rather to live more simply, truthfully and lovingly. 

I will uphold the Earth and its creatures in prayer,alone and with others. I will also learn more about what is happening to our ecosystem and what I could do about it, seeking and trying to follow guidance of the Spirit.

 Tree

When a pupil of ours some forty years ago would draw exquisite pictures of plants and trees, he always drew all the roots and worms and insects under the ground, as just as important as the parts we could see. Now that research has shown us how amazingly complex trees are, for example communicating with each other through the root system and nourishing trees that are sick, as well as their absorbing CO2 , it is urgent that we reverse the destruction of so many millions before it is too late. They are the lungs of our planet and host to hundreds of life forms. 

Wherever we have lived we have planted trees. For years we bought toilet paper made by a firm that claimed to plant three trees for every one they cut down. Sadly they stopped when they reached a million. So we switched to another firm that uses no trees. Instead it recycles used office paper. Incidentally it also gives a magnificent fifty percent of its profits to building toilets in Africa. Having lived through the war we have never been able to throw away food and have “made do and mended” all our lives. It’s not enough; but is an ingrained habit that we attend to more than ever.

“The Universe is always Singing”

– Martha Maker, Quaker botanist

Growing wildflowers and suitablegarden flowers to ensure a future for our butterflies, bees and other insects 

These panels were made by three friends, from Quaker Tapestry fabric off-cuts and ends of yarn.

Clean Water   
Clean water is central to the life and health of many creatures including humans. Extreme weather patterns are causing more and worse floods and droughts in many parts of the world; this results in immediate loss of property and human life, and of crops livestock and wildlife, with disease and famine and lack of infrastructure thereafter. Polluting waterways with chemicals and fertilisers adds to the risk for creatures that live there or come into contact with them – and fuel ‘dead zones’ in the oceans. 

Here in Britain, we often take clean water for granted, though droughts and floods are becoming more frequent here too. We can help prevent these by mass re-wilding our landscapes and coastlines and planting (and caring for) trees, including in our cities. Taking major steps on carbon reduction is also necessary to help prevent these extreme events from accelerating further. So I will campaign for such measures to be taken.

I am grateful to live in a place where I have clean water on tap and I try to be careful about how much water I use, and what I dispose into the water supply. We have installed a ‘grey water’ tank so that water from the washing machine and bath can be re-used in the garden but I still use the hosepipe too. 

The inspiration of nature  

Being in nature nurtures our spirit and is healing.  Arts and crafts in many traditions draw inspiration from the bounty of nature and the regular changes each season brings. Climate breakdown is making the seasons less predictable and loss of connection with nature, especially for city dwellers, can add to mental and physical ill-health and means that many people have no idea how dependent we are on nature or how to care for our environment.  

I’ll continue to try and look after nature in my garden and neighbourhood, will try and learn more about it, and will encourage others (including the council) to do likewise. 

Mycelial Web 

Trees feel pain, send out warning signals to each other, search for kin and
thrive in groups. Sick and struggling trees are supported; nutrients for repair and growth are loaned when deficits occur and are transferred to neighbours before a tree dies. 

An underground constellation of fungi (the mycelial web) links the whole forest, sustaining it for potentially thousands of year and supporting communities of plants, birtds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles , invertebrates and insecets.

Woodlands are threatened by humans through clearance, weak protection for precious woodlands, dwindling grant funding and lack of understanding as to how forests work. It breaks my heart to learn how the controversial HS2 rail route is set to destroy swathes of ancient woodland through our countryside.

We can help by managing forests sustainably, in ways which meet the needs of a diverse range of trees, plants and wildlife while supporting livelihoods . This also helps the ecosystem in other ways , such as carbon storage and mitigating flood risks. 

I am a lifelong animal advocate and we need more trees, so I have planted wildlife friendly trees and a small patch of wildlife meadow in our new garden (no use of pesticides, of course). We are also encouraging wildflower planting along public grass verges and have helped fund the new Ross on Wye linear arboretum which is making its way along the water meadows. 

More information is at  https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk and in ” The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.

the last days 

if these days are the last days
I will prepare my hours
a will and testimony
each breath a gift
each smile a legacy
to pass on to the soil
for the next great ascendency ….

  if these days are the last days
each word that I speak
will be my last stanza
that points at the moon
with a finger of wonder
that denounces injustice
with the claws of a lion
roaring out its reminder

that with each breath we are dying
that it takes work to be kinder
and that love is all
that we can ever leave behind us.

(Sam Donaldson’s poem and Lily Williams’ painting inspired this panel. )

Cows

I love to see cows in green meadows, ruminating peacefully beneath a summer sky. I also love cheese! 

However, cows create a great deal of methane which is a very damaging greenhouse gas  (80 times more damanging than CO2 over 20 years).  There are about 1.4 billion cattle in the world and the number has been increasing due to demand for beef and  dairy products.  

A lot of these cattle are reared intensively, with forests being destroyed and large monocultures are farming plants such as soya for cattlefeed. Further environmental damage is caused by transporting cattle and their food around the world. As well as contributing to global warming, intensive beef production is an inefficient way of feeding people, results in loss of biodiversity, and does not give the cattle a good quality of life. 

I stopped eating meat some time ago, and I am now cutting down on dairy products, especially those from cowsmilk.  However we urgently neet to introduce agriculture and trade policies that discourage the importing of beef or cattlefeed. Instead our policies should encourage mixed farming, and especially plant food for human consumption, rather than livestock or dairy farming. I will encourage and campaign for this where I can.

Be the hope

Just having hope is too abstract these days, as we face potential catastrophe. Instead we must ourselves act so as to bring about the kind of world we hope for. There is nothing more joyful than living in this way, especially in the company of others.

“ … Be patterns, be examples in all countries, places, islands, nations, wherever you come, that your carriage and life may preach among all sorts of people, and to them; then you will come to walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one.” 

George Fox, 1656 

Our Eco System 

Our Planet Earth is a beautigul living Eco system of which we are a part. 

For me, the essence of my Deep Ecology philosophy means an expression of my connection with the living world, both spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.  I believe that the damage we do to our Earth we do to ourselves, and when we damage ourselves and each other we also damage our Earth. 

When I walk in the Natural World, with deep awareness and respond to gifts I receive, my own healing and conscious response to the ills of the world will, I belive, ripple into collective consciousness and contribute to better things. 

Fear for the countryside

In areas of our countryside environmental changes are happening for different reasons. Several of these being brought about by changes in our weather patterns but also both human and business demands.

The excess rain and river water is affecting the pasture and arable land, which could endanger the continuance of sheep and cattle farming. Both these animals offer so much more than simply their meat to the population.

The pollution of rivers and streams from manufacturing waste, insecticides and throw-away plastic.

Using unsuitable land for the development of housing and accompanying infrastructure needs.

My efforts to support these concerns include 

  • using and reusing waxed paper for wrapping food in the fridge and freezer, and
  • using shampoo which is paraben-free. 

Toxic air

Air pollution is harmful to everyone’s health and there is now strong evidence that this is linked to the development of asthma.  As one of my grandsons suffers from asthma and lives on a main London street this makes the problem very personable to me. It is believed that exposure to air pollution in early life contributes to the development of asthma throughout childhood and adolescence, particularly after age 4 years. Traffic-related air pollution in particular is associated with the development of asthma in school children and can increase the chances of developing asthma in adults as well.

The UK is currently failing to meet its current targets on limiting air pollution. This means that many pollutants that can affect asthma, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulates – from traffic fumes, factories and industrial sites – continue to put people with asthma at risk.

Air pollution can harm anyone. No matter where you live in the UK, pollutants in the air can harm your health. Immediate action is required at a local, national and international level to improve air quality.

Use Your Feet 

Fossil fuels burned in cars are a major contributor to CO2 and other greenhouse gases, leading to climate change and local air pollution.  Those in cars suffer the most from damaging exhaust gases too. 

By leaving our cars at home (even electric cars create some damage to the environment) we are creating a healthier environment for ourselves and for the planet as a whole.

I feel physically healthier and fitter by leaving my car at home. 

Encouragement 

I am an organic allotment holder and gardener. There are wildflower areas, insect homes and flowers in both the allotment and gardens to attract pollinating insects.

My lament is that I don’t hear enough of hedghogs snuffling along, the lazy murmer of bees buzzing – especially in the herb areas – or being able to watch colourful butterflies  or moths fluttering around, ladybirds flying and landing on flowers and vegetables/ fruit, or birds exploring the newly-dug over soil.

As more people become aware of the situation, green verges and roundabout greens are being planted up with bulbs and seeded for perennial flowers. Neighbours are getting together to create hedgehog walkways by making small holes at ground level in fences or gates. All these small actions make a big difference to the wildlife and bring smiles to people’s faces .

Autumn, the forgotten season. 

Autumn signals both the end of the growing season and the breeding season. The increasing unpredictability of the climate means that we are increasingly experiencing both droughts and excessive rain. Trees are both losing their leaves earlier and changing colour later, and I am in danger of losing my favourite season.  

Autumn is important for leaf senescence (the final stage of leaf development when nutrients move from leaves to seeds), fruit ripening (important component of birds diets) and the migration of insects and birds. Droughts are  responsible for leaves falling early while excess rain causes delayed leaf colouring which influences how trees prepare for the coming season. There is a fine balance between carbon sequestered through photosynthesis and carbon lost through respiration. Warmer autumns extend photosynthesis and increases ecosystem respiration. Such changes in carbon dynamics can favour invasive species and pathogens.

The migration patterns of birds and insects is also changing; birds who migrate short distances leave later and birds who migrate further distances leave earlier. These changes affect reproduction patterns, which can lead to an increase in the transmission of diseases within the bird population. The reshuffling of  natural enemies can also alter the ecological dynamics among interactive species. Vulnerable families of birds are at greater risk and there is an increase in the more predatory birds.

Ecosystems are interconnected. More precipitation lowers temperatures and increased temperatures result in less precipitation.  It was recently reported already that deforested  areas in the Amazon are emitting more CO2 than they absorb. Food for thought!

Counting the cost of an early Spring.

Warm spring days, trees blossoming early, migrating birds arriving earlier, frogs, other small animals and insects breeding earlier seem a relief after a gloomy winter. However it comes at a cost to nature. Spring brings with it an increase in air temperature and longer days which are responsible for how organisms calibrate their internal calendars. 

The weather we are experiencing means species disagree as to when Spring has arrived; it upsets their breeding patterns and subsequently food sources for organisms higher up in the food chain. For example: 

  • For hedgehogs coming out of hibernation early, their food source (snails and other insects) are not available and hedgehogs die.
  • The time when caterpillars are at their most abundant has fallen out of sync with breeding birds who rely on them as their food source. This will see an increase in the caterpillar population and a decrease in the number of birds, like the great tit, who feed on them.
  • Fruit trees blossoming earlier lose their blossom to strong winds and late frosts. This means no pollen for pollinating insects, and a decrease in pollination which affects the breeding of insect populations and on birds and other species who will lack fruit and seeds later in the year. 

Being part of this project has increased the anxiety I have for the future for my children and grandchildren. It is important that I lead by example.

Adeiladwch yn Gail!

Build Wisely!

This panel was inspired by the situation in Fairbourne, Gwynedd, where the sea is threatening properties. Our local MP Liz Saville Roberts has been active on raising matters of coastal flood risk, flood management and home insurance for flood risk. I support her in this.

Chocolate and chimpanzees       

This image of chimpanzees shows a female comforting a male who has just lost a fight with another male. It might also symbolise other losses, such as the profound one of habitat loss caused by deforestation. In countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast in west africa this has had a devastating effect on wildlife.

According to a 2018 report from Mighty Earth, vast swathes of tropical rainforest , equivalent to 15,000 football fields, were cut down in the  cocoa-growing region of Ivory Coast alone in less than a year. The destruction of rainforest for the purpose of growing cocoa feeds the chocolate habits of millions of people around the world. 

Most of us don’t know where the cocoa in our chocolate comes from and a complicated system of certification makes it difficult to track. Although Leading chocolate manufacturers have pledged to halt the destruction but few have made good on their promises. An exception is a new young company called Love Cocoa, owned and run by James Cadbury. It is pledging to plant 500,000 trees as part of the Trees for the Future campaign. For every chocolate bought, a tree will be planted for cocoa farmers in northern Cameroon. In addition, Love Cocoa gives 10% of its profits to the Rainforest Foundation. James Cadbury is pressing for more transparency in the supply chains from cocoa bean to confectionary.

We can all make sure that our chocolate is ethically sourced and produced by looking for the fair trade label and avoiding the products of the large confectionary companies.

Australian camel

 Camels were imported into Australia by British settlers in the early 19th Century  to help build railways across the desert . Since then feral camels have multiplied so that by 2008 there were over 1 million feral camels in Australia, with numbers continuing to rise.

Droughts in the last few years brought large groups of camels into towns and villages in search of water, where they damaged buildings and were seen as threatening humans as well as competing with humans and livestock for water. Thousands of camels were culled in January 2020. 

Average temperatures in Australia have risen markedly in recent years, as have extremes of weather and by the time the drought broke in February, bringing floods to many areas, the over a billion animals were thought to have perished, probably including a many insect species that may have become extinct. 

It’s too late to stop this, but we can still avoid the worst if we take fast and radical measures to stop burning carbon and extracting coal and oil and change our agriculture and lifestyles and the economic systems that underpin them. I will press politicians and companies to do this. 

Fields

The message I wanted to convey is that intensive farming is driving nature out of the countryside.  

We have become a member of a local wildlife trust.  We take advice given in the bird magazine and preserve natural spaces in our garden and our locality.

Ancient Woodlands  

Time slows in the ancient woodlands, nestled amongst the rocks in the valley between the fields. I rest and notice the sunlight painting hypnotic patterns of light and dark on the moss-scented earth. In this hushed place, words drift like dandelion seeds in the air between the gnarled trees, ready to be caught by those who listen: “Will you hear the whispered wisdom of the wild? It is time to come home” 

Woods in the Lake District

I had just started to think about this project when I read paragraph 20.22 of Quaker Faith and Practice .

Luke Cocks was a butcher and an early Quaker. He describes how he was led, bit by bit, to follow the Quaker way, to speak Truth, to to speak plain language, to bear a testimony against tithes, and to testify to “the Hand that had done all this for me.”

I love trees, and I know that I have played my part in using and abusing them, especially in being profligate with my use of paper.

 Partly through this project I have taken small steps towards a more sustainable life style.  I have greatly reduced my use of kitchen paper by using rags from old clothes, as my mother did.  I re-use scrap paper, not least to make templates and patterns for embroidery projects, and instead of buying a note pad to put by the phone.  Compared with Luke Cock’s journey these are very small steps and cost me nothing, but they are steps, nonetheless.

Waste Not, Want Not

The start of the Covid-19 lockdown made me even more aware of our dependence on local resources. For some time my household has tried to avoid buying food flown in from distant parts of the world, to reduce our carbon footprint, and I have been concerned at our dependance on transport and the fragile just-in-time economy. We need to build local resilience – socially and ecologically, and the pandemic reinforced this. 

This panel was made out of things we had lying around the house many of which were no longer useful for their original purpose. Pockets cut out of worn-out garments, electric wires and odd buttons and various other odds and ends which might otherwise have been thrown away.  The magpie who loves shiny things, and the people’s faces emerged by themselves as I played with them; and there is still a rich stock of items that will be useful later on. 

For a more sustainable future we are going to have to make do with what there is to hand much more. It will be important that everyone’s basic needs are met, but many of us we can happily do without a lot of the stuff we expected to have, and not going shopping gives time for other things . 

Reducing my waste and not buying what I don’t need are habits I hope to keep.