Posts Tagged Jack’s Tale
I’m very excited this week to present my first guest blogger: Alberta Ross. Alberta is author of the Sefuty Chronicles; a series of dystopian books set in a world following catasprophic climate change. As part of her tour for the third book in the series, Jack’s Tale, she is writing as guest on the ‘Review.
It’s an honour to have Alberta write for me this week, so without further ado, I shall hand you over…
A Personal Shade of Green – by Alberta Ross
Gareth has let me in here as I take my Sefuty Chronicles on a book tour. I have written, indeed still am writing, a post apocalyptic dystopian series on the after effects of extreme climate change. There are as many scenarios as to our future as there are versions of history. Mine is just one. It is dependent on us running out of resources in the south of the globe and having limited resources in the North.
I have been ‘green’ for a few decades now – consciously since the early 1980s and really I suppose all my life in some form or other. Brought up straight after World War 2 it was an era of rationing, compost heaps, recycle and reuse. I remember my father’s string box (large, everything back then seemed to be tied with string not Sellotape) every inch collected and knotted to the previous. My mother darning socks endlessly – I was in my time a champion darner! Fruit picking and bottling, veg growing – chicken raising (Boxing Day and Easter treats! No £2 chickens then) I have always had a slightly parsimonious soul.
When I set off on my travels around the world I always preferred overland as one could get the feel of the changes of landscape and culture better. Travelling always on a shoestring also meant less air travel, the time of cheap flights via the internet was well into the future. Green because that’s how it was and then as I say in the 80s green from conviction.
Most of you reading this will be a variety of shades of ‘green’ with a common interest in ‘saving the planet’. But just how much difference can we make as individuals?
I am writing a post apocalyptic series of novels about life after extreme climate change has wrecked the world. My vision of civilisation’s collapse! Ignited I suspect in one of my glummer moments.
How green am I, are you? Some folks garner our admiration, those who have stepped off the grid, live by their own sweat and not only go barefoot but hover just above the soil leaving no footprint. I do admire them and know I fall short.
I love my terrible computer/printer/iPod/mobile phone/radio/car sort of in that order. If my vegetables are eaten by bugs or struggle against the weather I nip into the village for replacements. I buy too many books and now I have an e-reader download too many! Although my annual mileage is now below 4000 I don’t want to give up the freedom the car gives me.
I make choices which not only include carbon footprints but all the other peripherals to green living, ethics, morality and safety. These last do complicate the matter.
I try to buy organic food because? Animal welfare should be better (I should have said at the beginning I’m an old lady and have learnt a fair amount of cynicism in my life); the condition and heart of our oh so thin covering of soil should be better. But then do I buy organic from abroad over the UK non organic, better still local; jobs for the Brits, jobs for our neighbours but not organic, which? Take an organization which makes Fair Trade chocolate as a side line to its ordinary chocolate – does one buy the Fair Trade knowing the other is made with at best exploitive work practices at worst slave trade and stolen children? Or take a cosmetic firm which has a natural non-tested on animal range along side its more dubious powders and potions – do you put money in their coffers?
Life is full of choices such as these. We can rant at government’s lack of political will, that’s easy. Yell at the radio/TV when we hear the latest idiocy, easy. Throw up hands in horror at the latest exposé, even easier. It is so easy to know what should be done, so difficult to do.
Take plastic bags (beloved of one of my characters in the second book, 100 years in the future
‘I thought about his words and decided that if a material would never rot, it couldn’t be classed as a nuisance but a blessing.’ The Storyteller’s Tale.
Of course this is set in a time of resource famine. But a plastic bag or a cotton for life bag? Resources for manufacture of both will trash the planet but the cotton probably faster. One will be manufactured in factories – what work ethics? Cotton production is still mired in unethical practices world wide. The Aral Sea is almost dead and gone because of the intensive use of water for the growing of the crop and the chemicals from the manufacture of it leaching into what lake is left. Plastic/cotton? They can both be reused and the cotton can be composted and will rot fairly quickly, leaching chemicals into the earth as it does, and the plastic will eventually decades later enter the food chain. Which to choose?
I like cotton to wear and thought I was being ‘good’ until I found out about the issues. Now I feel obliged to recycle the old instead of buying the new. But I put precarious lives at risk of loosing employment.
Can one individual save the world?
Can many save the world in the time we have allotted to us to do so?
Should you and I shout at the politicians for not having the political will for thinking past the next elections? Can we, justifiably, if we are all reading this online? What about our usage of electricity, of the data banks of server providers’ use of electricity? I switch off as I am sure many of you do too. We are few; the computer data bases are many.
Councils are forced into lip service to recycle and what a minefield that is! Which plastic? Which ‘can’ goes into which bin? We buy less plastic bags, begin to reject excess packaging. Are we insisting on food grown in this country i.e. green beans from here not from Africa? Do we always eat in season? No more tomatoes in winter, strawberries in April. Do we insist on paying the proper price for food or do we always want cheap out of season flown in at vast carbon expense food? Do we update our ‘toys’ when a shinier one arrives. Do we trash our clothes at the end of the season or treasure them?
How ‘green’ are we all really? Are our choices mere pin pricks? Do my underground rainwater collector and 13 water butts make me ‘green’? Does the fact that I compost and recycle everything in the garden make me ‘green’? How much of a contribution to saving the world from climate change does my disconnecting the computer make?
Will it help to change anything? Of course it will.
Will it be in time to halt climate change? No.
Will it be in time to prevent the catastrophic events I write about in The Sefuty Chronicles?
Maybe. Hopefully. Fingers crossed and please do not let the following wind die and becalm us.
I am hopeful, why? I am an incurable optimist. I see and hear the younger members of society caring. I believe in the goodness of humanity and stand in awe at how ‘clever’ Homo sapiens can be (for goodness’ sake isn’t that why we are in this mess after all!)
So in The Sefuty Chronicles my bunch of survivors, a handful admittedly – I did kill 8 billion before the books even started! – continue humanity onward, hopefully. I found I couldn’t extinguish Homo sapiens completely; I have fiddled with their genetics a trifle, just to help them along! I hope we find a way to continue on this planet, it would be a shame if we make ourselves extinct!
I spent the first part of my adult life travelling the world, the middle years studying and now have settled down to write. From the first part I have endless photographs, memories and friends. From the second I have a BSc Hons, an MA and friends. Now in this part everything comes together.
Over the years my interests have expanded, as has my book and music collection. A short list would include reading (almost anything) science, opera, folk, gardening, philosophy, crazy patchwork, freeform crochet, ethics, social history, cooking (and eating of course) gardening, anthropology, climate change and sustainability.
My parents gave me, apart from a love of reading and music, an interest and curiosity in everything which in itself has become a total inability to be bored and for this I am always grateful.