Thursday 29 June 2017

Bicycle rain poncho for Project Glow Wear

I've just finished a huge project: a rain poncho for Martin to wear whilst cycling :-)

It was prompted by Project Glow Wear: a competition put on by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to encourage people to make clothing and accessories that include reflective elements.  They provided reflective fabric to all entrants (something I'd never even thought to investigate how to buy) which was definitely what tipped me over into deciding to enter.

Tuesday 27 June 2017

The bears are back :-)

Last year I wrote about the many hours I spent engrossed by the activities of the bears at Brooks Falls in Alaska.  I've been keenly watching the feed in recent days and weeks, waiting for them to reappear.  Today, there they were!  There don't seem to be any salmon yet, but I have seen a mum with three cubs checking out the possibilities :-)

Click on the image below to join me in watching (if you don't see an image, try here instead).


Wednesday 21 June 2017

Separating thoughts from feelings

A while back my dad introduced me to the blog of Lynne Baab: a Presbyterian minister who, until recently, has been lecturing in pastoral theology at the University of Otago.  She's recently been running a series that I've found really, really helpful.

In it she shares how she's come to realise that negative thoughts she struggles with are often presentations of strong emotions she wasn't really aware she was feeling.  In the first post she describes what a difference learning to recognise and more appropriately respond to those emotions has made in her life.  She argues that doing so is
a Christian spiritual practice because it helps me bring my feelings into God’s presence, as modeled in the Psalms. It helps me love and serve God more fully because I am less distracted by negative thoughts and feelings.
I realised that I, too, often struggle with negative and disturbing thoughts (most commonly in the form of an emphatic conviction that I'm a bad person who deserves to have bad things happen to me), and that these, too, often arise out of feelings of fear, pain, resentment etc.  Would her discoveries help me, too, to love and serve God more fully?

Wednesday 7 June 2017

We could all sleep in one bathroom

I've recently read Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo.  It's a true story following the lives of a number of people in Mumbai, India, who live in a slum near the international airport.  The title comes from the billboard at one edge of their slum, which promises 'Beautiful Forevers' to those passing through the airport.  There was much that was challenging in the book, but the thing that really got me was the size of the dwellings.

The main family we follow in the book live in a hut so small that several family members sleep outside every night.  There is simply not enough space on the floor for the whole family to lie down flat.

If you removed the bath from just one of our bathrooms, there would be plenty of space for all three people who live in my house to lie flat.  And that's just considering one of our bathrooms - we have a separate toilet, another bathroom, three double bedrooms, a separate kitchen and a large lounge/dining area as well!  No one in our house is going to be sleeping on the bathroom floor any time soon; let alone under the stars.

When brought up short by realities like this, I sometimes wonder if we should just give everything away.

Thursday 1 June 2017

The Zero Carbon Act

I've recently been looking at the Zero Carbon Act prepared by Generation Zero, and I'm pretty excited by it.  They've drafted an Act of Parliament that, if adopted, would set in place plans to enable NZ to get to carbon neutrality by 2050.

I'm really pleased that someone is doing this work :-)  We see climate change as one of the biggest near-term threats to the flourishing of our global neighbours, so it's really exciting to see people doing solid work to try and prevent it.

They've basically taken an existing UK act of parliament (from 2008, no less!) and altered it a bit to take into consideration New Zealand's unusual carbon emissions profile.  Whilst for most countries the majority of greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide itself, around half of ours come from the methane and nitrous oxide produced by the agricultural sector.  The different kinds of gases last in the atmosphere for differing lengths of time, so they propose a 'two baskets' approach where the long-lived ones have to be down to zero by 2050 but there is a bit more leeway on the short-lived ones.

The act would require the government to not only set legally binding greenhouse gas emission targets but to set 5-year 'pathways' for how to get there, plus there'd be a Commission to oversee the process.  It also requires the government to identify the challenges a changing climate will bring to New Zealand and figure out ways to adapt to them, and requires them to help our Pacific neighbours to do the same.

If you think that all sounds like a good idea, please 'sign' Generation Zero's petition here.  Your signature will enable Generation Zero to demonstrate that these ideas have popular support.  The petition will be presented to the new parliament after September's general election.