First off, Happy New Year (if it's not too late to still be wishing you such a thing on 8th January?!).
I'll admit, this is the first #Write52 post I've put off - despite my out-of-office only being switched off on the 6th, I could and should have written this post last week. But I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by it all and I didn't really know where to start (probably why I've opted for the standard [overused/trite?] option of a New Year's greeting).
Like many of you, I'm sure, I've been keeping an eye on the devastating bushfires in Australia wrecking havoc to many people's lives and pushing fabulous creatures perilously close to extinction. And being left with a sense of utter uselessness. The Australian government has been repeatedly warned by scientists that record-breaking temperatures and months of drought would contribute to bushfires becoming more frequent and more intense. Yet little seems to be being done.
And unless you've been living under a rock for the past 18 months, I'm pretty sure you'll all know who Greta Thunberg is by now – an inspirational 17-year-old climate activist from Sweden (also known as Sharon!). She has really propelled the climate emergency to the forefront of all our minds with her straight-talking, no-nonsense approach and her chilling warnings of what's to come for our beautiful planet. And while there's no denying she is an inspiration and I find her compelling, she can sometimes make me feel utterly useless. Again. I admire her conviction to never board a plane and to stop eating meat, but I do worry that her black-and-white approach will put many of us off.
So, yes, I was feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. But then I came across this lovely cartoon on the Lazy Environmentalists Facebook page and it gave me a kick up the proverbial.
On our family mission to #DitchThePlastic, we're seeking out our new normal. To Izzy, it's utterly normal to use washable nappies, wipes and kitchen towel, have milk delivered or indeed avoid using single-use plastic altogether. She doesn't bat an eyelid when I ask her to put waste paper in the recycling bin rather than the "black" bin. To her ever-expanding but not-yet-three-year-old mind, these are all normal things. But to many of us, these changes can seem daunting. We get frustrated with ourselves if we go out for the day but find we've left our refillable water bottle at home. I do at least. And then I agonise over buying a bottle of water so I don't get a headache from dehydration, but then berate myself all over again.
If we let these little set-backs get to us, we could be paralysed into doing nothing and that would be far more devastating than having to buy the odd bottle of water every now and then. We've still got time to make a difference and make a difference we shall.
I'd like to sign off this week with a little cheer for two childhood friends of mine who have recently become new mums: Izzy and Elizabeth. These wonderful ladies are also seeking out their new normal in amongst the new-mum madness so that their daughters can enjoy this beautiful planet we call home. It's been so heartening to rekindle our friendship over a mutual love of cloth nappies, and I'm utterly overjoyed to hear that they feel empowered to talk positively about cloth to their wider circle of friends. I say to you both, you're wonderful.