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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rigz

Small Changes That Last and Stuff I Think

The Blue Mountains National Park
View of The Blue Mountains National Park

I live in The Blue Mountains in NSW.

Right now I’m looking out my bedroom window and the smoke from surrounding fires is getting a bit thicker. This has been pretty much standard for the last…month at least?

So far this summer I have packed my car 3 times ready to leave if we need to because of fire. This is new for me as I’ve only been living in the mountains for 3 years and fire wasn’t a real threat on the south coast.

Now I’m not trying to be a drama queen or sensationalise the issue. I’m bringing it up because it’s new for me, has been frightening and stressful at times and it’s also come to my attention that the state is on fire and that this is not exactly normal for anyone…though maybe it’s a tad more relatable for the Blue Mountains community.

Our neighbour casually mentioned in conversation the other week how many houses on the street are “new because they burnt to the ground”.

So if there was ever a time for the human community to really think about climate change, now is a good one.

People are wearing smoke masks to work in Sydney because the smoke is apparently as bad as smoking a pack of 40’s a day.

It’s almost a taaaaad bit like our reality is starting to look like a fucked up sci-fi film…yaaaaay!

And let’s not even get started on the bunch of god damn fucking arse clowns that are running the country and world (with the exception of NZ maybe?). That is a conversation for another time unless you want to be reading this for the rest of your day.

So it’s all feeling a bit overwhelming and in my experience, when something feels overwhelming the majority of people can’t cope with getting involved in a battle that feels like a losing one because life is already effortlessly hectic and stressful.

Fair enough.

So I want to start a conversation about the things we can do to help the climate and environmental crisis that we’ve all found ourselves in.

I feel a bit weird writing this as I’m not a scientist or climate expert and don't normally comment on it.

I’m just sharing my thoughts and the things that I’m doing to try and combat this feeling of:

“our country is being run by criminal arse clowns who probably don’t even realise there are citizens on this continent to give a shit about. The climate is freaking out, there’s smoke and fires everywhere, our global and national systems are not sustainable for the possibility of a future for our species and I’m just a little old musician who feels like they can’t do a fucking thing about it”.

Now, the actual thing I wanted to share is this.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been experimenting with making big changes to my health, diet, lifestyle ect.

One thing I’ve noticed is that trying to make big changes all in one hit almost always does not last.

I’m thinking this is pretty relatable yeah?

Like “I’m going to try this new exciting fad diet” that lasts for a week before you can’t keep up with it.

Or “I’m going to exercise everyday”, until you remember that you’re more time poor than a mayfly…and exercise is kinda balls…

What I have found is that if I try lots of different small things I can often commit to one small change at a time and these small changes stick and add up into significant lasting changes.

Like how I tried to have a regular exercise routine once every 6 months for like 10 years that I NEVER stuck with, until I engineered a walking desk made out of a treadmill and now I walk for about 3-6km a day while I study, work, and read.

Now the reason I’m crapping on about this is because this “baby steps” approach is something I’m implementing not only to my health/ work life/ life in general, but also to the way our household operates and how environmentally friendly it is.

I want to share this for a few reasons:

1. It’s a rewarding feeling when you can make positive changes that last, it’s good for your mental health

2. Making big changes to our lifestyles is overwhelming for people, that’s why most of the time they don’t last, and we want this shit to last because we don’t want the human race to be extinct (now all you debatable mother fuckers who are like “yeah but maybe we do?”, I get your head space, but that is also a conversation for another time).

3. Oddly, the only way we can move forward as a species is to move forward together. We are, for lack of a better term, pack animals. We thrive on our combined knowledge and skill set and we need to learn how to inspire and encourage each other to make positive changes. Otherwise what are we trying to save and good luck with that!

A lot of people are angry that other people won’t just knuckle the fuck down and live the way they want them to by instantly changing their family’s lifestyles overnight.

Now if you know me or have read any of my story you may know that I have recovered from a history of radicalism and religious extremism and I can smell that shit coming before most people literally even know it is a thing that exists.

Now you can dress that sort of thing up however the fuck you like, you can make it as left wing and green as you like, but if you are hateful and nasty and self-righteous and need to tear other people down for not living like you are today then you need to hush for a time and hand that information over to the real teachers and mentors.

I’m not saying that what you believe in is wrong. It’s likely got a lot of truth and helpful, factual information in it.

What I’m saying is that if you are hateful and nasty to people to try and bully them into living like you want them to you are being an abuser and dressing it up in a way that makes you comfortable.

I will also bet my house on the fact that your motivations are about your fragile ego and not actually helping a cause.

Healthy, well-adjusted people will not listen to you. So you need to deal with your hate and let the evolved teachers carry your message until you are ready to teach instead of being hateful. Because the world has enough of that, and we’re all sick of it.

Also, I’m not saying this applies to politicians, maybe I’m wrong here, but in 2019 this is my personal belief.

They are criminals. They know what they are doing. They do not care about us and we need people who are level and loud to confront the criminal system of politics, like Greta Thunberg (yay).

But most of us are not strategically selling out the planet so we can suck the dicks of corporations that keep us in power and control over other humans.

Most of us are kind of just the result of the unhealthy western society that has been created by the corrupt powers that be and then in turn enabled by us.

This is a pretty difficult cycle to break, but we need to, so let’s try, one small and lasting step at a time if that’s all you can manage today.

I’ll tell you about my small steps that have lasted, which are not enough but at least they are lasting.

I’ll make more. When I look back I’ll have made such a huge, lasting change by doing it gradually and in a way that I can make work.

And work for the rest of my life and hopefully pass onto my kids, and their kids, you see where I’m going?

I bought reusable bags for my fruit and veg instead of using the plastic bags they give you at supermarkets.

I shop at supermarkets as little as is possible for us.

We don’t really use cling wrap anymore, we store left over food in containers no matter how small it is.

I cut out meat where I can, I’d say I’ve cut about 50% of meat from my diet, not by trying to become a vegetarian, just by asking myself “could I do this without meat?”, and almost all of the time I can make that shift.

I don’t eat a kilo a week of commercial honey anymore, I use stevia.

Now the point here isn’t that I’m a climate hero, the point is that I find that I’ve made some positive environmental changes to my lifestyle by doing small things that last. Just like I have done with my health and digging my life out of an unimaginable hole of shit.

And if anyone has any other tips of little things I can start doing that will all add up to a big shift, please leave that gem in the comments for all of us…in a friendly manner.

Thanks for reading XXX

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