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Climate Stories Winner: ACspecials

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A climate strategy

Moonee Valley Climate Stories Competition Winner

Category: Open Adults (over 19 years of age)

I became conscious that I was saving the world in my mid 30’s. I took it upon myself to develop habits true to my ideals. Habits that only those in my household may notice. I was never confident to share or speak about them as I may be considered unstable, i.e. mentally ill or health as it is politely labeled these days.

To make things worse, I began to believe that I was the unrecognised savior. All those in direct contact with the almighty had been men; typical of the patriarch. I made it my life goal to save mother earth from the men in grey i.e. capitalist making profit from limited resources. Those whose only interest was to generate and propagate their own wealth and status so they can feel powerful. Carefully I plotted how to save the planet. How could I affect people’s habits to change industry demand.

My love of trees began with shade but soon moved to breath, scent and magnitude. Monuments of magnificence, standing tall, clutching onto mother for safety and survival, fingering through her surface to claim space for its distinguished presence. My respect grew further with their lifespan being way beyond human capability. The birthing trees, saved by the Djab Wurrung people of central Victoria in and around Ararat, are 800 yrs old. They were to be cleared for extra lanes on the highway connecting Melbourne to Adelaide. More cars, more pollution another climate change problem.

The revelation to “save the tree” came to me in India when a unionist from the tea plantations took me to spend the night with his family. He wanted to ask me a personal question. Was it true that people in the west- even if I was from the “great southern land”- wiped with paper rather than washed. He was disgusted with such a habit. We were even worse in Australia as bidets were an obscure commodity. I adapted to washing easily in India, saved carrying paper as most western travelers. I bought the habit back to OZ but tried to conceal it even from my housemates. When they repeatedly complained that I never bought toilet paper I had to tell them. Didn’t they notice those rags floating in the sunlight that I dried with. They were horrified that my hands could touch shit and more so to know that I washed my hands after the morning bog. Then any dishes that were standing at the sink since my hands were wet.

I couldn’t bear the thought of wiping my arse on trees. They thought I was obsessed which I was. Proclaiming the destruction of forests due to our toilet trained habit. Tissue paper wipes, nicely trimmed, picked from a nicely packaged box or roll. Rags were way out of fashion. I insisted that global warming was also due to logging, trees make tissue paper. They didn’t want to hear this crap, rather my crap. What if 90% of the world’s human inhabitants used tissue paper? The poor in most economic deprived countries washed. I wasn’t the only one in OZ to wash, all the Muslim population had to wash by Islamic law.

I sighed with relief when I didn’t have to stock up on toilet paper in covid times or any other panic stricken occasion. I am never stressed by the thought of not having paper to wipe my bum. It was so simple to wash my rag used for drying every 2 or 3 days and hang it in the sun. That’s the important part, the sun spot, or waiting for the sun to spot onto the rag. In public places I used toilet paper otherwise I’d have to carry or find a container for water. A handkerchief to dry is quite simple to carry. After washing becomes a habit there’s no turning back coz you feel a hell of a lot cleaner.

Last week, I delightfully awoke to a row of handkerchieves crowding my rag sun spot. My household had decided it was a cost saving measure as they were not earning much money during covid. I glowed with the thought of forests not sacrificed for the consumer saturated economy.

Winning story by anonymous author known by pen name –  ACSpecials