Lest we forget everything

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Lest we forget that wars and violence are still happening, that civilians are affected too, that the combatants who come home are often invisibly damaged, that our governments fail to ethically and successfully care for those who flee. Lest we forget those who drowned on the way to Gallipoli or seeking refuge from conflict, lest we forget the non-human victims of violence, lest we forget the genocidal wars of colonisation and the Indigenous people who died protecting country. Lest we forget (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine). Lest we forget that there are people who profit from war and that peace is a much harder struggle.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning I will remember _all of them_.

Over on Facebook I posted my thoughts on ANZAC Day. It’s amazing how I can imply stronger sentiments than Yassmin Abdel-Magied did last year but because I am white (and not a celebrity) I won’t be vilified or made so uncomfortable that I have to leave Australia as a result. That said, I might not be let back into Australia again. I obviously don’t love coal as much as a good Australian should, I have many opinions and oh yeah, I’m granddaughter of a refugee.

Here’s what, peace and non-violence is a struggle. In my own home disagreements sprout over who cleans the bathroom and what does clean actually mean and grow into anger whether my spouse and I are fairly dividing the emotional labour of household management and infertility. Only yesterday morning I kicked the wall out of frustration and hormones, but because peace is an on-going work in progress we hugged before I left for work and I was offered a foot massage in the evening. This is just the challenge of maintaining peace between two people who love each other most of the time. Keeping peace going between ethnicities, genders, religions and nations is a far sight harder but it doesn’t mean it stops being work worth doing.

Days of recognition and rememberance like ANZAC Day are important but we need to do the work of keeping the peace that lives were sacrificed for. On ANZAC Day I think about my 21 year old paternal great-uncle whose plane was shot down in Belgium days short of the end of World War One. He didn’t die so that more wars could be fought, he died while working so that other people could live in peace, so that countryside could be productive and beautiful rather than a battlefield. I recognise that some¬† motivations for acts of war are ironically about achieving peace, but there are so many other ways of getting to, keeping and maintaing peace.

Lest we forget.

Dream It: Tiny Eggs Fried With Home Made Gas?

Some of you might be aware that Tim and I are planning a move (back) to Western Australia over the next couple of years in order to have a stronger connection to the earth and our family. I’ve been living in Europe for more than a decade and Tim has spent over half his life in Linz and we want to maintain our connections here, but it is time to get back to our roots. Our niece and nephew are growing up a town over from our planned destination and it will be amazing to be closer to our parents and siblings even if Australian ideas of “close” still mean half a day’s travel or more.

It will also be a chance for us to keep our fingers dirty more of the time and to build a flourishing home and garden system that is resilient against climate and socio-political changes. While we are both involved in making and growing things on a regular basis at home and within community spaces, the window sills of our apartment only offer so much growing area that is truly ours.

In particular, there are some permaculture-related goals that we want to put in play but which don’t work in our current location. While we have a worm farm that makes use of some of our food scraps and use renewable energy (go Austria!), we are still heavily dependent on municipal systems for the rest of our organic waste, on (regional) supply chains for food and would be very vulnerable if the electricity grid failed. Having more influence on our waste-management and energy systems and providing animal protein for us and our family in an ethical and scale appropriate way are responsibilities we’d like to take on. But generally, I’ve been considering the idea of a productive and resilient peri-urban block as just a hypothetical idea for the last months

So it is pretty funny, and at the same time an important step when one of those dreams became a fixed puzzle piece. One night last week we followed up on a Kickstarter project and spontaneously invested in a small bio gas system so that we can turn our future kitchen waste into fuel for cooking. I’ve been intrigued by anaerobic digestion for years and my interest grew when a friend I met on a permaculture course described how she fried her breakfast eggs using biogas. It must have been that vision and the crowdfunding head rush that prompted me to then back another Kickstarter for information about raising quails and plans to build the world’s best quail tractor system.


quail eggs
Quail Eggs! They are just glorious miracles as they are – but seriously that fried quail egg on nettle soup was so wonderful it made me want to keep my own quails. I already want to plant nettles in my garden – that is non-negotiable. Photo: Ruslan (2012) CC BY-SA 2.0

Apparently the biogas breakfast idea connected with another fond memory of being served nettle soup with a tiny fried quail egg on top. So there you have it, we are slowly turning dreams into at least the puzzle pieces of the life we will have in the future.

Of course, every action sets off a new change of questions and decisions – when one has multiple options beyond the municipal organic waste bin,¬† how does one prioritise where their waste goes? What goes to the worms or the quails and what goes straight to the bio-gas digester? How best to site and shield a biogas unit for year-round gas production (output drops in the cooler months) and even though it won’t explode, ensure that it is safely managed in a high-fire risk region?

And maybe more importantly, there is the question of how best to remain in the now when such exciting future plans become more real. Though that can simply be answered through caring for my current home system including worms and Seagull the Cat, who will have to stay here in Austria.