This question is one I have been asking myself in recent weeks. How do I – as a white person who enjoys various kinds of privilege – respond to the challenges the Black Lives Matter posts? After weeks (or years) of listening and reading, I’m now going to try to write something that picks up some aspects that worry me, and some challenges I’ve set for myself.
Writing a garden diary each month gives me a rhythm and frame. But sometimes plants unfold and live in quite different timescales.
Gardening in the time of Coronavirus: watching changes in minute detail. As spring arrived the garden leapt into life, I cleared away last year’s dead growth, and moved to home working.
This month felt little more than a horticultural interregnum. A pause. As though the garden froze in January, awaiting a spring thaw in March.
The palette of January is brown, pin-pricked with whites and greens.
Inspired by Rebecca Willis’ research, and some of the Extinction Rebellion actions I joined, I decided over Christmas to try to engage my local MP on the climate crisis. One of Willis’ findings was that, because MPs rarely hear from their constituents about the climate crisis, they don’t feel much pressure to prioritise it. So in the lull after Boxing Day I wrote to Steve Reed, MP for Croydon North. After he replied, I asked to meet him at his surgery to talk to him about this in person. What follows is my (long!) letter, what happened when I met with him, and some thoughts on what I might do next, with a plea for suggestions. My letter took me a while to write. I didn’t want to just rehearse the standard arguments, and I knew that he – in theory at least – acknowledges the issues. So I decided…
In her lovely book ‘Life in the Garden’, Penelope Lively describes gardening as “the conquest of nature, the harnessing of nature to a purpose”, and “the creation of an ordered state where nature would insist on disorder”. I find this a curious view, especially from somebody who has spent a lifetime with her fingers in the soil, and observing gardens. Admittedly many gardening fashions over the years have sought to shape nature to a pastiche of the sublime, the picturesque, or the de-natured geometric. The dominant ethos of suburban gardening until quite recently was to spray nature into submission, leaving only manicured flowers to poison unsuspecting insects. This was the “ordered state” to which gardeners aspired. But whether at the level of a petal, a plant or a whole garden, I find in nature’s design the most complex and fascinating ordered state. One that emerges of its own accord, and…
I recognised the rot all too often, yet chose to ignore it.
I dealt with boredom and unhappiness in my A-levels by playing with computers and algorithms.
Following my previous blog post about the Young Greens and lots of discussion with friends and fellow party members, I want to set out clearly why ecology defines my philosophical basis rather than social and environmental justice.
To avoid misunderstandings from the outset, I think social and environmental justice are important, but they don’t define my political philosophy.
The new philosophical basis of the Green Party says:
A system based on inequality and exploitation is threatening the future of the planet on which we depend, and encouraging reckless and environmentally damaging consumerism…. The Green Party is a party of social and environmental justice, which supports a radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole.
This sounds great! What could be wrong with that? I hope I might persuade you why I don’t think it is quite right, or at least encourage more thought and debate about political philosophy and the precise meaning of different terms.