Time travel – backwards to Environmental Innocence.

Saturday 1456 – 1st Sept 2012.

I’ve been travelling all day today and am now safely ensconced in the Trossachs.. Oh er missus!!  (sorry private joke! ) in Scotland using an internet connection that seems to have come out of the ark.. Do many of you remember dial-up? well it’s like that a bit – very slow and your allowed 20 mins slots before you get cut off and have to log on again.. I could use my little netbook but that would probably be even worse.

Anyway back to what I’m going to write about.. I seem to be on a bit of a nostalgia trip at the moment.. lots of self re-assessment/reflection going on. Last week I gave you railways, this week I’m going to talk about the start of my involvement with the Environmental movement and show you some photos from that time.. and just take a look at the hairstyles and HUGE glasses…hilarious..

These photos are from 1989-95 when I lived in the Republic of Ireland and was involved in the founding of a local group of Earthwatch, who were like the Irish equivalent of Friends of the Earth at that time.

We kept a scrapbook and when I looked through it a couple of days ago I thought how amateurish it all was but heartfelt nonetheless as a small group of us were passionate about helping to save this beautiful planet.

This was me as Chairperson giving an interview to the local paper; saying things like –

” We try to encourage a positive attitude – to think about what can be done rather than what can’t”

and me stressing the

” Importance of caution in buying ‘environmentally-friendly ‘products. People need to make sure they aren’t being conned”

and

” nothing is as powerful as consumer pressure”

I could have said all this yesterday !!

I’m not going to add too many words ( I can’t because of this blooming computer! ) but will just give you the photos from the scrapbook and obviously they’re not great quality.. there’s an understatement! as most of them are newspaper cuttings.

Here are some of the other members of the committee with Patricia McKenna  of Ireland’s Green Party with at the back my 2 dear friends Mary and Marleen who this post is really for. Love you two 😀

We were involved in many different campaigns but I’ve picked 4 of my favourites to highlight.. plastic bottles, Sellafield, can recycling and donating environmental children’s books to the library.

We laboriously joined plastic P.E.T bottles together to make a snake for a St Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992 and had our very own St Patrick to drive the snake out of Ireland ( for my overseas followers who may not know, there are no snakes in Ireland and legend has it that St Patrick drove them out ) When this photo was taken 74 Million P.E.T – The large bomb-like plastic soft drinks  bottles, were being manufactured in Ireland.

We won 1st prize for best cultural float and  £200 but I don’t recall what we did with the money specifically though either Mary or Marlene may remember.

Sellafield protest against what was a proposal at the time for a 2nd nuclear facility.

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I think Earthwatch Cavan can be proudest of the hard-fought battle to bring recycling to the town in the form of a can bank which initially was serviced by members of the groups but which was eventually taken over by a local business.  It seems hard to imagine now but at the time this was a very big thing indeed. Note much squinting into the sun !

The giving of Environmental children’s books to the local library brought me enormous personal pleasure and we did this twice – education is key..

.I’m going to leave you with this list that we had published in 1989… more important than ever before now…

Raising awareness has been a long uphill struggle which sadly has to go on and my naivity has gone.. I see now that the fight is much bigger – against governments and huge corporations but I still believe that each and everyone of us can make a difference.

Watch out for the earth – our children’s lives depend on it.

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and  you will think about what you might be able to do yourself for our wonderful world; especially politically as every little helps.

Do your own research but think about supporting groups like Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth you won’t ever be sorry you did.

Next week’s post will almost certainly not be published until about Monday as I will probably be travelling Saturday and Sunday and may not have access to the internet.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.

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Ireland revisited

 

Saturday 1498 -12th November 2011

Another Saturday, Another flight, Another Country.  You’ll be thinking I’m a bit of a jet setter but I can assure you I’m not, this will be the last flight for a while I’m sure.  It’s just coincidence that I happened to be in Venice last weekend.

This time it’s County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland via Belfast Airport. I’m with beloved son who is staying with his paternal grandmother for 4 days while I visit lots of lovely friends that I came to know over the 25 years that I lived there.

I have long since learned ( probably because I have worked with a lot of people who are at the end of their lives) that it isn’t things/possessions that matter but the quality of the relationships you have with people. I am lucky enough to be able to keep contact with my Irish friends even though I haven’t visited for several years ( Isn’t the internet a wonderful invention ! ) and to just pick up where I left off with them all as though I had never been away.

While I was in Ireland I thought I would take the opportunity to revisit the house my ex husband and I built. I had lived in this house ( or at least on this spot) for 25 years.   Below are 2 photographs of the side aspect of the house. The 1st was taken in May 2005, not long before I left Ireland, and the second was taken today; 12.11.11. The people who kindly bought my house (just before property prices plummeted in Ireland) have quite rightly made changes to suit their lifestyle but these are hard to accept for a foolish middle aged woman with memories.  The grass on which I played short tennis and football with my 2 children for many years when they were growing up is gone, as are the apple tree and my beloved Scot’s pine trees, likewise many other trees we planted in a field at the side of the house.

You can only go forward in life and visiting was probably a mistake. I should have known better because I know there are 2 certainties in life, change and death and as I say above it shouldn’t be possessions ( and that includes houses) that matter.  I wish the present owners ( who knew I had taken this photo)  love and happiness in the house.

                                             

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On a much happier note, at last I got the opportunity to visit The Blue Wall Gallery( http://www.bluewallgallery.com/html/about.html ) with my friend Carmel on the day when the opening reception was being held for a new exhibition of video art works. The gallery is owned by 2 dear friends

Jane McCormick

and her husband Joe Keenan.

Jane is an artist and sculptor and it is her studio that was converted into the gallery. Joe and Jane are passionate about art and it showed in the care they took with the setting up of this exhibition as well as the welcome they give everyone who attends. Cavan is very lucky to have them and the setting for the gallery couldn’t be more perfect as it overlooks the beautiful Lough Oughter.

This exhibition was very interesting because I tended to move past video work when exhibited beside other forms of Art. I have found it hard to stay with it and I think this was largely because I found the pieces I have stopped to watch have been too long. This was not the case with the work on show at this gallery and as it was all video work there were no other distractions ( apart from the people of course.) Below are 2 of my favourite pieces ( though it is very hard to capture moving images with a still camera!) 

This piece called Jane Fonda was made by Laura O’Connor. It consisted of 6 monitors ( I couldn’t get the 6th in) in a separate room. It lulls you into a false sense of security. When I went in and sat down to watch I didn’t get it at first as I saw 6 smiling faces but then noticed that one face started to look stressed, though still smiling, then the smile dropped and you could see the real person behind the smiling mask.

As I continued to watch, each face in turn ( in fact the same persons face ) would drop the smile and look sad, or anxious, or even frightened. It was quite disturbing and made me think about the scandal there was a few years ago about Eastern European women being illegally smuggled into other parts of Europe for prostitution. A very thought provoking piece which reminds us of the real women behind the glamourised image.


This piece called Test Card by Louise Shine was altogether different and great fun; taking the iconic test card image and making it MUCH more interesting.  Unlike in the original test card the girl is animated and shows various emotions, including boredom, she surreptitiously eats and is generally very mischievous. Entertaining indeed !

The exhibition quite changed my mind on video art and I shall pay more attention to it when I come across it in the future

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I stayed with the lovely Marleen tonight who I met many years ago when we were both involved in a local branch of Earthwatch (who at the time were sort of the Irish equivalent of Friends of the Earth). She fed me too well and that, combined with some excellent white wine, rather finished me off. I had to lie down on her sofa and sleep for an hour or so after dinner a testament to how relaxed I felt to be in her company again ( and how exhausted I was after  all the travel I’ve been doing lately! )

This may look like an ordinary bit of woodland but to me it isn’t because this is part of a mini forest that Marleen and her husband Herman planted in a field beside their house. More than a thousand trees each planted by hand !! I wish more people who are in a position to plant up a piece of land would do so, for all our futures.

Saturday Girl signing off  now– Slán go fóill– look out for what I’m up to on Saturday 1497 next week.