Week 33/2021: Swimming in the mud

Week 33/2021: Week of 16 August 2021

This week I was lucky to go on a road trip to the north of the state with a colleague to meet some people working on some of the same things we’re working on.

Our first stop was Smithton, my home town. This was the first time I’d been there since my father died in 2009 and a few things had changed since then. It was interesting to go back and, surprisingly, a little emotional.

Picture book section of the Smithton Library
Childhood memories of the Smithton Library

What did I want to do better this week?

I’m still trying to make my morning walks a regular thing.

So, how did that go then?

I missed two days this week because I didn’t get up early enough. I’m wondering if I need to turn the alarm back on for the days when I go in to work to make sure that I get up early enough to go for a walk.

I’m also trying to bring my afternoon walks back. I’ll blame my trip for mucking that one up, though I’m not sure I can use that as an excuse for not walking when I’m at home in the afternoon.

Boats on a river with a small patch of rolling fog in the background
Morning walk in George Town

21 for 2021 update

Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)

I did some more work on the video on Sunday. It’s progressing slowly.

My mother’s story (thing 9)

One of the things that had changed since I was last in Smithton was that the swimming pool had been demolished.

Smithton Anzac Park from King Street after the pool demolition
View over Anzac Park and the missing pool

The pool had been built in the early 1960s and was closed in 2015 because of safety concerns. The council had decided it had reached the end of its functional life and that they would replace it with a new indoor pool within the new recreation and leisure centre.

The old pool had been a huge part of my life as a child and I used to spend endless summers there once I was old enough to go by myself. Originally an outdoor pool, a gigantic tin roof was built over it at some point, to make it more accessible in variable weather conditions.

I found this image of it online. This must be a very early photo from when the entrance was where the car is parked. They later built a new entrance on the left hand side of the photo, as well as a grandstand behind the pool.  

An old photo of the Circular Head War Momorial Pool
Circular Head War Memorial Pool (photo from the Libraries Tasmania eHeritage website)

The photo’s description notes

The Learn to Swim campaigns had been previously been conducted in an area of the Duck River. It was reported at the time that it would be difficult to assess the benefits of the pool especially to the school children. Only those who had stood on the banks of the Duck River at low tide and watched them play in the muddy water of the children’s pool would know what it would mean to them.

My mother was one of those kids who had learned to swim in the muddy water of the Duck River and I asked her about her experience when I went to see her this week.

She recalls that the “pool” was an area of the river sectioned off by concrete walls. There was no bottom, just the walls and Mum says she can still remember the feeling of her feet in the mud on the river bed. The pool walls were about 25 metres apart and the kids used to swim from one end to the other and back again. “They’d take us down there for our swimming lessons,” she says. “They’d throw us in . . . and you’d have to learn to swim.”

It sounds as if the new pool was a definite improvement.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 2 (8, 9)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 11 (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

What else happened this week?

What did I do for the Earth this week?

I was feeling utterly useless after what I wrote about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report last week, so I wrote to my local MP, Andrew Wilkie. Yeah, I know. Emailing politicians doesn’t achieve anything. We know that already.

But during the week, I received an email from the Climate Council about the IPCC report, which talked about the Community Protection Pledge. The pledge is a set of 10 commitments, launched by Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA), that they are asking Federal MPs to make to demonstrate that they take seriously their obligation to protect and defend local communities from climate change.

The ELCA https://emergencyleadersforclimateaction.org.au/our-story/ is a coalition of former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders from every fire service in Australia, and various SES and land management agencies. This group is highlighting how serious climate change is. It’s calling for governments to take action on emissions and to provide the necessary resources to better prepare fire and emergency services for increasingly frequent and damaging extreme weather events.

As I understand it, these people know what they’re talking about when it comes to extreme weather and the danger it poses. They’ve joined forces to lobby the Australian government to take action, which so far, it is showing no signs of doing, despite all the evidence that Australia and the world is racing towards a catastrophe that we will never recover from.

The commitments ELCA is asking MPs to make include a commitment to addressing the root cause of the climate crisis and worsening extreme weather by accelerating Australia’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and preparing Australian infrastructure for future extreme weather events, like heatwaves, bushfires and floods.

You can go to the ELCA website and see if your own local MP has signed onto the pledge, and send them an email asking them to do so if they haven’t.

If they have, as Mr Wilkie has, there is also an email you can send them thanking them and asking them to do what they can to work on the issue of climate change to try and prevent what is going to happen if we don’t take action from happening.

There’s a form letter that you can add your own thoughts to, which is what I did.

Part of my email said

I am deeply concerned that our federal government is not taking climate change seriously, especially now in the light of the IPCC report, which the Climate Council says may be our final warning to take immediate and drastic action if we want our planet to be habitable for future generations. This isn’t something that will happen way in the future either. This will be the future of our own children and grand children. I have a 14-year-old son and I am terrified of what his future might be like if the predictions of what will happen if we don’t take action now are accurate – and all the evidence appears to say that they are.

I feel like anything I can do personally is woefully insufficient and, ultimately, pointless if our governments don’t do anything meaningful. And right now, I have no confidence that the Australian government is going to change its position.

I understand that you are very aware of this and do thank you for raising this in Parliament recently. I am frustrated that the government isn’t listening and I don’t know what will convince them. If all the best scientific evidence in the world can’t achieve this, what will?

And what can I, as an individual, do?

I think this might be the first time I’ve ever written to an MP about anything because they probably get a zillion emails every day so one more about the climate isn’t going to make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. But I also think it’s important for me to let my MP know that I support him and that I’m a real person with real concerns that the government is fobbing off. I know what it feels like to do things and get no response so you don’t know if anyone is listening or cares. At least taking time to tell him that I am listening and I do care might give him some idea that his work is appreciated.

As for what I can do that will make an actual difference, I don’t know.

Sunrise over the beach
The sun will still rise

What I’m reading this week

  • Of Towns and Countries: Journey of an Architect by Dirk Bolt

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 2): 1
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 2): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 3
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.45 (Goal = 6): 4
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