Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dream of a Boat Sailing towards Friends

Tomorrow, I walk into a dream I had....

The house-sitters tell me they felt the same way, (I described to them my sensation of this being unreal, last night), they could not believe it when, unexpectedly, some Arctic Circle associates invited them to a celebration. Both South Island friends, Marjorie and Bob like cold places, (takes all sorts). They're happy they're staying in my house just as the NZ weather's turned colder, but anyway, this journey of mine is nowhere near as cold or unusual as their fabulous time in the Land of the Midnight Sun, nevertheless I did not think I could ever afford such a trip. I sail tomorrow on the Oriana across the Pacific Ocean, to three islands, then zig-zag across the top of America to visit various friends. Luckily, I had a number of people assisting me, one of my publishers and some supporters, along with my family. Many, many thanks to those people.

'Trees.' That was the answer a friend of mine's daughter gave her when Lucy-Mae Sparkle asked her child what was the most important thing on earth. People are important of course but without trees, we could all disappear and fast. Yes, all of us. Half the world's trees which grew when we became homo sapiens, that enormous amount of ground-cover has now gone. All the carbon trees were soaking up was released if they were burnt, and if they became timber or paper they could no longer breathe in carbon (dioxide) and let out oxygen, obviously. We are also encouraging more and more carbon and other greenhouse gases to fill the small space where Earth's atmosphere holds the air we breathe, and deflects the sun's rays to some extent. We need more trees to soak up the carbon. The ocean can't take any more.

Every time we travel, an aeroplane emits one tree's worth of carbon every 1800 miles, I gather. So every flight, we could plant some trees to cover that, couldn't we? Even if we planted one or two trees each flight, a few shrubs, a decent-sized windowbox of perennials, we could do some good towards protecting ourselves and the generations to come. Or if you can, travel by boat. Take a cruise to somewhere closer, for the same price as a trip to a far distant destination on a plane. Cruises are so relaxed and laid back, a travelling palace with you in it. Then there is the stay-home option, turn off all telecommunication devices and live like you're on a desert island for a week or two. Plant some palm trees and banana trees, too. Park the car elsewhere, so everyone thinks you're not there.

Those are the kinds of things I thought about with this travelling lark. Really, I wanted to visit My Yoo Es Aye friends, such generous, clever, astounding people they are too (if you could read the great things they write you'd almost certainly agree with me, everyone else has so far), but was that spree of a visit important enough to spend all this money and emit all that carbon? A ship does use far less carbon per passenger than a plane, but still.... For decades now, I have not travelled in a car for pleasure often at all and never flown for a holiday, only when I had to for work. I could not bear the thought of what my actions were doing to the world when I zoomed along in a plane just for fun. We collect rainwater here for the garden and take many measures to be as eco-kind as possible. Nothing is perfect but no harm in doing our best, is how we look at it.

So this journey is to see my admirable friends in Honolulu, San Francisco, Seattle, Iowa, Chicago and New York, to promote the idea of planting trees for travel, along with a bit of PR for my new work soon to be on Kindle, (yes, paper-less books). I will make some small films of this process and post them here and on youtube. This trip needs to satisfy more than my desire for pleasure, let's put it that way.

Many people offer trees for travel, make sure you check out their company's trustworthiness if you buy trees from someone online. The trees do need to actually be planted and looked after, for the money you've paid. If you click on the photo of trees, (top of this page on the right), then you'll see a google search with many websites offering this service. Or ask locally and arrange tree-planting so it benefits the people you know. It's possible to also grow your own trees from seeds or cuttings then give them away or sell them. We've already given away six kowhai trees and large daisy shrubs, grown from plants here at Blue Haven. A pleasant activity, tending plants, excellent stress-release and exercise. Another alternative is to get sponsors and ask them to help pay for trees for your travelling. Online there are sites where we may ask for people to donate to a project, That link is a google search for 'start-up online donations'. Sponsorship can assist an organisation's public image, while giving to others in reasonable amounts makes us happy as individuals, too. Happiness is essential, really, isn't it? The trees could be planted in your garden, in your relatives' gardens or neighbours' places, public spaces like parks, school grounds, road-sides and so on, the city council usually knows where trees are needed at any time. If you pay a company for trees for travel they plant them where they are needed, like South Australia really needs trees right now.

Even one tree planted is better than none as long as it is carefully placed away from underground pipes etc., and why not plant trees even if you do not go on long journeys?  Our garden is spectacular with trees these days, we also get lots of native birds from the neighbouring park since we planted mostly native flora. The smarty-pants who told me privet was not privet, however will not be believed about much again. Privet is a noxious thing in NZ and causes many allergies. Check what is planted is the correct tree for your area, usually I would think indigenous plants are best. Fruit trees also provide food and there are various ones which require little tending like feijoa, lemon or a fig tree can be cut back quite a bit now and then with little damage, so can go almost anywhere.  Trees must not touch your roof, by the way, this allows rats access and also damages your house.  Just ask at the garden centre or google or read up about them, trees, the wonder plant.

Another way of reducing our carbon footprint is to go vegetarian, which is I believe a better way to save carbon than to stop using your car. Or try one, two or three days a week for vegetarian-only food. Use public transport or walk wherever possible and as small a car as you can, if you do drive. Try to save journeys to the shops in your car for those times when you need to get more than one thing, or go to more than one place in the shopping centre. Car pooling can work well, everybody saves on gas, people who work together may chat about work-related things in the car or just build better friendships, there's also the added bonus of safety if the car breaks down or you need to park somewhere that feels a bit dodgy, or you're a timid person, like you'd rather walk to the workplace with someone you know, than alone.

I am, (believe it or not) rather timid, or at least extremely sensitive, so I like staying home, in my office writing whenever I can and also, just pottering round the garden, then socialising with various good Grey Lynners and city folk, many a strong or fascinating character among them, whom I've met here locally. I love my life here in Grey Lynn. For almost 20 years we've lived here and know so many locals the mind boggles. Us old-school Grey Lynners get into various community-activities and have strong networks, here. We hope people moving into this area also take on things with the same good heart. I'm a bit shy or sensitive but extrovert with it, ha. Can blather on about my worries without much trouble, and often get rid of them with discussion. This assists me with preparation for performances and projects like this. My training since I was four years old as a performer, public speaker and our family's social ability helped me be less withdrawn than many. The degree I gained at UNITEC, a Bachelor of International Communication only a few years ago also assisted me enormously in countless ways. The unbelievable amount of excellent performers I've worked with passed on knowledge and stood as great examples too, thanks to all of you.

So, I'm making these little films for online about poetry, trees, saving the world and love, and writing this blog while I sail across one of the largest oceans then train and plane across one of the largest nations. I just thought, 'Why not try a plan, see how far it gets me?' Indeed, tomorrow I walk into a dream I had....

Please, use this information to inspire your own greenly good deeds whilst having fun. Feedback most welcome. Do wish me well, as I do you.

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