Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Little more Friendly

Discussing space travel recently, ooo rockets, and its adverse effects on the realm of space, we covered some wide ground, ironically. How wonderful the technology may appear. Stephen Hawking saying, yet again, we need to be able to repopulate another planet pretty soon. (I disagree with Mr. Hawking, I think we need to look after this one but he has some good points ). Litter and junk up there anyway we also discussed, my friend Jamie and I. Then, I griped on about the matter of our using precious and damaging resources to get to far far far places, merely to ask questions mostly re only what-if scenarios, or to get a wow-we're-amazing feeling, (arguably), considered too. Well, yes so my friend and I then got onto Panspermia. A new word, I was delighted to see it.

I'd said we could be more organic about repopulating outer space, less machinery-minded and less 'must-be-live-people who go there'. Why not just send some sparks of life off into space?

My friend, Jamie said there was already a theory re that idea. 

How exciting, I had to think. 

So, yes, meteors, comets, asteroids and so on may have bits of bacteria and minerals etc., in their make-up. They plough through space randomly populating where possible. These heavenly zoomers land here and there. If the situation's suitable, life begins to occur. That's the basic theory. (For the religious amongst us, this may be how God works too, no reason to think we know how God works precisely, is there)?

We are, it is believed by many, evidence of a process called evolution, started when a massive comet hit Earth. This was when the planet was newly formed AND just-happened-to-be-ready-for-life. The whole ooze and seethe began. Miraculous, randomness, even without deities or whatever mystery you'd like to add, surely.

BUT how do we reproduce the factors that made THIS planet hospitable to us, somewhere else?  Evolution is complex, random, mysterious and not even believed in by everyone.

We need to care for this planet instead, far simpler, less expensive, fun and immediately rewarding because the exercise is good for us. We can start today, changing a little towards that end. Any small action is good. If any one person changes for the better they may have a fine effect on others. Tree planting to absorb carbon, to make the planet healthier, a world-wide trend, could become a huge turnaround in mere years, for climate change. 

Trees also provide shade, fruit, flowers, leaves, bark, sap....

Okay so make a leap now, please, we're going to the present day. (I love how we may do that without any machinery, make lateral leaps).

Trees and human beings are reliant on each other for survival, to an extent. Trees take many forms, however and could remain when we have long gone. If we plant more trees now, with care we shall help ensure our survival. Life for us is not ooze and seethe these days, (unless we need a hospital). People, we can play a part in our own destiny and change things on our own human level, a personal choice, so the air's cleaner, the view's better and the planet less burdened with carbon.

Tree planting provides work, food and helps economies too.

I keep saying I have free kowhai and totara seedlings, and almost no one takes me up on it. Four have gone, but I have LOTS of them. Am I really that scary? Ask me, I'm happy to give them to you. It helps me to stay well and in good spirits, to give to others.  And believe me, you want me that way. *laughs* Or I'd gladly take money for them if you wish. Contact me in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa NZ email raewynalexander at hotmail dot com, (yes raewynalexander is all one word in my email). No scammers jammers or slammers need apply.

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May Hem and Nut Case - from my IGIJDK Exhibition

* Panspermia (Greek: πανσπερμία from πᾶς/πᾶν (pas/pan) "all" and σπέρμα (sperma) "seed") is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe, distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids.[1]
Panspermia proposes that life forms that can survive the effects of space, such as extremophiles, become trapped in debris that is ejected into space after collisions between planets that harbor life and Small Solar System Bodies (SSSB). Bacteria may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary disks. If met with ideal conditions on a new planet's surfaces, the bacteria become active and the process of evolution begins. Panspermia is not meant to address how life began, just the method that may cause its sustenance.[2][citation needed]
The related but distinct idea of 'exogenesis' (Greek: ἔξω (exo, "outside") and γένεσις (genesis, "origin")) is a more limited hypothesis that proposes life on Earth was transferred from elsewhere in the Universe but makes no prediction about how widespread it is.

                                                                                                                 - from Wikipedia


I am also involved with this project 100 Days -

possibly a pic of the first telegraph/telephone pole in the countryside North Island NZ somewhere c.1940/50

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Between the Flags

No, you can't, her husband, Bill had bellowed.

But she'd flung the open can, pink petroleum fanned over his car, the path and front porch. Lit the firework. Mt. Egmont. Her favourite. Tossed it. Phosphorescent hiss flared up into sheets of flame.

Metre-high seedlings already packed in her boot and back seat. Their trees'd get planted elsewhere now.

Wheel turn, another kilometre forward, a woman floating on adrenaline and furious flashbacks. Grey-blue road like water streaming by. Carylyn's four-wheel drive swam along.

What did her father often say? Had a snarl temper, but such silvery talk, New life springs from ashes.

Every fourth or sixth year, Australian bush accidentally alight had raged around their creaky house. He'd cleared a wide firebreak beforehand even if it was against the rules. Always pushing... the law, her mother's patience, wild schemes to capture tourist dollars, Carylyn's arm up behind her back. It still ached where he'd broken it, twice.

Fresh leaves soon spiked from grey ground.

Ran away to New Zealand's wet, isolated islands; married. Carylyn and Bill bickered through digging, planting trees; both early properties sold for fine prices. Then she'd caught Bill whispering fondly on the phone, O darling, just wait til this farm sells. I'm leaving, I am....

Fierce red sunset now in the rear-vision mirror, coastland glowed with it too around her SUV. Fire followed like a clingy sibling, and Carylyn's rage felt like acid, inside.

The road her asphalt river. She gripped the wheel and ranged the landscape. When did recall ashes fall, so her new green could appear?

At the roadside, broad-shouldered, all in blue with his thumb out.

Carylyn stopped. The stranger got into her car. 'Hi. Thanks f'the lift. What're all these uh, trees for?'

'Guess.' She smiled.

'Hot.' He grinned back. 'Need a hand?'


This is an entry in a flash fiction short-short story competition. Details here -

Monday, June 3, 2013

here art grows on trees

Simryn Gill | Malaysia b.1959 | Forking tongues 1992 | Assorted cutlery with dried chillies | 600cm (installed, diam., approx.) | Purchased 2001. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation

Takes hours to fly over to there from here, Australia is a long way from New Zealand. Across the Tasman Sea, there's a huge continent sometimes called The Big Island. We are a series of islands, they are a vast continent. We're temperate in NZ, they range from temperate to tropical. Their indigenous people were and are rather different to ours. Indigenous Australians are, I believe, divided into four main mobs, whereas Maori people have many iwi or tribes and were settled, agricultural when they first set eyes on Caucasians. The inhabitants of The Big Island over the way were hunters and gatherers, extremely different to the settled British culture.

It's confusing living here in some ways and I'm probably not helping by calling a continent an island, am I? But that's what life's like here. Odd.

Australia is next to New Zealand and we sometimes joke that we walk over there when the tide is out. Overseas friends may get us muddled up, our Pakeha or Westernised accents seem alike, but theirs is more drawn out and ours softer. Aussies say feeesh and cheeeps, we say fush and chups, (for fish and chips). The 'white' people did come from England initially around the same time to Oz and NZ, when Caucasians first settled in this part of the world, however Australian British migrants were mainly urban, whereas NZ's British migrants were mostly rural. This immediately gave us both a different sound and attitude, generally, (and naturally too we are all individuals).

The recent effects of climate change, (a man-made global event we are all affected by, which we can stop or slow down by reducing the production of gases like carbon and methane, and by planting more trees), has turned parts of Australia into arid wastelands. The middle of the place is already a desert but that kind of desolate landscape is increasing there. Farms have been abandoned in despair, over the ditch. It's suggested we could have lots of Australians move here soon, to escape the effects of climate change.

In NZ however we just experienced a severe drought last summer. Now we're having floods and storms. 

While there is more water in the atmosphere than ever before, temperatures are also higher. There has never been so much carbon in the air while human beings have existed. This is a whole new scenario.

No one can predict what the future holds, except that we need to be more creative to survive it. People will have to think quick on their feet and go with whatever occurs, or fight fast against some things with rapid plans. We are faced with more chaos than usual.

It could be argued that the austerity measures imposed on so many countries is a clumsy way of trying to reduce emissions. If people have hardly any money and no work, they they cannot consume much or travel far. Meanwhile the elite travel when and where they please, money still being the way many of them get what they want, without question. 

Imagine if you saw the plants, animals and people dying, at the same time as you tripped across the world this year on holiday. Would that encourage you to also pay for the trees to soak up the carbon you produced? It was only $200- NZ extra to cover the carbon-cost for my trip across the ocean, and across the U S A last year. I used mainly boat and train to get there, (lower carbon) and a return flight. This paltry sum was to have trees planted, so I could rest assured I'd not helped to make the wider world a hostile place that will kill future generations, just so I could have some fun.

I also went vegetarian for the same reason. In some cases, not eating meat means we save more carbon than by giving up our car. I no longer eat meat most of the time, so I can still drive my car. If I could afford one, I'd have some kind of alternative-fueled model. Why don't we have solar cars and electric cars, everywhere?

So, yes, we need to be more creative. 

Art and music and films and dance and so on all may inspire us.  

Artists of all kinds are indispensable in any society.

At the Venice Biennale this year an Australian artist, Simryn Gill, a resident there, (rather than a citizen), brings that perspective to her work. She exhibited about nature and man-made items co-existing, overlapping, interacting. Gill's show is made of everyday objects and she transformed the Australian pavillion. This artist opened part of the roof to the elements, changed the walls and floor, then added her collections of objects. I include a video of the exhibit, here art grows on trees on this blog at the end.

Again, as I often do, I asked myself - When many of us finally see ourselves as natural, will most of us at last care properly for where we live?

Recently, this man quoted below, Leon Weiseltier said artists are indispensable. We certainly are and it felt grand to read someone explain why so eloquently. Now more than ever, explore your creative side, befriend artists, writers, musicians, dancers and others. Let us together also replant this planet, reduce our waste and emissions, rejoice as we change the world for the better, from this moment on.

" ...offer some resistance to the twin imperialisms of 

science and technology, and to recover the old 

distinction — once bitterly contested, then generally 

accepted, now almost completely forgotten – 

 between the study of nature and the study of man. As 

Bernard Williams once remarked, “’humanity’ is a name 

not merely for a species but also for a quality." You 

who have elected to devote yourselves to the study of 

literature and languages and art and music and 

philosophy and religion and history — you are the 

stewards of that quality. You are the resistance....

Use the new technologies for the old purposes."

My exhibition - Struck - at Cosset Paper Gallery 

1087 New North Road 

Mt Albert 

please go along Tues - Sat.,  and see it.

Here is also the Symrin Gill video - here art grows on trees -