Deidre On Growing Up Green

growing up with green living

Hi, my name is Deidre and I wanted to tell you a bit about myself and what I’ll be writing about as a new guest blogger!

Growing up I didn’t have to work very hard to be ‘green’. My Mum had an organic veggie garden and we’d preserve all the excess food from harvest season for use during the long cold winters. I naively thought that’s just how it was. It never occurred to me that others might not have the luxury of eating home grown peas from the freezer. The high school I went to focused on being at ‘one with the environment’ and we went on 3-4 camping excursions every year. The mantra ‘leave the camp cleaner than when you arrived’ still rings in my ears.

It wasn’t until I travelled to India while I was in university that I realised that ‘being green’ had infiltrated my every thought. On that trip, I bought bottled water in India and then brought all the plastic bottles back in my luggage because I couldn’t figure out how to recycle them while I was there. Obsessive? A little bit.

In 2008, I moved from the United States to Australia to begin my Masters of Environment degree at the University of Melbourne. I was convinced that if I could just explain in plain English the science behind climate change, then I’d be able to change people’s hearts and minds. I took classes in journalism, urban planning, domestic and international climate policy, and behavioural change. Anything that would help me in my quest to convey that the science is in, so let’s start making a change!

Since finishing my degree, I’ve worked as a climate campaigner, researcher, and fundraiser. Inevitably when I tell someone that I work as a climate change advocate I get asked two questions. First “what does that mean?” which is quickly followed by “so, is climate change really happening?”

I stutter along, trying to explain what I do to someone who was probably just asking out of politeness more than anything. Everyone has a different way, a different story, for how they got interested in protecting the environment. For many it was to save animals, for others it’s because they live in an area where drought has ruined their family farm, or maybe they’ve been to Africa and seen the famine. For me, it’s always been a question of right and wrong. It’s been a moral issue. I’m an advocate because I can’t sit idly by watching vested interests lobby the government without at least trying to give an equal voice to our planet.

As for the second question, I simply say that the science is in. Scientists have been measuring it and they know it’s caused by us – humans. In fact, they’ve known for decades now. Sadly, these are the facts.

Nothing makes me angrier than hearing it debated in the news.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of talking about the science and whether there is debate amongst scientists. I’m exhausted from having to defend my choice in career because governments and people are scared that their life has to change – and change is hard.

But I’m not tired of fighting. The Problem We Face is a big one, and the changes we need to make are sometimes hard. However, it isn’t insurmountable – there is so much hope. All over the world there are renewable energy plants going up, people making incredible changes to how they live their lives, communities choosing the green way, and government’s making decisions that aren’t all bad in terms of our environment. I’ll be focusing on these positive stories, because we can’t afford to lose hope.

Deidre (2 Posts)

Deidre received her Masters of Environment degree in 2009. Since then, she's worked as part of the environment movement doing everything from fundraising to online engagement. She's been known to misquote Kermit-the-Frog, 'It's easy being green!'

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