We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation that can do something about it.Jay Inslee
When we first moved to Byron Bay, fleeing eleven years of drought on our organic farm in Queensland, the locals laughed that they called it a drought if they actually had to water their vegetable gardens.
We’re on the coast, and it was normal to get regular patterns of evening showers throughout the year. True to their word, we almost never had to take a hose to the garden except to water in new seedlings or at the height of summer, a few times over the season. I thought we would be protected from drought here. I was wrong.
It’s dry at the farm right now. We’re midway through Spring and it looks like the tail-end of Summer. The paddocks are brown where there should be green. The old rainforest trees that died in the last long period of drought are being joined by more that have given up. As I walk around my yard I count them. A palm tree. Another palm tree. A bottlebrush. Two acacias. A eucalypt. All dead.
More trees are in distress. They are shedding leaves at a great rate. Branches are dying. Trees are dropping buds before they can flower. Dropping fruit before it can seed.
Our creek has dried up to a few waterholes.
Our dam is down to a waterlily-ringed puddle.
We’re hoarding our tank water.
And while I’d hoped my garden beds would look like the image below, sadly this picture is from three years ago, and we haven’t had a decent season since.
This is what our garden beds look like now.
This time of year I am usually planting our my Spring vegetable gardens. I’m planting out flowering seedlings. I’m rejuvenating my herbs.
But not this year.
I’ve decided not to plant.
It’s too dry.
It’s too uncertain.
I’d rather work on keeping alive what’s already here.
I can no longer call this drought. Our seasons are awry. Each year it gets hotter earlier. Less rain falls, or it floods, and then it goes back to being dry. This is not drought. This is climate change.
Each year there are fewer wild animals, fewer birds, fewer insects, fewer snails and frogs and lizards.
We have watering points out across the farm now, for all the animals, domesticated and wild. The neighbours and us are leaving out fruit for the flying foxes and possums and other starving critters.
They are predicting a catastrophic fire season.
We’ve got our fire evacuation plans in place.
We’ve got our water conservation plans in place.
It’s not enough.
We’ve been deep in talks with neighbours and friends. We have to do more. We can’t just sit by and watch everything shrivel to dust. Not just for us, but for so much of our country, and for so many countries across the world. We can’t just sit by and watch our insect populations dwindle, our birds disappear, our trees die, our water vanish. How can we live without those things?
When I think back to the abundance of wildlife and biodiversity in my childhood that I took for granted, my heart breaks. I fear I’ll never see that kind of lush fecundity again in my lifetime. Now we live with emptier skies, emptier fields, emptier rivers and oceans. And the trees are dying.
We have to do something. There is a group of us invested in doing what we can. And we’re forming up a plan. It will take massive effort. We’ll need a lot of help, but we’re committed to trying.
I’ll be back to you soon with more details.
Meanwhile, I’ll leave you now. The sun is up. I need to go fill up the birdbaths, and replenish the water troughs.
Much love, Nicole xx
6 thoughts on “The Decision Not To Plant”
I’m in Nicole. Standing by to hear what you have planned. I feel that the words “climate change” are now very divisive in the community. As I have heard you say before, some of this is man made and some of it is the Earth’s cycles and her reaction to the lack of care and respect we have shown to her. I think we all need to be couching our efforts to the wider community, in terms of just plain good caring management and regard of and for the Earth; care for her, care for ourselves. xxxSimone
So much can be done on so many levels. Individual and collective. I am personally inclusive of all action. From protest to careful use of resources and waste. As well as prayer, loving and learning respect for all living beings.
I would be pro-climate activist Nichole, but XR is not the way to do it. The situation is dire, but gluing yourself to a road actually creates more pollution than what you began with. As an engineer I highly disagree with XR and more pollution is made by traffic standing for hours on end. I wont support a group who blindly does that. I hope you are not a part of them.
All we can do now, is become
the change we want to see, be in positions that we are influential to make a change. My generation now has to choose either their selfies or their life, and I hope they can see the difference.
It is heartbreaking and you are witness to the climate crisis being real and unpredictable for nature and growers. For the first time we have no water in our well and we are supposed to be in the wettest part of southern Spain. However no one seems to be taking it seriously here but my recent post from being in the U.K. is about action in the U.K. And how our farmers are well aware it is climate crisis.
Hi Georgina! I’m so sorry to hear about your well. Farmers here are all on board about climate crisis. It’s our government who isn’t. Am going to go check out your post now. Much love, Nicole xx
Heart breaking Nicole.
So very, very sad.
I pray that you will get some decent rain.