On September 20th (9.30am-12.30pm) I will be leading a walk in Melbourne as part of the biggest ever coordinated set of Deep Time Walks . These walks have been timed to coincide with the Global Climate Strike action planned at this time. They are our networks’ contribution to answer the call from the inspiring youth movements to join in collective action to focus attention on our Earth’s climate emergency.
This walk will be an educational and inspiring start to Global Strike day, and will help you focus your mind on the impact we have had on the planet and why it is so important to act now.
As Robert McFarlane states: Deep time provides “a radical perspective, provoking action not apathy … [it] is the catalysing context of intergenerational justice; it is what frames the inspiring activism of Greta Thunberg and the school climate-strikers, and the Sunrise campaigners pushing for a Green New Deal in America. A deep-time perspective requires us to consider not only how we will imagine the future, but how the future will imagine us. It asks a version of Jonas Salk’s arresting question: “Are we being good ancestors?”
It’s been a couple of months since I last led a Deep Time Walk but I’m excited to announce I have scheduled the next one for Sunday 25th August at 1.30pm – hopefully the sun will be shining and the worst of winter will have passed.
A Deep Time Walk gives participants an understanding of the history of our planet and the impact our species has made on nature in the very short time we have been here. It is also a relaxed walk along 4.6km of the beautiful Port Phillip Bay foreshore in Brighton and Elwood.
Last night I watched David Attenborough’s latest documentary “Climate Change: the Facts”, with the breathtaking footage and dramatic narration I have learned to expect and love. Ending with the quote:
“We now stand at a unique point in our plant’s history. One where we much all share responsibility both for our present wellbeing and for the future of life on Earth. We each have the power to make changes and we must make them now. Our natural work, the one where our children and grandchildren, and all those who follow them depend on us doing so.”
A perfect quote to end with a Deep Time Walk with, if only Sir David had not thought of it before me.
97% of all vertebrate animals on this planet are humans or the creatures we domesticate for companionship or food.
This shocking quote is taken from the book “Joining Loose Ends”, written by Keith Badger about his 2801km walk across Great Britain with his wife Debby. I find myself repeatedly reflecting on the meaning of 97%. I wonder how different our wild places would look if vertebrate life wasn’t so dominated by humans. The first vertebrate land animals evolved approximately 350 million years ago. Our species, homo sapiens, have been around for a mere 250,000 years – a blink of an eyelid in comparison. What takes my breath away even more is how quickly we have eclipsed life on Earth. According to the World Wildlife Fund, populations of wild animals have declined by more than half since 1970. Less than 50 years. I find this incomprehensible. This means I was born into a world where twice as many wild animals roamed as do today. I long to be part of such a world today, a world that so much richer with biodiversity. And what next?
Keith Badger’s long walk across Britain proved to be life changing and forever changed the way he understood the world. Not long after finishing this challenge and returning to Melbourne, he and Debby decided to enrol at the holistic Schumacher College in Devon, UK, on a series of courses in Ecology. As part of this adventure, Debby had the privilege of studying with Dr Stephen Harding and participated in one of his Deep Time Walks. Debby brought this experience back to Melbourne and I was fortunate to be one of the early participants on her Deep Time Walks in St Kilda. It was an afternoon which made a lasting impact and gave me the tools to understand the impact of Humans in a totally new light. Five years later when Debby offered to had her notes over to me so I too can become a Deep Time Walk guide I was so excited by the potential of this new venture. Through providing this educational experience to others I hope to convey a new respect for our wonderful planet, and how it is incumbent upon us all to conserve it for future generations.