If the Murray were a he or she


On Thursday the media was full of the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL).  The report warned that… if the world is to combat dangerous climate change then we must urgently revolutionise what we eat, how we grow it and the way we use land.

Once I might have shared a report like this on our Facebook but the more I read the more my mind drifts back over this past year; the Greenland ice sheet melting, the oceans choking in plastic, the insect Armageddon, the extinction crisis, the Great Barrier reef dying, the Murray-Darling collapsing, native forest logging, the drought, floods, fire….

By Sunday night the news cycle has moved on to the death of American financier and sex trafficker, Jeffrey Epstein and the SRCCL report has been filed into our collective memory as “another climate emergency warning”.

Why is this?  Why aren’t we jumping into action?  Countless countries, cities, organisations, corporations have declared we’re in a climate emergency.  It’s an emergency right?

Our family is about to buy a new (to us) car – we’re thinking maybe a hybrid.  We’ll buy our new car in full knowledge of the emergency as well as the fact that we’d need between three and five planets if every family in the world owned a car.

I think of how the car fits with Ceres‘ mission to help people fall in love with the earth  which brings to mind Wendell Berry’s quote, “People exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love……”

By Wendell’s measure I conclude that the oceans, the insects, the reef and the Murray-Darling et al must reside in my “of value” column and that I am actually more in love with the freedom and comfort of Priuses and Bluetooth, Apple-Play and reversing cameras.

How can this be so?  I’m pretty environmentally woke.

In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, observes that the English language reserves the personal pronouns “he, she, they” for humans while we separate plants, animals, soils and rivers from ourselves with the impersonal “it”.

Kimmerer explains that many indigenous languages honour plants, animals, soils, rivers with personal pronouns completely flipping first peoples’ relationships with country.

To which I wonder what would happen if I addressed the oceans, the insects, the reef and the Murray-Darling as “he” or “she” would it make me walk away from my future new car?

I give it a go-over in my head and feel suddenly dry-mouthed, nauseous, faint, quite unmanned and completely unsure where to go from here…..




Last week was Homelessness Week and coincidentally we put out a call for help to house Fair Food driver, Matthew, who is currently sleeping in an office at the Fair Food warehouse.

Matthew is an Iranian asylum seeker without the network of family and friends  most of us could call on when in need – you can read Matthew’s story here

Matthew is looking for a flat or a bungalow in the Northern Suburbs – if you can help him  please get in contact with Shell at info@ceresfairfood.org.au.

BTW big thanks to all the generous people who offered Matthew material support for his future place.

Have a great week



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *