2019 in Review - Reconnection and Healing the Planet

by - Sunday, December 29, 2019

This year, unlike 2018 which was a nightmare (read about it HERE), has been pretty good overall and I have enjoyed musing back on what it has meant for me.  It's funny but reading back over my 2018 post, I'm actually shocked at how awful the year was. Forgetfulness is a wonderful healing tool in many ways and I'm so thankful that this year has been calmer - of course we have had the normal stresses every family deals with but having the peaceful times has enabled me to deal with them without feeling traumatised.

Blue Aquilegia

The highlights of this year have been many and the focus for me has been the drive to do something about Climate Change. This has been the biggest world issue that struck a chord with me from the beginning of the year. We've always been pretty tree hugging as a family - from the time Síomha was born 24 years ago, I felt an impetus and an instinct that the planet we inhabit needs to be taken care of. This led to choosing organic food, not spraying chemicals and sending our kids to a Steiner school where outdoor play and nature is a big focus.  However, these were just background things and part of our normal life. I think the difference, for me (and for many) this year is that the urgency of the crisis has really been driven home and I feel an increasing sense of panic that the future world for my children and grandaughter will be a difficult place to inhabit.  I don't want to go into too much detail here but all the information and scientific consensus is that the planet is in serious trouble.  We have a very short amount of time to try and constrain the huge damage carbon emissions have caused and continue to cause. Human beings have also created the 6th Mass Extinction, described as a 'biological annihilation' in this article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Realistically, our capacity as individuals to solve this is limited but we need to lobby and make clear to elected representatives that this IS a voting issue and that urgent action needs to be taken. We also need to try and live in a way that damages the Earth as little as possible.  For me that has meant trying to reduce plastic and waste as much as possible, putting energy into reading reports and making submissions on government policies and lately, switching to a plant based diet (industrial farming is one of the biggest causes of carbon emission damage).  I have also set up a Facebook group called Small Sustainable Steps where I share article and tips and try to connect with other people who are feeling the same way I do. For it is so important that we work together as communities - I mentioned 'reconnection' in my post title because this year has been a year of me trying to reconnect with people in a real way and to move away from the despair that comes from reading social media and news.
To this end, I did a course organised by Kildare Leader Partnership called Kildare Communities 4 Change. This was a wonderful experience, full of information and best of all, making that bond with others of a similar mindset. One of my big highlights of the year was the group trip to the Cloughjordan Eco Village - you can read all about it here.

Cloughjordan Eco Village Community Farm Sign

Aside from all my Climate Action endeavors, there have been lots of other happenings. Síomha had her degree show and it was amazing. So much incredible talent in NCAD and to see Síomha get everything done despite all her illness was just so amazing.

Degree Show 2019 NCAD Siomha Reid


Síomha Reid Teepee Degree Show NCAD 2019

She also had her Graduation and was awarded her B.A. in Visual Communication. I felt seriously emotional seeing her in her gown! - it has seemed like a long journey and I was so happy to see her achieve something she has aimed for from an early age.

Síomha and Cliona NCAD Grad 2019

Síomha Graduation in Belfield 2019

We also got to spend some time with our darling granddaughter and see her develop her wonderful personality. She is hilarious and clever and both sets of grandparents are just mad about her :)

Mara in Paulstown

We had great holidays and day trips and I've taken many pictures and have found being out in nature with my camera is probably the most relaxing thing I can do.  Learning all the time how to improve my photography and trying to match that illusive idea in my head with what the camera produces is an ever fascinating hobby for me. Not to mention that when I have my camera, I tend to hone in on the beautiful details of nature and this renews my drive to do something about our planet's crisis.

Carrick Tidy Towns Flowers

Carrick on Shannon Tidy Towns Biodiversity Sign

Christmas this year was all about family and we had a lovely time - we were invited to the other grandparents' house for mince pies and mulled wine and met everyone for lunch the next day in Kilkenny. There was a really nice festive atmosphere and it just felt so relaxed.

Christmas 2019 Shop Window Kilkenny

Millenium Forest Kilkenny Baubles on Tree

I did pretty well with my aim of reducing waste this Christmas, food waste was minimal and thankfully people were on board with not buying loads of stuff and wrapping and all the trappings that just end up being thrown out. So it was all about the quality time and relaxing (in so far as it was possible!)
And here I am at the start of a New Year and I have learnt from previous years to keep my expectations to a minimum and just try to enjoy the good as it happens.
I hope all my readers have a wonderful 2020 and that you will continue to find something of interest here in my little blog.
Cliona

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