Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Copenhagen, sustainability and cherry jam

I know that I am supposed to be making the jam.  I will  :-)

I have been avoiding speculating on the Copenhagen conference and its outcomes because those outcomes are non-existent.... but more of that later.

There was also a "people's conference" (the Klimaforum) that was held at the same time, and nearby.  There were some bits and pieces of information that leaked from that event... though no major news announcements.... those were all from the suited and formal events in the Bella centre.
One forum/discussion that did come from that event has now been posted on the Transition blog that Rob Hopkins produces.  Entitled "Is transition relevant to the Global South?"  (and while the technical production is also not up to the standard of the Bella Centre event)  it is an important conversation to hear and understand.  (I won't go into the issue of "the global south" and how Australia is a part of the "global north.")
The conversation on this video presentation is very interesting, but one particular comparison showed the lack of understanding of the wealthy for the poor of the world.   May East. a Brazilian singer who now lives in Findhorn, an eco-village in Scotland, described a surprise to her, during a visit to a favela in Brazil.  She had given a packet of fancy biscuits to a leader with whom she was meeting.  She had imagined that he would take the biscuits home to share with his family and that they would be delighted with such a lovely gift.  In fact,  not long afterwards,  as she left the meeting,  she saw children sharing tiny pieces of the biscuits with their friends...  the biscuits seemed to have made it out into much of  the community and had been divided and divided again, in order to include everyone.
The point that  both she and the Mexican man (who works in a similar fashion with the poor of Mexico City) was that the "community" that is so lacking in modern western towns and cities, is still a part of life and taken for granted in the "global south" even among the poor.
My first thought was of discussions on forums about the Global Financial Crisis in which the thoughts and plans turn to self-sufficiency, stockpiling supplies and invariably the discussion gets to guns and how to defend those supplies.  I suppose those people wouldn't be sharing the packet of biscuits!

As I watched this discussion,  I couldn't help but think that the communique that emerged from the political meeting in the Bella Centre was even less relevant than ever.   I have read the whole document and it has so many qualifications that it offers nothing at all.    The best analysis that I have read is here.
The seriousness of this emergency is too great to leave to politicians who are not in a position to make independent decisions... they are too indebted to financial and industrial agencies that have quite different priorities.
With that in mind,  I'd add another link to yet another transition article,  entitled "What if they held a Climate Summit, and nobody came?"  This article discusses the options that are open to the dissenters of the world.  There might be strategies that are more productive than travel,  demonstrations and arrests that are reported by the main stream media from a very negative and unfair point of view,  to say the least.  These methods (demonstrations) have been very useful in the past (and I have been a part of some successful campaigns)  but, in future,  perhaps effort could be better spent elsewhere.

Whenever I try to unravel the political, scientific and community interactions, I come back to the same discovery that one makes in the garden, when one uses Permaculture principles the aim is to reduce the need for outside input, making the system self-contained and self-sufficient.  The principles...

  1. Observe and interact.
  2. Catch and store energy
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from patterns to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diverstiy
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change

My garden in Kapunda needs to be sustainable, self-sufficient,  and so do everyone else's.
In fact the whole climate movement needs to be sustainable (can't afford burnout.)
And because the earth is finite (we are close to peak oil, peak water, peak fertiliser and peak everything else, it seems)  we need our politicians to change their strategy.  Their policies and plans need to be sustainable too.  On this finite planet,  this means reducing growth to zero and learning to live within our collective means, and soon...

Now,  back to the cherry jam....  here it is just back "on the boil" again.

And into the jars...  there are seven jars (Old El Paso salsa jars) and the net. weight of each is more than 500g.

The rest of the cherries are in syrup (5 Fowler's jars with rings, lids and clips) and in the water bath being sterilised.  I always follow the directions carefully and these need to be brought up to the correct temperature (170F; 76C) and kept there for two and a half hours.  I've rarely had a failure (a jar that doesn't seal.)

It is quite hot outside... over 36C now (97F)  but the kitchen is still about 28, despite the fire.

It isn't supposed to be quite that hot today, though tomorrow is supposed to get to 40C (105F), even in the city, and so it is better to get all of this done today.
That was quick... it's above 180F.   It won't matter,  I can ignore the fire for a while and let it get slower.  I have also reduced the air supply to the wood.  I'll keep an eye on the time and make sure it doesn't get below 170F for a couple more hours.  These recipes were written for fire places rather than new electric machines, and are flexible enough to take commen sense into account.

This is what one reads about... preserving fruit in hot kitchens during the summer.  There are wonderful descriptions of this in historical novels that include descriptions of the lives of women.  I think the passages are supposed to make one feel sorry for the poor things hovering over a hot stove in a steamy kitchen.  They never mention the satisfaction of being self-sufficient or any of the advantages of that such confidence can bring.
It's now over 38C (100F)  outside, though still the same in here.

And a couple of hours later....

... five jars of cherries.

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