|Me with my hero, Senator Bob Brown|
It's true! You can
believe your eyes. That's who I was with, for a nano-second at least, last night on the day after my birthday. How's that for the ultimate birthday treat?
Here's how it happened:
We were at a fund-raiser - more later - where Bob (we are obviously on first name terms now) was a guest speaker. I have been in awe of his intellect, courage, independent-thinking and altruism forever. I had my camera with me and summoning all my chutzpah, I decided: 'If not now, when?' So I asked if I could have my photo taken with him for this blog. He was utterly charming in response and when I joked with the photographer about taking a distant shot to hide my wrinkles, Bob made an amusing retort, which I promptly forgot as I was so star struck.
Peter wasn't though. He talked at length with Bob and his partner, Paul, about our discoveries in Cuba, and especially how ingenious people have been in adapting to the virtual absence of oil there. He was obviously inspiring in that Bob said to Paul that they will have to visit.
The fund-raiser was a curious mix held appropriately enough in the somewhat incongruous venue of the Meat Market.
, before interval it featured 3 great speakers: Bob, the renowned climate scientist David Karoly and a young man called Patrick from the Beyond Zero Emissions
|Patrick, Bob and David|
The speakers covered a vast terrain and fielded a lot of questions from an obviously well-informed audience. The take home messages for me were:
In the current dire situation, we must stay optimistic, because we all need to keep on keeping on trying to make a difference. (Bob)
Although it is true that Australia is sitting on a fortune in coal, for which we are the world's number 1 source, equally we have more sunshine than anywhere else. We could substitute solar power for coal and in so doing make a huge positive impact world-wide. (David)
And a single country can make a difference. Germany is devoting enormous resources to alternative energy production, especially solar, and is inspiring other countries to do likewise. (Patrick)
Why I found the event curious was that the surfeit of riches on offer left me feeling fuzzy about the overall focus. For example, after interval we shifted to a live performance by 2 actors of a scene from a play about a scientist and his Inuit assistant out to take climate readings. This was followed by a talk by the author/scientist Peter Hardy about his time living with the Inuits. Then Yarra Councillor, Amanda Stone, shared some of her insights. Although all these contributions were worthy and interesting in their own right, I was reminded of the saying that sometimes 'less is more'.
All this happened in what by day is a wonderful venue, but at night with its minimal illumination, ancient arches, vast empty spaces, bluestone floors and decorations of decapitated cows, had a most eerie quality.
|Past occupant of the Meat Market|
And for what was undoubtedly a heavily vegetarian audience, the incongruity of the unadvertised sausage sizzle that greeted us on arrival, together with the many images of animals past and the sense of their distressed ghosts prowling the corridors all reinforced the somewhat oddball quality of the evening.
But what do I care? - I got my photo with Bob.