Above photo: myself with my son, my son with my grandson
Since I can remember I’ve been totally flabbergasted that so many people are simply ignoring the truth about the drastic deterioration in the planet’s health, its logical limitations and the dire consequences of continuing inaction.
There are a lot of theories nowadays about why people deny climate change and the broader ecological catastrophe that our civilisation has bequeathed to our descendants. All that I know is that things aren’t getting any better. It’s not going to go away and if we don’t get on and do something about it our species won’t be around much longer to see it get far worse.
I have been campaigning on environmental issues from local to global since the mid 70s. Some may see that as a calling a hobby or even an obsession. The media have always used Animal Lover, Nature Lover or my personal favourite Tree Hugger.
Boiling Frogs Blog is the latest in a long line of crazy ideas I have had over the years. They are all rooted in my deep concern about the way some of my fellow human beings are treating this incredible gift of life we call planet Earth 🌍 and my inability to ignore the situation.
I know what you must be thinking by now. Boiling Frogs Blog❓❓❓brought to you by the almost-but-not-quite-entirely unheard-of, non-award winning environmentalist John Booth. That’s right! Never won any awards as far as I know. Don’t have any letters after my name or in front of it for that matter. Did have a very impressive T-shirt collection once though.
So we thought it would be a good idea to share with you a little of my past involvement in the environmental movement . It may lend a small amount of credibility to my rantings. If you feel that I deserve an award for any of it then I would be very touched.
My lovely wife assures me that people will find my adventures, experiences and insights interesting and possibly even inspiring. Oh well, here’s hoping.
We will also use this section in the future to talk about other people involved with BFB how it all came about and things we are getting up to ourselves in our own community. We want to use BFB to motivate and inform but we love being outdoors in nature so we will be doing what it says on our tin and joining in with local community initiatives or maybe initiating some of our own.
We are not a big organisation, just a family extremely concerned about the state of the planet 🌎 yes that one. We are literally making it our business to help raise awareness and hopefully help our community and others find local solutions to global problems. With hard work and enough people finding our endeavour useful we may even manage to pay the rent.
Most of my work on environmental issues over the years has been of a voluntary nature so on occasions I had to get real jobs to fund myself. In my younger days while I was travelling to see a bit of the world and speaking out to try and protect it I only had very few expenses. Then as the older I got the bills seemed to start stacking up. So lots of washing up, waiting tables, warehouse work, postman, milkman, beggar man (fundraiser) and thief! (Well maybe I will tell you that story when we know each other a little better.)
I worked for 22 years in the NHS as a caregiver. Absolutely the best almost real job I’ve ever had. Doing the job taught me a lot about people. I think that a vast majority of people are simply just very frightened about our collective environmental emergency and feel powerless to do anything about it. People just want to protect their loved ones and hopefully make things better for them not potentially worse. Our current dominant capitalism and the American dream version of reality reinforces the potentially worse by convincing people that there are no consequences of our species “progress“ and that if we don’t keep going forward we will only start falling backwards.
Nowadays I have arthritis in my knees and a few other places and over the last three years I have learned to love sitting down 🤬. It’s just like standing up and moving forward just without the standing up and moving forward part. I have had a lot of experience with the effects that sudden reduced mobility can have on people from working in stroke rehabilitation for many years but now you can safely say that the shoe is on the other foot.
So recently I had to give up this prosperous career in professional health care, AKA health care assistant or clinical support worker depending upon the hospital I was working in. It has been hard for me to leave as I loved my job even though the pay was and still is PANTS. I will of course always be ever grateful for the round of applause and our 1% pay rise every decade.
Taking action is a type of therapy
When you think the world has gone totally mad it can make you question your own sanity. Today you hear about growing eco anxiety, especially among young people. I suppose you could say that I suffered from eco anxiety even before starting secondary school. That was about when I first started to become aware of the various atrocities being carried out in the name of progress or profit. Sometimes I cringe to think how naïve I was. I just thought that issues like Whaling were so terrible that all it would take would be for me to tell enough people and it would be stopped.
I have always seen taking action as a kind of therapy. I think you can feel much less anxious in a crisis if you actually get involved with the solution rather than remain part of the problem.
I have worked in quite a few A&E departments over the years and if anyone knows anything about working in a crisis situation it’s them. I think that the way that they work is to follow a philosophy of everyone keeping calm and caring while working together regardless of their skill set towards a specific beneficial outcome for the patient. I think that is exactly what we need to do in community to make a stand against Climate Change. We only need to encourage people to step up and play their part.
I have been involved in direct actions such as climbing tall structures and hanging banners to confronting Whalers on the high seas. Most of the real work though was, of course, a lot less adrenaline charged. Stuffing endless envelopes, delivering countless leaflets in all weathers, finding more and more silly ways to raise funds. Trying to stay awake at international conventions and conferences while listening to blah blah blah from diplomats assuring the world that they are totally on the case and normal service would be restored as soon as possible.
Probably the most common thing I have spent time on over the years has been lots and lots of talking to people, then talking to people, then talking to people and then talking to people. Sometimes one at a time or sometimes to crowds. I kept on finding more people to talk to even though most of the time you could see the interest in their eyes fade and almost roll back into their heads. And even if they are not sent into an instantaneous narcoleptic state they will drastically try to change the subject or catch the eye of a passer-by.
Recently, I have ventured out into an ocean teaming with a vast array of different species some people call it Twitter. This, of course, is to promote Boiling Frogs Blog. I know that there are many out there that disagree with me, some even paid to work from home to disagree with anyone like me. So let me state once and for all that I am not doing this to argue with anyone. BFB is a celebration of the positive. Its purpose is to update those already engaged in local environmental action and also encourage people who are on the fence to get more involved. We will do this by offering a diverse range of activities available in community. People interested will continue to participate, those not interested will hopefully live long and prosper. After so many years I know that we will achieve nothing if we keep arguing. I would just let them rant but don’t want to upset other readers and definitely don’t want to give them a platform for their opinions or that of their masters. If you don’t agree with the science after five decades then my friend you are in serious need of help and I hope you find peace. Enough about that!
Back in the day
I think that my true love and appreciation for the natural world comes from my childhood days of spending so much time in nature. Unlike most of my friends at school I was lucky to spend every holiday, half term or bank holiday weekend regardless of the weather exploring the beautiful south coast of the British Isles.
My father was a wholesaler for “Kiss Me Quick” hats and buckets and spades. His customers were mainly seaside kiosks from Clacton to Cardiff. Every break from school we would travel the south coast in a Commer commercial van and an old ambulance Dad converted into a camper van with storage for trade samples, tents, all the gear and us. We “free camped “ most of the time but in those days it was just called camping because it was still ok to camp in forests, on moors or amongst the sand dunes at the seaside. How out of place we must have looked when in the towns wearing what most people thought was sailing gear – wellies, wet weather waterproofs and sou’westers.
With experience of guerrilla fighting in the Jungles of Burma, an experience he assured me he could have done without, my Dad also taught me bushcraft survival skills and respect for the elements. Not many other kids at my school knew what Cromarty, Forties, Dogger or German Bight were all about.
An abundance of Nature
The term abundance of nature means nothing today simply because there isn’t one.
Back then the abundance of nature I just took for granted. Birds, butterflies, bees, dragonflies… Turn on a light at night on your way to the toilet tent and before long it would be thick with a vast array of moths of all sizes and hundreds of insect species. Yes, including the occasional blood sucking type. But in those days we kind of took our cluster of mosquito bites as badges of honour. Daily sightings of deer, foxes, badgers, rabbits, hairs, stoats, weasels, otters, seals, dolphins, basking sharks, red squirrels, moles, lizards, snakes, newts, frogs, loads of other creatures I have failed to mention and, of course, fish in the rivers and meadow flowers 💐 🌸🌼🌺 EVERYWHERE!
My father would often say then that it was nothing compared to what the nature and the countryside looked like when he was my age. With the drastic loss of 97% of UK wildflower meadows since the Second World War, my son and grandson will have to imagine how wonderful that must have been.
Today sometimes remembering those days fills me with a terrible sense of loss, especially when camping or when walking in nature or what’s left of it with my wife and family. It’s a very sad thing indeed to realise the few children that still play in nature today have no idea what they have lost. 😢
More to follow 🌎🌎🌎🌎🌎