Think global act local

Today we headed up into the mountains here in Rurutu, with the committee members of our new society, 'Association Te Aru Ora' which aims to protect and promote respect for our environment. Getting this society going has probably been one of the most satisfying achievements of my time in Rurutu, so far. So many people were sitting around voicing their concerns about many issues on the island, but without actually doing anything about it, it was just a question of getting everybody to sit down together and agree that something needs to be done. So, in July we had our first 'unofficial' meeting and since then we've been working on getting registered and official! Now we can start planning our first fund-raising and outreach projects. We have A LOT of work to do here in Rurutu, the islands' population is growing, as is the appetite that the community has for imported foods and electrical goods - but we don't have any good way to deal with our waste. At the moment we are using landfills, but on small island like ours landfills are not a solution, we seriously risk contaminating our drinking water supply, and quite simply there is not enough room. Burning is also a possibility, though again hardly environmentally sound. Increasingly we've been seeing bags of rubbish and broken cars or washing-machines dumped by the side of the road or off the edge of steep cliffs, which is really sad, as the inhabitants of Rurutu have always been so very proud of how clean and tidy their island is. In the past the to'itu (committee of elders) regulated these kinds of things, but as we've become more developed and westernized the committee holds less and less sway with the community. One of our big projects is to get a recycling program going - part of our problem is that it's really not that easy to figure out the best thing to do with all of our rubbish, we can't recycle paper, plastic, glass or aluminium, which accounts for a huge proportion of the waste in our landfills, or at least not at the moment. While it will never be economically viable for us to recycle here in Rurutu, it's probably worth the expense not to be swimming in our own garbage! The great thing about living in a small close-knit community on a small island is that it's actually very easy to change things (for better or worse!), so I'm hoping that with a bit of support from the mayor we can get things moving. Once we've started to recycle the obvious bits and pieces the next step would be to reuse our organic waste, by starting a composting program, at the same time to also try and reduce the needless use of chemical fertilizers, which again risks polluting our drinking water and lagoon.....
Anyway today we went up into the mountains, to discuss the possibilities of establishing a managed natural area, around our highest mountain ridge - including Manureva (below far left), the highest peak in Rurutu, a whopping 384m high! It's beautiful up there, and we were all buoyed up by our great intentions to get things moving......only time will tell.......


Matotea is two!

October 15th was Matotea's second birthday - it's hard to believe that she's two already. While she still isn't really aware of what a birthday is and why it's special, she does like eating cake!!!!


A blog is born!

Since the beginning of the month we've had ADSL high-speed wireless internet here at home. I can tell you it is revolutionizing our life - or rather my life! It's just so wonderful to be able to talk to my friends and family over the internet, it just breaks down those distance barriers. Of course, I wouldn't have been inspired to get revamp my blog without it. With the dial-up I never really could enjoy being online because of the expense and the fact that it was clogging up our phone-line, so plain old web-surfing (that I took for granted in California) was kept to a minimum. Anyway, now I've re-posted many of the old blog entries I had on the old site and am busy back posting a lot of entries that I just never got around to writing or posting, from the last couple of years. Now I have renewed my good intentions to be a faithful blogger, particularly now it's so easy with blogspot! The other big advantage of high-speed is the opportunity for internet shopping - the delivery charges are pretty extortionate and you'd better not be in a hurry - but still hats off to sites like Amazon, for instance, who can deliver to French Polynesia! It's just these little things that make life just that bit less isolated, for all my good intentions to live simply and with nature I can't hide just how reliant I am on modern technology, maybe even more so now I'm here in Rurutu......