Greenpeace and Peace in the Home

greenpeaceandpeaceinthehome

It is incredulous to think that the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is at risk due to the impact of coal mining. Recently we heard that the Greenpeace ship, “The Rainbow Warrior” was on its way to the Great Barrier Reef so the activists can do whatever possible to help halt the madness, and that it would be docking in Sydney and conducting free tours! My youngest child is passionate about the environment and when I told her about the Rainbow Warrior coming to Sydney, she jumped at the opportunity for a day trip to see it! The Rainbow Warrior is a very special ship, having been purpose built especially for Greenpeace, factoring in the specific needs of a ship that is used for environmental activism. It is also especially significant, given the history of the original Rainbow Warrior’s tragic bombing by the French secret service.

The biggest hurdle to our planned adventure was Mr 13, who was not keen at all. Leaving him at home wasn’t an easy option on the particular day we were going, so we spent quite a lot of time discussing potential solutions. I suggested a number of other activities that he might be interested in doing while we were Sydney, but none of them appealed to him to the degree that he was willing to “endure” the Rainbow Warrior tour and a long train trip as well. Finally I suggested something he jumped at: the aquarium! It turned out to be an absolutely perfect thing to do, because we could see the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, hot on the heels of touring the Greenpeace ship that was on its way to the Great Barrier Reef!

I strongly believe in finding win-win solutions, where everybody’s feelings and needs are taken into consideration. It is well worth the effort because it honours the individual within the family, and respects different people’s preferences. It is a beautiful way to show love. It might take a while, and a fair amount of discussion, but if the intent is to honour the preferences of both parties, eventually a solution will be found that both are happy about. One of the most helpful books I’ve discovered for understanding practical ways of doing this is Winning Parent, Winning Child: Parenting So Everybody Wins.

So we headed off on our train journey, finally arriving at the beautiful Sydney Harbour.

It was such a thrill to finally see the ship!
It was such a thrill to finally see the ship!
It's message and mission were hard to miss!
It’s message and mission were hard to miss!
It was great to get a behind-the-scenes look inside the ship
It was great to get a behind-the-scenes look inside the ship
We learned so many fascinating things, like how quickly they can get their action boats into the water!
We learned so many fascinating things, like how quickly they can get their action boats into the water!
It was also really interesting to learn about the crew, how highly skilled they are, and the reasons why they have such a variety of different nationalities represented.
It was also really interesting to learn about the crew, how highly skilled they are, and the reasons why they have such a variety of different nationalities represented.
Basically, it was just so fantastic to see such an iconic ship docked right in the middle of Sydney Harbour!
Basically, it was just so fantastic to see such an iconic ship docked right in the middle of Sydney Harbour!
Then it was off to the Aquarium to see some weird and wonderful things! (My son had "endured" the day up until this point!)
Then it was off to the Aquarium to see some weird and wonderful things! (My son had “endured” the day up until this point!)
Don't look up!
Don’t look up!
Well hello there!
Well hello there!
This was the creature at the top of my son's wish list of animals he most wanted to see. Do you know what it is?
This was the creature at the top of my son’s wish list of animals he most wanted to see. Do you know what it is?
A dugong!! There were two, actually. They are the only dugongs on display in Australia and two of only six - and the only pair - on display anywhere in the world! Cool, huh? It was so awesome watching them eat!
A dugong!! There were two, actually. They are the only dugongs on display in Australia and two of only six – and the only pair – on display anywhere in the world! Cool, huh? It was so awesome watching them eat!
We got up close and personal with some very strange creatures!
We got up close and personal with some very strange creatures!
And some scary ones that were pretending to be friendly!
And some scary ones that were pretending to be friendly!
Not so friendly when looked at from a different perspective!
Not so friendly when looked at from a different perspective!
I'm not quite sure what THIS creature from the deep is called but she seems quite friendly!
I’m not quite sure what THIS creature from the deep is called but she seems quite friendly!
I was surprised how much the kids enjoyed some of the interactive displays.
I was surprised how much the kids enjoyed some of the interactive displays.
Although some of them were understandably intriguing!
Although some of them were understandably intriguing!
This was a multiple choice quiz and the answer was surprising!
This was a multiple choice quiz and the answer was surprising!
Incredible, huh?
Incredible, huh?
The sand table in the "Take Action" display was a hit. The plastic bag of rubbish left on the ground by a previous visitor shows that some people really didn't get the message!
The sand table in the “Take Action” display was a hit. The plastic bag of rubbish left on the ground by a previous visitor shows that some people really didn’t get the message!
We found it hard to believe that some people could be surrounded by such a clear message about the damage of plastic litter to our oceans and wildlife and just not get it.
We found it hard to believe that some people could be surrounded by such a clear message about the damage of plastic litter to our oceans and wildlife and just not get it.
When we'd finished our visit at the aquarium, it was time for a trip on The Monorail, a light transport elevated rail system that is soon to be taken down after many years. My kids love riding on it and will be sad to see it go, so they decided to have a final trip on it to say goodbye.
When we’d finished our visit at the aquarium, it was time for a trip on The Monorail, a light transport elevated rail system that is soon to be taken down after only being constructed in 1988. Monorail travel was quite expensive compared to trains and buses (aimed at tourists, I suppose) so perhaps they never got the business they had expected. My kids love riding on it and will be sad to see it go, so they decided to have a final trip on it to say goodbye.
We might not have seen any monkeys at The Aquarium, but it seemed there was one on  The Monorail!
We might not have seen any monkeys at The Aquarium, but it seemed there was one on The Monorail!
Two monkeys, actually.
Two monkeys, actually.

All in all we had a fantastically awesome day! And it was really great to find a way to factor in something of interest to both kids, even though one initially hadn’t wanted to go.

World Turtle Day 2012

Last week was World Turtle Day, did you know?

It's World Turtle Day!
It’s World Turtle Day!

Don’t worry, I didn’t either until my dear friend Ruth alerted me to it. It’s an initiative of The Wilderness Society as a way of raising community and government awareness of the importance of protecting our oceans so that these beautiful creatures can have a great habitat to live in. It was so easy to participate. We simply had to build a turtle sculpture out of sand, photograph it and send it in, so that the collected photos could be presented to the appropriate government body.

The great thing was, we had a lot of fun in the process AND we get to be part of sending a very important message to policy makers!

First cab off the rank to construct a turtle (while waiting for friends) was Molly. Her passion to help the turtles was beautiful to see.
First cab off the rank to construct a turtle (while waiting for friends) was Molly. Her passion to help the turtles was beautiful to see.
It was a serious process requiring intense concentration, borne from her desire to really really help the turtles. Note the “Save the Whales” t-shirt. My little greenie.
It was a serious process requiring intense concentration, borne from her desire to really really help the turtles. Note the “Save the Whales” t-shirt. My little greenie.
Friends soon arrived to get in on the action and help the cause!
Friends soon arrived to get in on the action and help the cause!
And then more friends, all hard at work creating sand turtle sculptures
And then more friends, all hard at work creating sand turtle sculptures
And then more friends came....
And then more friends came….
The big boys decided more fun was to be had further up the beach.
The big boys decided more fun was to be had further up the beach.
Some of the kids made a “turtle family”, even though they knew that turtles don’t really stay in family groups like this. They just found the idea of building it too hard to resist! :)
Some of the kids made a “turtle family”, even though they knew that turtles don’t really stay in family groups like this. They just found the idea of building it too hard to resist! 🙂
It was amazing how long the children stayed focussed on the task of creating sculptures and getting photos taken to send in to The Wilderness Society
It was amazing how long the children stayed focussed on the task of creating sculptures and getting photos taken to send in to The Wilderness Society
These girls were remembering the day, about 5 years ago, when they were playing on this same fence, when the Pasha Bulker coal tanker had run aground at this beach during a violent storm. We had come down to the beach to look, and amongst the crowd was a film crew from an ABC children’s TV show called “Behind The News”. They were surprised to see children at the beach because it was “during school hours” and when they found out that our kids are all home educated, they decided to interview them. The final shot of the news story was of these 3 girls playing on this very fence.
These girls were remembering the day, about 5 years ago, when they were playing on this same fence, when the Pasha Bulker coal tanker had run aground at this beach during a violent storm. We had come down to the beach to look, and amongst the crowd was a film crew from an ABC children’s TV show called “Behind The News”. They were surprised to see children at the beach because it was “during school hours” and when they found out that our kids are all home educated, they decided to interview them. The final shot of the news story was of these 3 girls playing on this very fence.

I just love our interesting, varied, family-based learning lifestyle! And I love that we don’t spend all day every day staring at each other across the kitchen table. There are so many wonderful experiences out in the “big wide world”, and so much living to be done. And we get to share it with wonderful family friends. What a beautiful way to live!