TEMPERATURE-WISE, 2020 started with a bang in Bathurst - 37, 37.5, 38 and then 41 degrees on our first day home from a stay in the much cooler Perth. I immediately decided to bear witness to the temperature by crocheting a rug, a stripe every day in different colours to represent Bathurst's daily maximum temperature through the year.
Later in 2020, I became aware of other stripes, blue to red across a Zoom conference background. Then came a call to #ShowYourStripes. Common Grace asked knitters to Knit for Climate Action, creating a climate stripes scarf to give to a federal politician. The climate stripes are based on the average global temperature for each of the last 101 years.
As I knitted, I became aware of how deeply personal this scarf was to me. The first stripe in the scarf, 1919, was the year my father was born - colour one of 16, the darkest blue. In the 1950s, my husband and I were both born in colour-five years - pale blue. There had been warmer years before then, and there were cooler years afterwards.
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Our children were born in the 1990s, both in yellow (colour-eight) years. As I packed each colour of wool away, not to be used again, I realised that neither of these now 20-somethings had ever experienced a year cooler than the year in which they were born. The scarf stripes for the last 25 years to 2019 became inexorably redder and darker.
Knitting the temperature data into a scarf made clear to me the rate of warming of our world, and showed how urgent the need for action is. The completed scarf also enabled conversations - at the Sustainable Living Expo, people searched for their birth year, their children's, and their grandchildren's, and the differences in temperature were clear.
The winter solstice, Monday, June 21, is also #ShowYourStripes Day, on which Common Grace will start presenting scarves to politicians in Canberra, with a hope that they act urgently on climate change to secure a safer tomorrow for all of us.
Other countries have made significant pledges that are driving down the expected temperature increase, but Australia is still not acting.
From June 21, look out for politicians wearing the scarves that tell the truth of climate change, and consider how you can encourage a federal politician to take action.