Tuesday, January 7, 2020

What you do matters

I just finished reading 'The Thesis Whisperer's latest post (here) and the title is directly from that.
She's sitting in Canberra helping organise face mask distribution as the smoke thickens and they pack emergency 'go' bags, waiting to see if the bushfires hit.

At the end of the post she hits the nail on the head

"At the best of times, the narrative around the PhD is that it’s pointless. In the middle of a real and pressing disaster, many of you might be feeling even more existential angst about your PhD than usual".

It's hard not to feel like the PhD is a lost cause. To little to late. But she followed this up with another statement

"what you do is important"

I felt like I had to reflect on that. It does feel like our world has shifted somehow, but that's because I can relate to the society in Australia, it's pretty close (colonialism) to the way in which I live.
In reality the 'real impacts' of climate change have been devastating communities already, I just haven't related to it in the same way. That realisation can make you feel pretty lousy on top of the whole 'apocalpyse' thinking.

I'm lucky in a way. It may feel like to little, to late, but I can see how my PhD directly relates to the problem, or to the solutions if I get it done. It might be to late already. But if it isn't then the way in which we understand landuse and landscapes will be central in how we go on to adapt to this new shifted world. Also, trees and floods, pretty much up there.

The terrifying bit is that I'm not due to finish for another 2 years. What use will that be?!
I don't know, but I also can't change that outcome. I can only keep working, stay active in the communities I've become a part of, develop more links and keep working.. 

Maybe I can also do one active thing each month, make one change, plant a tree, make a pollinator hotel for the garden, buy beef from a local farm - ideally practising agroforestry?, fix my bike and cycle instead of driving, one thing each month. We do I bunch of stuff already: recycle or make clothes, avoid buying; reduced plastic; eat less but spend more on better quality meat, avoid flying. Still, most of these things haven't been taxing, and if anything they've improved my quality of life. So here's to change.  Oh and continuing to work on my PhD.

On which note I need to get back to analysing soils data, and trying to remember how to use R Studio properly.

By the way, if you want to know more about my research, I entered a really obscure image into a competition: Images of Research. You can even vote for it if you like! I'll probably write a post about it after the deadline at this rate... but it was a good challenge (procrastination opportunity) and the research may be of interest to some


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