TEM Stories: How new life awakens new passion
It has been two years since I made the move from Lebanon to Australia. Although I made the move with my husband, I remained heartbroken. I had to leave my family and friends behind, and it turned out to be harder than I thought. However, I made it through the cracks of that broken heart and shone the light of hope. Hope and excitement for a new beginning, in the land down under.
This chapter of my life, although still being written, had many firsts, each a blessing on its own. The joy of becoming a family with the birth of our first child and the wonderful motherhood feeling that changed my life, settling down and finally the new habits and values I come to love and hold dear.
First was the new country, a big transition which I’m grateful for. Starting from zero was not easy, adapting to new culture, values and systems was a challenge. I had to identify things such as the social norms, the expectations, and the civil regulations and adhere to them. But the one thing that kept me moving is will and Australia. Australia took me in her arms, and gave me the opportunity to grow, prosper and be a part of this wonderful, multicultural society.
The second blessing was the delight when we welcomed our little girl to the world” . Our own little family, bravely facing the new life we had chosen. With my child came this enriching feeling of motherhood that changed my life. It is almost like I got a new pair of eyes through which to see, and now all that mattered to me was making sure my daughter only had the best. I felt a motivation I had never felt before. A drive that seemed to change how I thought, what I felt and the vantage point from where I stood as part of this world. This transformation triggered the final blessing: new habits and values that I come to love and hold dear.
I started wondering what kind of life my little girl will lead; how safe she will be, and what air she will breathe. Naturally, my mind went to many facets of society. But I soon came to realise so much was out of my control. So, I focused on the things I could do, and the environment proved to be most forthcoming. Delightfully I came to learn that there was a lot I could do. Suddenly, my world seemed to expand.
The first habit I remember picking up was daily recycling. Although recycling is a common practice in the modern Western world, it isn’t in Lebanon. I remember being vaguely aware of sustainability, global warming, and carbon emissions. However, I also remember feeling powerless as a single actor in such a massive problem. The general sense of hopelessness created an unhealthy environment for such passions. Even if you cared about sustainability, society made you feel overambitious. Radical even. In the worst cases, overly political. And as a young, mildly interested person, I paid it no mind . Almost nobody did. The apathy was made worse by the lack of funding and weak environmental regulations. Things like recycling in Lebanon were left up to individuals who had to go above and beyond to deliver recycled waste to limited sorting and recycling plants. Environmental awareness was not at the forefront of any administrative agenda, which was in contrast with Australia.
I will not lie and claim that it was an easy adjustment from where we had come from, we were not used to it, but every time I thought of why I was doing what I was doing, it became easier. The fact that taking care of the environment in Australia was normalised, helped a lot too.
The feeling of being powerless, insignificant, and helpless seemingly disappeared. Everyone seemed to be pulling their weight. And with so much action from everyone, it was easier to feel like we were making an impact; a better world for our little girl and everyone in the generations to come.
So, for two years, we have been staying as consistent as we can. Now, my husband and I take turns in sorting and recycling chores. We gladly do it and point out each other’s mistakes, maybe out of playful competition, but also out of genuine concern. It has become so easy to appreciate the importance of this activity now. And we hope with all our hearts that our little girl will take it up as well. We want to be role models for our child. We want to educate her on the importance of sustainability, and not just when it comes to recycling.
We need her to learn about how to be environmentally friendly, protect nature, choose green products, promote sustainable farming, bring our wildlife back, and so much more. We want to empower her to make the changes for herself and her children too. When I look back at my journey, I think about how community, mass action and most importantly, love, were behind all of it. It makes me wonder if that is what it takes to change the world. Maybe communities that make sustainability a part of their culture will help. Or perhaps a few hundred people, each one of them influencing another five or so, will transform all of us. I can’t assume my motivations are shared by everyone; however, I do know for a fact that the love and concern we have for our families and friends is something that can push even the hardest of hearts.
I am new to the TEM experience; all these multiple chapters of my life led me to a job with real purpose. The purpose of improving the living standards of our future kids in an efficient carbon neutral way.
My baby girl cannot yet speak, although her glowing eyes and toothless smile speak a thousand words. A thousand words that mattered. “I hope each of us find a person that motivates the love and determination to make a change”
On a visit home to Lebanon, I made sure I got my parents on board my journey towards environmental sustainability too. I told them what it meant to me and their granddaughter. What it meant to the world. I didn’t have to tell them twice. I helped them make several changes to their home, like reusing bread plastic bags as rubbish bags, monitoring their energy consumption, composting using their garden, the habit of reusing or fixing things and reducing waste.
We did the same in our home, and we hope that our little girl will keep up the good fight.
After all, she is the spark that lit the fire.