83: ROAST YOUR PIPS!
MON 28 Oct 03.38- Mooning Monthly Edition 83 wasting and wanting not......
Last weekend saw peculiarly widespread direct action across the planet. In certain areas, in particular Barcelona, Chile, Equador, Haiti and Hong Kong, 'people power' became civil unrest. The cause in most cases has been social inequity and the perceived unjust actions of those in power against groups and individuals exercising their right to free speech.
In London, the organisers of the People's March claimed a million folk joined them to march from Hyde Park to Westminster to demand a further vote on leaving the European Union. Although the numbers attending the peaceful protest have been challenged, the gathering was activism on a massive scale. In the interest of a balanced column, at the other end of the political and attendance spectrum, Nigel Farage's Pro Brexit march in Nottingham attracted 200 participants.
In the week leading up to the People's March, Extinction Rebellion had been continuing it's fortnight long campaign of civil non-cooperation in central London. An estimated 30,000 activists have taken part (among them a delegation from Mooning Monthly) in an attempt to raise greater awareness of the global ecological disaster currently in full swing. Laughably (or tragically) during the same week, the Metropolitan Police imposed a ban on all XR protesters in London congregating in groups of more than two people. Overnight, wearing an XR badge whilst talking about the Climate Emergency with a couple of mates became a threat to public order worthy of police arrest.. Talk about three being a crowd! Many people were taken into custody in the subsequent days. The police imposed ban is currently being challenged in the High Court as unlawful and disproportionate.
During their widely publicised two week period of protest, over 1700 XR activists were arrested including the writer and environmentalist George Monbiot. (XR Arrest article.) Their prescient argument is that the threat of peaceful, disruptive acts of non-cooperation are insignificant compared to the existential threat to life on Planet Earth represented by climate change.
In Ecuador, Haiti and Lebanon, people took to the streets in impressive numbers to voice their anger at levels of corruption in public office, economic mismanagement and taxation that falls heaviest on poor and rural communities. (article on last week's global protests). In Barcelona, the severe jail sentences meted out to peaceful campaigners for Catalan independence reprise the hateful years of dictatorial Spanish fascism under Franco.
Humanity has been up in arms this lunar month, dear Mooners. We have a voice and it is being exercised. The message seems a common one: the political and economic systems we employ are broken and do not represent the people they were supposed to serve and protect. Across the planet, the welfare of people and wildlife are being consciously undermined by the interests of big business and the super rich. These individuals and corporations seem to enjoy the full protection of the law rather than those whose lives are being trampled by corporate greed. Taking to the streets, even illegally as witnessed in Hong Kong, has been the last desperate recourse for the general public to voice demands for positive change. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr famously wrote: “We know through painful experience that freedom is never given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
The struggles continue this week on many fronts with heavy handed displays of police and military force from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. In the run up to Halloween, it appears the ghosts of dictators past are having something of a revival.
This Monday sees a predawn new moon in Scorpio. This is the lunar month of secrecy, mystery and manipulation; traditionally a time of year when many different cultures around the world (Mexico, Peru, Polynesia, Persia, Celts, Madagascans, Aztecs and Incas to name but a few) honour their forebears in ritual and celebration, the most ubiquitous of which has evolved into the 'international' commercial festival of Halloween.
A little history: our belovèd 'trick or treat' sugar fest dates back to the pre-Christian, Celtic cross-quarter festival (half way between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice) of Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) when the dead were venerated by the living. It was believed to be the lunar month when the normally impermeable boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead became temporarily merged, allowing the souls of those that have passed away to revisit the earthly plane - hence all the associated ghoully shenanigans as the winter nights drew in.
With the Roman conquest of Northern Europe, Samhain was combined with the Ancient Roman festival of the dead, also celebrated at the same time of year. Then, when the Christians eventually turned up on pagan shores, the festival was once again amalgamated, this time subsumed by the Christian celebrations of martyrs and saints held between All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The title given to this Christian festival period was All-Hallows, the evening before being All-Hallowes Eve, which later became Hallowe'en......and then Michael Jackson made the Thriller video.
Halloween is officially now the third biggest holiday celebrated in the UK - after Christmas and Easter - and has become a big money spinner for retailers. Pumpkins, confectionery and plastic costumes are the throwaway order of the day - throwaway being the operative word. Research published this week suggests consumers are expected to discard 8 million pumpkins this Halloween (Halloween food waste article) equivalent to 18,000 tonnes of edible pumpkin flesh. Most pumpkins will be bought solely to carve into lanterns with the interior flesh ignored as a nutritious food, contributuing to the astounding FIFTEEN FRICKIN' BILLION QUID of food waste in UK homes every year. Read that again and weep. £15billion of domestic food waste a year!
Under this slightly scary Scorpio New Moon, with the planet's ecosystem under unbearable pressure, the last party our generation should be hosting is a festival that continues to pile additional shit onto the heavily carbon laced legacy of our ancestors. Surely, we have to be the generation to shame ourselves into producing less, consuming less and wasting less.
We are the generation that has overseen the biggest leaps in atmospheric carbon emissions and, for your information Mooners, the emissions continue to increase. (Daily/monthly/yearly CO2 recording data here). Despite the Kyoto and Paris agreements by the leaders of the world's biggest economies to restrict and reduce carbon emissions, 2019 is already on record as the seventh consecutive year of steep rises in CO2 levels above the previous average readings (article here).
Our legacy for future generations will be recorded as the most gratuitously wasteful period in human history. In our rush for convenience, we literally buy indestructible plastic stuff to immediately throw it away. Perfectly edible food is either over purchased to rot in the fridge or binned by the supermarkets once past its 'best by' date. A report in July revealed that further back down the food production chain, more than £1billion of food destined for UK Supermarkets is thrown away or fed to animals before it leaves farms every year. Poultry on its own accounted for £85 million of that waste in 2017.
Here's a tasty Hallowe'en 'waste not, want not' plan:
Let's make Pumpkin soup!
Ingredients (organic if possible): All the interior pumpkin flesh left from your lantern carving A big lug of olive oil 1 or 2 big onions chopped 4 good sized cloves of garlic chopped 3cms (min) of solid fresh ginger root chopped 1 tablespoon of garam masala 2 pints of vegetable/chicken stock Seasoning to taste
Carve the pumpkin but keep the interior flesh minus the seeds and skin (keep seeds to one side for roasting - see below) Fry up a big chopped onion (or two) in a large pan on medium heat for 10 mins keeping it moving until browned (not burnt). The pan should take a healthy brown hue at the bottom too. Add the garlic, ginger and garam masala, continue to fry for a couple more minutes. Add the pumpkin flesh and move it about for five minutes before adding the veggie stock. Let it simmer for 30 minutes Let it cool for 10 mins then attack it with a hand held soup blitzer or decant it in successive small amounts into a food mixer and blend Add seasoning (and garam masala should you want a more curried flavour) to taste
Roast your pips! Give the seeds a rinse through so they're clean of flesh Chuck em on a roasting tray, spread a a good glug of olive oil over the top then mix it in so that each seed gets a gentle coating Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 10-15mins or until lightly golden brown. Let them cool. Nutritious and delicious, toss them in a salad or enjoy as a snack in their own right
In tandem with last month's Mooning intention to not buy any new stuff, (Mooning Monthly 81 here) let's make a further commitment to restrict our supermarket spending. The superstore encouraged weekly mega shop is the source of so much waste rotting in our over filled, electrically strained fridges. Shopping regularly might be a little more time consuming but let's make efforts to buy only what we need to consume for the next couple of days and use it all up before venturing to the shops again. It might even save us some hard earned cash! If you have fridge bound veggies in danger of going past their best by date, simply chuck them all in a pan with onions, garlic and veggie stock and make a soup. If in doubt Mooners.....always make soup.
Under this secretive Scorpio New Moon we can take the opportunity to come out of the shadows and shine a light on the darker aspects of our personal lives to alleviate the stress that comes with keeping uncomfortable truths hidden. In that same spotlight we can assess the contribution we are making to the lives of others through our thoughts, words and, most importantly, our actions. Unconscious 'easy' purchasing, consumption or waste can mask hidden costs to both people and our planet's ecosystem which, in the coming weeks and beyond, we can actively make efforts to minimise.
With love 'til next time