Category Archives: Asphyxia’s Life

Alone but whole

Have you ever chosen to spend your time with people you don’t really feel like being with, including family members, just so you won’t have to be alone? By learning to feel whole in ourselves, and embracing our aloneness, we free ourselves to enjoy our own company, to do the activities we would most like to do without negotiation, and to choose wisely who we spend our time with. It can be a difficult journey, encompassing loneliness and confronting the things we don’t like about ourselves. But it can also be incredibly rewarding. What a gift, to eventually find that your own, solo company is the most precious of all. Rather than choosing others in order to fill a gap within us, we can take the opposite approach: ‘When I spill over, I will need you to absorb my excess.’ What a lovely way to attract others to share the abundance of your self.

If you’d like it, this original artwork is available in my shop here.

The 5 ingredients of a successful food garden

So many people grow food but end up with relatively little homegrown food in their diet, despite making a good effort. I see that often one step or another is missing, resulting in a lot of wasted effort. Afterall, there’s no point pouring your energy into growing food if you aren’t going to eat it. I think of vegetable gardens as an all-or-nothing venture. Go the whole hog or don’t bother. This is what I consider to be the essential ingredients of a successful food garden:

Prepare the soil properly with lots of food and aeration and weed removal. Plants find hard to grow in heavy, depleted soil. No dig gardens are popular but in my experience they often don’t do as well.

Use good quality plants/seeds/seedlings. A good quality broccoli, for example, makes a fat head rather than a few spindly flower shoots. Lots of seed from the garden shop is poor quality. Get your seeds from the same place farmers do or ask at your local farmer’s market whether they will sell you some seed. If you notice good quality seed, treasure it with your life and store it sealed in a dry container in your freezer.

Water water water. A single day of water stress will turn many plants bitter. They should be lush and bright green from start to finish. Don’t skimp on water. Even if you use loads of water, homegrown gardens tend to use less water than commercially produced products – you are still doing the environment a favour.

Immediate pest control. Every day when watering, watch for weeds that threaten to overtake, bugs or problems that will damage the plants and be ready to take immediate action. Waiting even a day or two can mean a lost crop and all your energy so far will have been wasted.

Harvest. Every day, pick a moderate amount of everything that is ready to eat and deliver it to the kitchen. Then process it and turn it into dinner. So many people neglect to harvest. I think the problem is thinking that you have carrots in your garden so when you next need carrots for a recipe you will go and pick some. This is not nearly as effective as simply harvesting whatever your garden has to offer at any time, and then finding a way to cook it into your dinner.

Here’s what I plant for a nice flow of food:

Every month, plant a square metre or two of a mix of:
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beetroot, cabbage, daikon, rocket, peas (winter and spring), beans (spring and summer), lettuce, spinach (winter).

Sept plant:
Tomato, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, corn, silverbeet.

January plant more:
Tomato, cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin, corn, silverbeet.

DIY Medical Research

I have blogged here about my own journey with Ankylosing Spondilitis (AS).  When I was first diagnosed I jumped onto Google and the results were depressing.  Even with a couple of hours of searching I couldn’t seem to find a natural way to treat my condition and side effects of the drugs I read about looked dreadful.  My family, however, encouraged me to do real research, medical research, not just play around on google.  At first I was intimidated and daunted, but finally I got into the swing of it.  And boy am I glad I did!  It took a few months but eventually I discovered both the cause and a method of natural treatment for AS.

What I’ve done now is to write up how I did it, in step by step instructions, to help other people tackle their own research for medical condiions.  You may never find something as conclusive as I did, but you may be able to design your own treatment plan based on results from a number of animal studies and other theories about your condition.

Inspiration

Why do your own research?

  • Animal studies can be 30 years ahead of human studies – you may find ideas you can experiment with even though they are not established practise.
  • Practising doctors don’t have much time for research, and may not be up on the very latest discoveries.
  • There may well be published studies showing effective treatment for your condition, but they may have been dismissed by the medical establishment for inappropriate reasons, such as they don’t respect the individual reseacher because they’ve never heard of that person, or the method of treatment would cause the pharmalogical industry to lose money so they pressure doctors to ignore it.
  • You, because you have the most to gain, are likely to care a lot more and hence do a better and more thorough job of this than someone for whom it is a theoretical exercise.

Doing your own research can make a huge difference!

  • Dr Terry Wahls is a medical doctor in the US with multiple sclerosis.  She knew that animal studies are way ahead of human studies, so set out to comb the medical journals and find out all she could about her condition.  She found a correlation between certain nutrients and brain function, and designed for herself a diet that would cause her brain cells to work properly.  She translated mouse-sized dosages into human-sized meal portions, and experimented on herself.  She has, incredibly, gone from being bedridden with MS to being able to ride a bike and run.  She gave a TED talk which is fascinating.    If she can do it, so can you.  It was she who inspired me to do my own research and tackle my problems directly.
  • Research has helped me with managing my condition: ankylosing spondylitis (AS).  The standard line from rheumatologists here in Australia is that no-one knows what causes it, there is no effective treatment, though symptoms can be reduced significantly with drugs, which have some nasty side effects and are quite damaging to the body.  By doing my own research I discovered that there IS someone who has researched AS and published 65 research papers on the topic!  He found both cause and a method of treatment which is now helping me.  When I bring his research to the attention of the rheumatologists I see, they dismiss it and say it’s a coincidence that diet helps my condition.

Getting Started

Make time for research

I suggest you allocate an hour, maybe three or four times a week, to do some research.  You should probably think in terms of spending at least a year like this – it may seem like an awful lot of time, but a few hours a week for a year isn’t really vast, and in the end, it’s your life that’s on the line, and you may well turn up something that will help enormously.

Ask yourself questions

Get yourself a notebook, or start a file, and write down a few questions.  Plan to start with a handful of specific questions:

  • Get a general understanding of the mechanism of your condition.  What is known about it?  What characteristics are involved?  You probably already know a fair bit – jot down what you know, but don’t assume it’s correct.  Write a list of things you know about your condition that you should cross check.  And as you are researching and learn more, add to this list.  Create a list of confirmed items you know about it and a list of unconfirmed items.
  • Write down your research goals in the form of questions.  You probably want to know how to manage key symptoms, whether they can be prevented, what causes your condition, whether it can be cured…
  • Write a list of drugs and conventional treatments you know about, including what you are currently on, have been on etc.  For each of these you should find out how various doses affect people, their efficacy (how well they work), and what side effects are involved  Also check into long term effects of taking each drug.

As you research, add to your list of questions.  It may seem impossibly, overwhelmingly long, but don’t be put off by that.  Expect research to take a long time, and just slowly work your way through it.  At the start, aim to get a bit of an overview, a bit of info to start your answers to each question you have already.  Then pick an area to go into in depth.

Where to research

Pub Med is a website that publishes abstracts (summaries) from published research papers.  This is a great place to start.  If you find the abstract from an article that is interesting, note it down and make note of the authors too.  If an article is particularly interesting, find a way to read the entire article.

The Cochrane Library publishes reviews of medical research.

British Medical Journal is another place to look.

Universities are great because you can search for published articles without paying any fees, and you can generally read the whole article.  While I was researching, my sister, who was studying at Melbourne Uni, let me log in using her account.  She helped me find the correct webpage to enter my search terms, and from there I went solo.  If you know someone who works or studies at a university, who is prepared to let you use their account, this is a very helpful way to go.

Search online for medical journals that relate specifically to your condition or a group that your condition is a part of.  For instance, I checked out rheumatology journals.

Google and the internet in general is a good way to get broader information.  For example, to understand lactose and its presence in various dairy foods, I used google to gain a layperson’s knowledge, and then cross checked a few snippets of this new knowledge with published articles.  Remember that anything you read on the net may be invented, or written by someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about, so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s worthwhile because a lot of information has been translated into layperson’s language.

Research process

As you read abstracts and articles, you’ll probably find you don’t understand a lot of it.  Don’t worry about that.  Just let it wash over you, and trust that if there’s something interesting, it’ll stand out.  If you do find something that seems interesting, go back and read it a few more times, maybe look up a few of the words involved, and see if you can write your own version in normal English.  This will help you make sense of it.  Over time you’ll probably find you start to understand more, as you become more familiar with the terms used and the details of the condition.

So, as you search for articles, make notes the whole time.  If you find anything interesting, jot it down in your file, or copy over the entire abstract.  My dad, when researching, if he finds an abstract that is interesting, prints out the entire article to read later, while in the car or during other dead time.

If you find an article that shows promise, note down the authors and do a search for each of them individually, to see what other papers they have published on this topic.  This was what uncovered it for me.  I found an early article into the role of klebsiella in AS, and when I searched for other articles by the author, I not only turned up his much later research papers in which he had conclusively announced the cause of AS, but I also discovered that he had founded a website which was a forum for AS. This was a wonderful resource for me.  So check out your authors, both in published journals and on google.

As you read, you’ll come up with more questions.  Write them down.  Your list of questions may seem impossibly long.  Don’t lose heart.  Just plod.  Every now and then read over what you’ve written, letting your mind make new connections and ferret out new questions.  Write down theories for yourself, and then attempt to prove/disprove them.  Use your body as a human guinea pig.  If you find some ideas that are unlikely to be harmful to try out, give them a go, and keep notes and charts.

Keep a list of your search terms, and add to them as you find out new ones that help you.  For instance, my rheumatologist told me I had spondyloarthropathy, but as I searched, I came to understand that this was a newer term for ankylosing spondylitis, so I figured that research that had been around for a while would be under the old term.

Records

It’s also a good idea to keep a record of the state of your condition.  Starting with today, devise a system, ideally numerical, to give each day a rating.  That way you can rate your highs and lows.  You may get a picture over the period of a year or two.  And if you do find something, you can see if it really does impact you or if it’s just a placebo effect.  In your rating system, include a place to record items of interest.  For example, was there something that might have triggered this flare in symptoms?  Was there warning that it was coming?  Once you’ve established your rating system, go back over the past few years, and note down various events / symptoms relating to your condition. If it seems possible that diet is implicated, jot down what you eat.  If you are taking medications, note them down and the dosages and side effects.  The more detailed your records, the better your chances of tracking your progress accurately.  This will be helpful if you start experimenting on yourself.

Goodluck, happy researching, and please leave a comment here to let me know how you go, especially if you turn up something useful.

Recently I attended some training about how to give presentations. I was disappointed to see that the training did not include anything about how to ensure your presentation is inclusive. I put my hand up and offered to run a short session on key pointers for inclusivity. This is stuff that is useful for anyone talking to a group – teachers, in meetings, when giving presentations. I’m including my tips here so that everyone can benefit from them.

Aim to have a single method of presenting that includes everyone rather than expecting a person with a disability to ask you for access. Many people are not comfortable to ask, or don’t know what to ask for ahead of time. When I was at school, I communicated orally and my parents had told my teachers I was only a little bit deaf. I had no support for my deafness in the classroom, and most of the teachers were oblivious to my needs. I didn’t even know what they were myself, as no-one had ever taught me how to ask for access, nor even that I should. I assumed that the other kids in my class found it as difficult to understand the teacher as I did. You don’t know who in the room is struggling, and they may not even know themselves. So make it easier for everyone by building inclusion into your talk from the start.

While presenters don’t always have input into the venue, if you do, be sure to check it’s wheelchair accessible. If you are booked to do a presentation, ask that question at the time of booking, if only to make the organisers think about the necessity of considering wheelchair users and parents with prams/strollers.

1 in 6 Australians have a hearing loss, and most don’t sign. You will never know who they are, whether they are in the room or not, nor who is struggling to understand you or trying to lipread. The following tips do not hurt hearing audiences but make it easier for anyone who is having trouble hearing you:

  • Check sightlines before your talk/meeting and make sure everyone in the room can see your face and any demonstration materials. That means walking to the extreme left and right in the room, to the back and the front rows, and sitting down to see what they can see. If they can’t see you, there’s a problem. Fix it before you start. Maybe you need to move further back or stand on something or rearrange the room.
  • Add subtitles to any videos you will show. This is good not just for those with a hearing loss but anyone on the autism spectrum and people from overseas as well. It’s cheap – you can add subtitles for about $1.25 a minute via Rev.com.
  • Stand still at the centre front, rather than roaming the room. While you can turn your head from one side of the audience to the other, be mindful not to turn it too much – ensure everyone can see your face at all times.
  • Hold your microphone low, in front of your chin, so that it doesn’t cover your lips.

If you are working with an Auslan interpreter, be mindful of the following:

  • There is a time lag to interpret. If you ask a question, wait for the interpreter to catch up before taking answers, so that the Deaf person has an opportunity to answer too.
  • Also with interpreters, be careful not to block the sightlines between them and the Deaf person.
  • Be aware that the time lag with an interpreter means that the Deaf person will miss the opportunity to spontaneously chip in with a contribution, so if you are having that type of discussion, make sure to ask the Deaf person at times if they have something they would like to say. Or better still, conduct the discussion in a format that requires everyone to raise their hands before speaking. This is more Deaf friendly as it is the same system for everyone.

Remember that some students may have difficulting seeing properly, so if you hold up an image, be sure to include an audio description. You don’t need to be really obvoious about it. Just say, ’See the house in this picture? Can you you see the weathervane on the top? Well, that weathervane…’ That way your description is built into the talk.

Remember that some people may be colour blind, so avoid asking the audience to rely on colours. If need, label the colours.

Remember that some people are non-binary or have gender issues, and some people are queer or LGBTIQ+. So omit gender from your language. Don’t say ‘boys and girls’, say ‘kids or children.’ Don’t talk about relationships by referring to ‘husbands and wives’ or ’the man and the woman.’ Say, ’The person’ and ’their partner.’ If taking questions from the audience, don’t say, ‘Yes, the boy up the back with the black hair,’ as the person may not identify as a boy. Using gender-neutral language is one of the best ways we can move away from our habit of categorising by gender, which moves us away from stereotyped ideas about binary gender. Let’s aim to think of us all as people rather than identified by gender.

I hope that you will build inclusivity into all your teaching, meetings and presentations. Please share this post with anyone who might benefit from it.

2021 – a disabled artist created and managed exhibition

A little while ago I was invited to submit work for 2021, an exhibition that is 100% Disabled artist-created and managed, which displays works of disabled representatives from various parts of the community – LGBTQI+, First Nations, Neurodiverse, dDeaf, Regional. The exhibition is finally live online and well worth a look. I really love the curator’s notes that accompany each piece.

Check it out here.

These are the pieces I submitted. For details about them and to buy, check out the exhibition.

How gender stereotypes are created

Do you ever wonder why our society is so obsessed with gender? What makes it SO important that most of us simply cannot relate to a person unless we know their gender? Are boys and girls innately different or is it society that shapes us? I have wondered this for a long time, and finally I found a book that offered real, evidence-based answers:

Here’s what I learnt from the book

We are obsessed with gender.

The first thing a baby is likely to hear when out of the womb is a pronouncement of his/her gender. Every day, for the first weeks and months of a child’s life, they hear their parents announce over and over which gender they are. We use gender to label, sort, segregate and even colour-code people. It becomes the most important category to which a child belongs. it is like saying to our children, “Your gender is really, really important. It determines what activities you’ll like and how you will behave. Please pay attention to how boys and girls behave and act and shape your preferences accordingly.”

We humans love to categorise things.

Creating stereotypes is an innate trait – it’s a way for us to quickly and easily understand our world, and we do this from a young age. The reason that so many stereotypes centre around gender is because that’s the focus our society gives it. If we give children a different focus, they will just as quickly create stereotypes around that.

A study on stereotypes.

Rebecca Bigler, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Texas, shows that simply labelling a group leads children to develop stereotypes about that group. For example, students in a primary school class were each given a red or blue T-shirt and told to wear it every day for six weeks. The teachers treated these colour groups in the same ways they would treat gender. They said, “Good morning, blue kids, red kids!” “Let’s line up blue, red, blue, red.” Names were written on a blue or red bulletin board and students had a card of that colour on their desk. Students weren’t asked to compete with each other and the teachers showed no favouritism towards either group. They simply labelled the kids as being red or blue, over and over again.

In the next classroom, a ‘control’ group of children wore red and blue T-shirts but the teachers never mentioned the colour.

The result?

After only four weeks, children formed stereotypes about their colour-coded groups. They liked their own group better than the other group. Red-shirted children would say, ‘The blue kids are not as smart as the red kids.’ Just like with gender, they said that all blue kids act one way and no red kids act another way. They began to segregate themselves, playing with kids from their own colour group more than those with the other colour group, and were more willing to help kids in their own group.

The children in the control group didn’t form any stereotypes based on colour. If adults ignored the groups, even when there were very visible differences, children did too.

Simply by mentioning gender all the time, and sorting our world based on gender (think separate toilets for men and women, separate sporting events for men and women, separate clothing areas in department stores…) even if we never say anything stereotyped about a particular gender, our children will form the stereotypes for themselves.

We shape ourselves to fit our group.

Through similar classroom experiments, Bigler showed that children teach themselves to like and remember the activities favoured by their group, and tend to dislike and forget the details of activities favoured by the other group. This explains why boys may like remember every make and model of cars, while girls might like and remember details of how to use make up. Children quickly identify which group they belong to, and set about shaping their own knowledge preferences to fit.

We trick ourselves into believing our own stereotypes.

Children (and adults too) tend to forget exceptions to the stereotypes. For example, many children form the stereotype that women like cooking. Even when researchers show children a photo of a man standing in front of a stove, and tell the that this man likes to cook dinner for his family, if they ask the children about the man later, it doesn’t alter their stereotypes about cooking. Some children, when shown a picture of a female school principal would later remember her as the ‘lunch lady’ or ‘secretary’, while they’d remember the male cook at a hospital as being a doctor. We actually alter our memories to fit our stereotypes, rather than allowing our stereotypes to be altered by experience.

What can we do?

Because stereotypes are so hard to change, it’s good to get in at birth if possible. But we can all start to shift things now by ending the way we label and divide our world by gender. Instead of saying ‘fireman’ say ‘firefighter’. Instead of saying ‘See that man over there?’ say ‘See that person over there? The one with the blue shirt?’ Instead of saying ‘Good girl,’ say ‘Good kid’. Don’t invite ‘the girls’ over, invite your ‘friends’ instead. As shown in the  classroom with red and blue T-shirts, language is powerful. Small alterations can make a big difference.

Let’s get started today. Who wants to join me in going gender-neutral for one week? Watch your language and see if you can delete gender from it as much as possible.

If you’d like a print of this painting to remind you to stay on track with going gender-neutral, you can order one here.

The aesthetics of a wheelchair

This is my new wheelchair, which was funded by NDIS. I have been waiting impatiently for it as it represents freedom and comfort for me.

I am so grateful that we have NDIS and that I didn’t have to pay for it myself as it cost $35,000. Are you shocked by the cost? I am. It was the only wheelchair available that could meet my needs, as I need to travel in a reclined position. It also has to have decent suspension to handle the terrain of my farm and local roads – a rare combination. At first I thought I would never find a wheelchair that meets my needs, and I was so grateful to the guy who figured out how to put this one together for me. He worked really hard to find a combination of parts from various wheelchairs and put them together into a single machine. Given this, you can see that I didn’t exactly get to choose from a range of chairs. You can buy a decent new car for that price, and the car would be larger and have more features. I get that there is an economy of scale for cars that there isn’t for wheelchairs, but there are still a lot of wheelchair users out there.

I don’t really understand why this chair costs so much more than products of a similar type and complexity (I’m thinking here it’s a combination of the features built into electric reclining armchairs, electric bikes, motorbikes, cars and computers). I have noticed that disability equipment is crazy expensive. Really, the wheelchair is pretty much a combination of an electric bike and a reclining armchair. Say we take the cost of the reclining armchair as $2,000, and we add the cost of an electric bike with suspension, say another $2,000, and then we throw in $2,000 for a computer, and an addiitonal $2,000 to put it all together into a coherent unit, we are still only up to $8,000. Add in another couple of thousand for the really personalised and helpful customer service I had from the guy who has come out several times to consult with me and ensure the wheelchair meets my needs, and now we have $10,000, still less than a third of the price. Why the massive discrepency? Is there some sort of mark up involved because we have a disability? If you’d like to enlighten me, please leave a comment.

One thing that does strike me, is that when you buy a car, motorbike, electric reclining armchair or computer, it comes with some kind of casing, with attention paid to the aesthetics. (I would have guessed there’s be a similar economy of scale for electric armchairs as these kinds of wheelchairs.) The manufacturers make an effort to hide the wiring, screws, brackets and machinery with fenders, upholstery or a cover. A lot of effort is generally spent coming up with a pleasing design, because successful marketing depends on that. Think of the different look of cars over the eras, and how the aesthetics of the fenders (the metal casing of the car) have made a car fashionable and coveted. Most people would not buy a massage chair for their lounge room if it would be an ugly eyesore of wires and screws, so attention is paid to making sure it looks like lounge furniture, with foam upholstery and a careful choice of fabrics.

It looks to me like the manufacturers missed that step with my chair. What happened to the aesthetics? Where are the fenders, the attractive upholstery? Why are they charging me so much for something that looks so unfinished?

Again, I have to question whether there are different rules for disabled people. Is it thought that we don’t care about this stuff? That having a physical disability means we don’t care about how we look and present to the world? I find that astonishing. After all, when I am sitting in that chair, its function will be like that of a coat. Perhaps it will be the first thing people notice about me, the most dominating aspect of my presentation. Imagine if I wore an attractive dress under a large and hideous coat. The coat would likely be create the main impression people make of me, and possibly they wouldn’t even notice the dress. I suspect this happens a lot to people who use wheelchairs. We are forced to wear the equivalent of coats that are aesthetically unappealing, and which dominate how we present to the world. This does much to perpetuate unfortunate stereotypes about people with disabilities.

We could also compare a wheelchair to a piece of furniture. It is standard to take care in selecting furniture, because the style of your furniture influences the mood and energy of your home, and reflects something about the personality and lifestyle of the person whose room it’s in. A large black leather couch sends a different message and creates a different vibe than a small cane couch with floral cushions. Like many people, I take an interest in the aesthetic of my home and choose carefully. But my wheelchair, which will sit in my home when I am not using it, appears to have been created without any thought to how it will influence the mood, energy and style of my home. In fact, it looks a bit like I’ve brought in the lawnmower and accidentally left it in my lounge room. What kind of vibe do you think that creates?

Again, do wheelchair manufacturers think that for people with a disability, the style and energy of their home doesn’t matter? If I was a manufacturer creating a high end expensive product, I would ensure that there were covers created in a range of styles to suit the personalities of my various customers. I’d have something sporty, something shabby chic, something with the feeling of an old world man’s den, and something neutral, modern and classy. I’d also provide patterns and templates so that people could customise their own styles if they wishes. In the context of $35,000, it would not cost that much extra to offer this. For most products, it’s a standard part of the budget to build in a cost for casing. Imagine if you decided to manufacture toasters and didn’t allow a budget for the exterior! Why is this not a standard part of the process for disability equipment?

I think because of this problem, disability equipment plays a role in the stigmatisation of disability. After all, I think it is rare that an able bodied person would spot someone using a wheelchair in public and think longingly, ‘If only I had one of those!’ But when I used to go out on my electric bike, people expressed to me their desire to own one all the time. After all, electric bikes are considered cool, unlike wheelchairs, despite the fact that both are vehicles that allow us to sit down and be propelled somewhere while carting with us a small amount of stuff.

When I spend $35,000 on a replacement for my electric bike (or an organisation like NDIS spends that on my behalf), I’d like to think I am getting something cool. Something which, when taken out in public, inspires people to long for one and feel lucky I get to sit in it (as they might if they admired my bike, car or couch), rather than to feel sorry for me.

I am glad I am an artist. If the manufacturer won’t do this as part of product development, I will do it myself. My challenge is to design an exterior aesthetic for this chair that is practical and comfortable, something which will look good in my lounge room, go with my clothing in a stylish way, and inspire people to covet the chair.

How to really grow food in your backyard

For more than twenty years, I have grown food.  For the first ten years I had limited success, and was pretty baffled as to how an ordinary backyard could really produce enough food to feed a family.  Over a three year period, however, I made changes to what I was doing, and found I could produce 80% of my family’s vegies and roughly half the fruit from a normal suburban block.  Here, I share with you what I learnt, in the hope that it can help you feed your family from your garden too.

I’ve written everything I know about growing food here.

Our Democracy

My good friend Saffron has been using her skills as a lawyer to lobby the government for years to make changes based on climate change. However she eventually became disillusioned due to lack of progress. The biggest obstacle to the government making positive change for our climate, she discovered, is that they are dependent on funding from harmful industries, such as fossil fuels. We are supposed to be in a democracy, which in theory protects us from biases and inappropriate influence like this. But the reality is that these big corporations are deciding our future, and until we put a stop to their influence, we will be unable to make progress on important issues like climate change. Saffron has channeled her energies now towards fixing this, and started Our Democracy.

You can help by signing the petition to bring in laws that prevent this type of harmful influence, and sharing this post to encourage others to do the same. This is the best thing you can do to support climate change right now.

As it says on the Our Democracy website, ‘Our democracy works best when the government puts the best interests of people, our communities and our planet at the heart of every decision. But right now that isn’t happening and harmful industries like gambling and fossil fuels are skewing our democratic processes to win political outcomes that put their profits ahead of our wellbeing. The people who are suffering the most from the status quo are already disadvantaged — the families torn apart by gambling addiction, and the communities who lost entire towns in unprecedented bushfires fuelled by climate change.’

Please sign to make a change. I have already.

Learn Auslan – Body and hygiene

Here are some Auslan signs you can use to talk about your body and personal hygiene:

  • brush teeth
  • brush hair
  • bath
  • shower
  • bed
  • feet
  • hands
  • head
  • eyes
  • nose
  • mouth

This post is part of my free online Auslan course. See the rest of the course here.

To learn more about what it is really like to be Deaf, details about the Deaf community and how Auslan is used by Deaf people, read my book, Future Girl.