“And that’s what you want to do, right? Make the world better. Well this is how I think we should do it. We’ll be like superheroes – sneaking around at night bringing Valentine to life. You were right about changing things. We should be doing everything we can.”

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson (Allen & Unwin, 2015) was longlisted for the Inky Award 2016. I borrowed it from the library and while reading, the shortlist was announced. It’s in the final five in contention for the Gold Inky. If you’re teenaged you can vote for your fav. (Lili Wilkinson founded the Inky Awards a decade ago.)

Astrid is priceless. I laughed and laughed at her efforts to make the world a better place. Annoying, entitled, and oh so sure she has the answer to everything. She has a few things to learn along the way and we have fun on her journey to realising there’s more than one way to change the world.

“I had to get out, back out into the darkness, the soft velvety night where adventures could be had and things could grow.”

I love that Astrid and Hiro stay up all night guerilla gardening. Obviously they need the cover of darkness for their nefarious purposes, but any story set at night has my insomniac’s seal of approval. And like any good insomniac, her day time life suffers. Then Astrid mentions Tom’s Midnight Garden. I read that on repeat as a kid.

“How did you help a flower have sex? Wouldn’t the flowers feel weird that we were there watching them?”

Astrid’s so lucky she has a hot boyfriend teaching her all about sex! Yes, Lili Wilkinson managed to make a book about gardening not totally boring.

“If you’re interested in living and seeing things differently, then you don’t fit anywhere. You can’t exist.”

I used to be the adult version of Astrid (now I know how annoying I must have been). I even made my own museli, not because of sugar content but because I had WA grown oats and every packaged cereal was made in the eastern states.

Back then I blogged about my green adventures and my blogosphere was full of like-minded carers of our planet. I had to wind back my personal crusade because as my mental health worsened many of my sustainable behaviours were becoming too much like compulsions. I still care to the same extent, I just drive my car more and waste more water, etc. I’m starting a house build that has a solar passive design and water and energy saving features, so I guess I’ve just changed the direction of my activism. My plans for a wicking bed for vegie gardening are put on hold until I move. When I start my garden again I’ll use some of the ideas Lili Wilkinson has in her garden.

Green Valentine

While reading Green Valentine and thinking about my environmental footprint, I read this article about the dichotomy between knowing there’s problems and doing something about it.

“Why, when we have so much scientific information about how our natural environment is deteriorating and more importantly what we can do to reverse it, does so little change?”

We need to do more for our planet and Green Valentine shows the small things we can do to make a difference, while having fun!