John convened 'Towards a Sustainable Future', now 'Sustainability', for 13 years. On occasions, when busy on projects including his Presidency of the Benalla Sustainable Futures Group, John considered pulling back. However, he highly valued the loyal group of interested class members who had come to know one another very well and delighted in his sessions (…despite having to occasionally remind them, 'Now, this isn't the politics class…', to prevent a discussion on an environmental issue becoming derailed!)
John's continued interest and extensive reading on environmental issues set the scene for each fortnightly session. He arrived at each class with evidence-based articles from reputable writers to photocopy, distribute and discuss with class members. During the Pandemic, John distributed these articles on-line to members before sessions, some of which he facilitated using 'Zoom'.
After turning 80, further ‘down shifting’ was in order, but the U3A 'Sustainability' group remained high on John’s agenda. However, John and Freida have decided to leave the beautiful sustainable home in which they have been so comfortable - which must be difficult - to move to the Bendigo/Castlemaine area, closer to Freida's family.
Thank you so much for sharing your passion for a sustainable future, John. Concerned that future generations will suffer from our inaction, you prompted us to consider, "What did you do once you knew?" inspired by a poem by Drew Dillinger you found particularly challenging
It's 3:23 in the morning
and I'm awake
because my great great grandchildren
won't let me sleep,
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
What did you do while the planet was plundered?
What did you do when the earth was unravelling?
Surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying?
Did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
once you knew?
You once wrote "We need to make our voice heard, to fight for our world. We need to give hope to future generations. How will we answer our grandchildren when they ask, "What did you do once you knew?"
Well John, there is no doubt that your great great grandchildren would feel very proud that you did everything you possibly could once you knew.
Thank you for your passion and unswerving, dedicated contribution towards a sustainable future.