John convened 'Towards a Sustainable Future', now 'Sustainability', for 13 years. On one occasion along the way, when busy on other projects, including his Presidency of Benalla Sustainable Futures Group, John considered pulling back from the role. 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 needing occasionally to remind them 'Now this isn't the Politics class…' to prevent a discussion on an environmental issue becoming derailed.
John's understanding and continued interest and reading about environmental issues set the scene for each fortnightly session. He arrived in class with articles drawing on topics of the day to photocopy, distribute and discuss with class members. These articles were always evidence based, from reputable writers and sources and provided both an increase in our knowledge base and a fertile ground for discussion. With the Covid-19 Pandemic, John began to distribute these articles on-line to all members before sessions, some of which he facilitated using 'Zoom'.
After turning 80, John’s priorities changed, resulting in some ‘down shifting’, but the U3A 'Sustainability' group continue to remain high on his agenda. However, John and Freida have now decided to leave their beautiful sustainably built home at Chesney Vale to move closer to Freida's family in the Bendigo/Castlemaine area.
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 wrote in December 2017 "We need to make our voice heard. We need 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.