Collector resident Adrienne Carpenter believes the standard you walk past is the one you accept.
She’s sick of having to walk past the vast amounts of rubbish strewn on the side of the Hume and Federal highways.
And she’s sick of Australian governments’ responses to environmental issues – especially climate change.
That’s why she is walking the 100 km from Goulburn to Parliament House in Canberra to raise awareness of what she says are unacceptable changes to the world’s climate.
With some basic supplies and her pink-tailed moodle Phoebe by her side, Ms Carpenter, 77, says she is driven by her passion for raising awareness of environmental issues and social injustice.
Talking with Region Media at the Braised Pork Café at Eaglehawk just outside Canberra, after three days on the road, Ms Carpenter says she has picked up what rubbish she can, but is walking with the message that humans can no longer live in a throw-away society.
“There’s rubbish everywhere and I’m ashamed to be part of a world that thinks this is okay,” Ms Carpenter said.
Having been around for generations, Ms Carpenter is siding with the 95 per cent of scientists who say that the earth is in the midst of potentially irreversible climate change.
“Never have we seen the frequency of bushfires like we are seeing now,” said Ms Carpenter.
“When I was growing up, you could go outside and you could lie in the sun and it was quite pleasant.
“You go out in the sun now and it burns your skin almost straight away, and that’s because the ozone layer is disappearing over Australia.”
Ms Carpenter says that Canberra had a normal amount of rainfall last year, but it all fell in dense amounts so that we had flooding instead of the soaking rain we used to get.
“I have lived at Tarago and we used to see Lake Bathurst full of water and Lake George would lap the highway. These are the things that really concern me.
“There are dust storms coming in from western NSW. We didn’t have that happening before.”
Ms Carpenter describes herself as a ‘child of the earth’ and says her heroes are 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough.
She also has plenty to say about what she calls the inaction of politicians to meaningfully address climate change.
“The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has changed the mapping of old-growth forests that have been protected for 20 years so that they can be logged,” Ms Carpenter says.
“Trees are what keep us alive and I can’t live with that in all my conscience.
“Things are hard, but I think governments have to find a way to operate without relying on gross domestic product figures as the benchmark of our posterity.”
She is also quick to shoot down the notion that changes to our climate are cyclical and that one person can’t change the minds of many.
“We have to do things for us,” she says. “We can’t say that because others are doing nothing, any changes that we make are meaningless.
“I don’t have children but I’m doing this for other people’s children. How can you bet on the lives of generations to come that climate change is not true when 95 per cent of scientists say it is true and it is happening?”
A month ago, Ms Carpenter also walked 77 km from Collector to Parliament House to raise awareness of freedom of the press and is now stepping it up to tackle climate change on step at a time.
“All I can do is to try to draw attention to what we’re not doing, and I can’t do more than that. I hope I don’t have to walk from Campbelltown next time,” she says with a laugh.
Ms Carpenter will finish her walk at 11 am in the Parliament House forecourt in Canberra on Thursday, 3 October. You can track her progress via Adrienne’s walk from Goulburn to Canberra for Climate Change Facebook page.