When I first began reading SLUG AND LETTUCE, one of the things that attracted me to the zine was Christine's 'Environmental Action' column. Here, she gave info out about environmental problems and actions that you could take in your own daily life.
At that point in my life, I was like an absorbent sponge engulfing any zines, books, and info that I could, and I had a special interest with environmental issues. I guess that's one of the reasons why I was attracted to Christine's column but it also supplemented and added to other info that I was reading. It raised my own environmental consciousness and made me question more.
Environmental issues are all around us. It makes us what we are - whether we live surrounded by concrete or in the countryside - how we as humans live and the actions that we take and the choices that we make all impact on our environment - and yet it is something that we can all have an impact ON. This can be whether we recycle or compost our waste, to not dropping litter, to making sure you dump all your empty beer cans in the bin after a punx picnic session in the park! It all matters. Every little action. Of course there are many more larger scale actions but by starting small, our awareness continues to grow. Sure, there are more serious matters and to what end or extreme you go to in fighting for environmental causes is a decision that only you can make.
That environmental awareness for me has continued however with becoming interested in gardening, the changing of the seasons, the earth in its literal self, permaculture, forest gardening, learning about plants, herbs, remedies for health - it's endless!! - but also interesting!
I guess we all make tend to make links with what we feel comfortable with or identify with out of curiosity, a desire to learn, read, or just come into contact with other like-minded people. However, times change and Christine no longer runs those sections in her zine. That does not mean to say that she is no longer interested about putting info like that forward but there comes a time when you maybe are repeating yourself and your ideas develop and take new directions. I think anyone reading SLUG & LETTUCE over time can see that in Chris's own writing.
This too has happened in my own zine but it has made think. This mainly came to my mind after reading Chris's column about punks growing older together. As we grow older and newer folk become involved, a lot of the ideas, politics and music can seem to be "old news" to many of us; news that we either choose to ignore or act on but a lot of these ideas are totally new and exciting to many others!
It made me think of not only what I put in my own zine but just how much I’ve learnt and changed as a person over time.
For example, 10 years ago I was just getting into the ideas of gardening and growing your own food. Reading zines and articles by folk such as Graham Burnett about "reclaiming something real", DIY politics coming to life! And now, I'm discovering permaculture and forest gardening. Different ways of gardening. More inclusive ways of growing food but in a different philosophy that can be adapted to other areas of your life too.
Is there a place for re-hashing the same old material? Things go and come around again - but what have we learnt? How far have we progressed? Do we take on board the mistakes of the past or do we struggle through the same muddy swamps to learn our own lessons?
As I’ve grown older, some of the more basic elements that seemed fresh and exciting now seem less relevant but fundamentally the ideas and reasons for doing what I/we do haven't changed. These ideas are the core. The things that you go back to when you question why? Just like when I get tired of punk occasionally, a "core" record that changed how I felt/thought, switches me back on, reminds me of what I find amazing about this whole scene and way of life.
Yeah, I think things do need repeating occasionally. There aren't "rules" about what punks should or shouldn't believe in. I'm not trying to state some dogma that we should all follow like sheep. But passions, arguments that you feel strongly about should, I think, be encouraged, discussed, adapted and developed.
Times change - but very rarely do the issues. We still have wars, we still have nuclear weapons, there is still slavery, racism, fascism, exploitation of animals, the environment...the list goes on and it can seem overwhelming but by doing something, by empowering yourself through doing small acts, then can you have the confidence and enthusiasm to think bigger! We can begin by creating our oasis, our own networks and support systems and by living your life through the actions that you take, by being true to what you believe in, you will be amazed at how many other people take notice.
Thanks for reading. If anyone wants to write or discuss anything I have said, please write to: Steve Hyland, c/o Attitude Problem Zine, PO BOX 326, Leeds, LS7 3YR, UK. Cheers.