Meet the team – Merryn
Every month we’ll be getting to know a new CAMer and putting them through their paces with our 20 Questions.
This month we ask CAMs MasterChef, whale warrior and ring arounder – Merryn, the hard questions.
Sunlight; desert landscapes; the kind of travelling where you get somewhere new everyday; hiking; Kikkoman organic soy sauce; vegan ice cream; fair trade chocolate; HBO TV series; animals in the wild; activists and civil society campaigners.
Things that are cheap because someone has being exploited to make them. Companies that pay people to do horrible things. Consumption that doesn’t take into account the consequences on others. And also, when a TV series gets axed halfway through the season.
3 What do you do?
I’m a pediatric doctor, working in a Children’s Emergency Department. Over the last two summers I was ship’s doctor on the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin in Antarctica, looking after people protecting whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
4 What do you like most about Moreland?
We’ve got everything we need locally – libraries, gyms, green grocers, craft shops, bike lanes, trams, cafes, hardware, and the market at Ceres. The mix of people from different cultural backgrounds is great and reminds me of home in Sunraysia where lots fo people from Italy and Greece migrated post WW2. And I love the old houses with backgardens with lemon trees; the old brick warehouses.
5 What’s your background?
I grew up in Red Cliffs, near Mildura, and moved to Melbourne to go to medical school. I’ve been here most of the time since, with a bit of travelling in between.
6 What’s your biggest fear about Climate Change?
That, after millions of years of life developing on our wonderful planet, we will lose it’s beautiful diversity in just a couple of hundred years by burning fossil oil, coal and gas. Also, that if we don’t prepare for climate change and peak oil by building renewable energy for energy security, the quality of life of people all around the world will plummet and the successes we’ve made in some places in overcoming slavery, sexism, violence and disease will be lost. I don’t want our children to live like that.
7 What action would you like to see happen on Climate Change?
In Australia, a Feed-In-Tariff to pay people for generating renewable energy. That would support a massive roll out of utility scale solar thermal plants and wind farms, as well as local energy production – like big solar panels on every supermarket roof! Apparently some of the big supermarket chains are really keen to do that if only the Governmnet would put in the right policy mechanisms to support it.
8 Funniest CAM story?
I made a Hazelwood cake for the National Day of Action on Replace Hazelwood this month. As we were carrying it to the car, one of the eight smoke stacks I’d carefully built from cake dived off the back of the cake onto the road. Then another one collapsed on the way to the stall. But strangely it was fortuitous because the Brumby Government has said they’ll close only 2 of the 8 generating units at Hazelwood – and those two are said to be broken anyway – so it was cake imitating life! Hopefully the Brumby Government will pay me compensation for retiring two of my cake stacks early like they are planning to pay the powerstation owners.
9 What have you done to live a more sustainable life?
The number one thing is that I’m vegan because I love animals, and animal agriculture contributes upwards of 20% of greenhouse gas pollution. I work part-time so I can volunteer on projects I’m committed to – like climate change and ocean conservation. It keeps my income and consumption low and my quality of life really high, because I’m working with fantastic people doing things I really care about. I always chose Green Power, but now I’m really lucky to live in a share house with an amazing vegie garden, great insulation, solar hot water and solar panels.
10 What do you like about CAM?
It’s great knowing people in the local area – if you don’t have children often all of your friends are from work and spread around the city. I bump into CAM people at the gym, in the shops, on the street – and they are all great! It’s a pleasure to know people who are committed to a better future for people and the planet.
11 If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
Find an ethical investment scheme with a reasonable interest rate and use the interest to make cute youtube animations, telling everyone how life will be much better when we buy less, spend more time together, eat healthy delicious vegetable based foods and use renewable energy!
12 If you were the leader of the world what’s the first thing you’d do?
Ban harming animals for food, entertainment or sport.
13 What song would you like played at your funeral?
Chumbawamba’s By and By: it instructs people to “dry your eyes, ring around, carry on”. I’m the one in CAM always harping on about doing “ring arounds” of members, so we’d need someone else to do that.
14 Which person from history would you most like to have a drink with?
My grandma! Except she didn’t drink. We’d have a soy hot chocolate.
15 If a movie was made of your life who would you like to play you?
Claudia Karvan – she’s played lots of doctors/young-professional types with a similar mixture of passion, determination and frequent bouts of cluelessnes. And, she once gave my sister the same birthday present that I did, which was weird. Also, we have the same hair.
16 Red or Blue?
Red – it’s a great colour for bicycles!
17 What keeps you awake at night?
Thinking of losing the incredible biodiversity we have on Earth – millions of year of evolution of amazing plants and animals. It makes me so sad.
18 What’s are you reading at the moment?
I’m embarrassed to admit it but I was reading Beyond Zero Emission’s Zero Carbon Australia 2020 plan before bed last night. It has some really beautiful photographs of solar thermal mirror fields. And the diagrams are very nicely colour-coded too!
19 Where is your favourite place to eat.
Trippy Taco on Smith St does fantastic vegetarian Mexican food – vegans nachos or a vegan burrito with beans or marinated tofu. Then chocolate-banana tortilla for dessert!
20 What’s your favourite drink?
There used to be a juice bar at Daimaru where the staff would let you make extravagant juice combinations: the best was strawberry, pineapple and orange with fresh lime and ginger. Mmmmm.