Paradise Lost: Australian Bushfire Crisis

Whilst the start of 2020 has been all about resolutions, clean eating and quality family time for many, residents across all states of Australia have endured loss, displacement and evacuation. The sense of overwhelming helplessness is difficult to suppress as we watch from the safety of our phone screens with anguish and despair. The scale of disaster is incomprehensible. Right now, the images filling our news feeds look like scenes from an apocalyptic horror movie documenting the end of the world. 

Australia is ablaze and there is no end in sight. As Summer arrives on this vast and isolated continent, I have been watching with wide eyes and a broken heart the country I was once lucky enough to call home burn.

With nowhere to flee, the koala population has been decimated. A koala in a fire climbs to the top of a tree and curls up into a little ball. If the fire intensifies and continues to reach the top; the koala will burn alive. Even if the fire does not reach the tree canopy, they can overheat and fall to the ground.

The fires have affected many I know and love. People are losing their homes, animals are dying and firefighters are being worked to the bone. This is an emergency. Global warming is all we should be talking about right now. It’s happening, it’s real and we are all guilty.

I used to feel like I was doing something; I don’t own a car and frequently use public transport, I have cut meat out of my diet, I share posts to highlight the damage we as human beings are causing Mother Earth and I regularly donate to charity. However, today this doesn’t quite seem enough and I similar to the majority feel totally helpless.

Like many during the past few months, I have featured stories on my grid, in the hope of spreading awareness and to use this platform for the greater good. Yet the Australian Government don’t appear to be listening as the population of a nation voice their concerns and the fires continue to spread out of control.

This is why Australia, previously uninhabited by modern citizens thrived. The First Nations People, who lived in harmony with the land did not just survive, they flourished for 65,000 years, that is until European settlers arrived. The ancient bush which has taken millions of years to form once provided their food, their livelihood, their medicine and their home, yet now it is gone. Perhaps forever? It’s hard to comprehend how the diversity of this habitat will recover and many scientists fear that certain species in this region may now be permanently extinct due to the widespread damage caused.

The Australian Government must step up and implement sustainable Indigenous land management and green light necessary climate action. Aboriginal communities have been fire-farming for more than 50,000 years, their knowledge of this sacred land ensured traditional methods where actively managed and the burning of native grasses (passed from generation to generation) was both effective and safe.

The current fires will shape the future of Australia. We simply cannot let the greed of a minority continue to cause such devastation. Yet amongst the staggering loss of land and life, there are stories of hope, community and strength.

2020… A new year, a new decade and a time to spark change and unite as a global community and fight for our planet. As citizens of this earth we are all accountable; whether we use our voice, our platform, our funds or our time, every little gesture makes a difference. It’s hard not to feel helpless in the wake of such destruction, yet united by the power of hope and guided by compassion and resilience, it is our shared responsibility to take action and educate ourselves on climate change as we face the question “what happens next?”

Thank you to the heroic firefighters and volunteers on the front line who continue to risk their lives in these extreme and unprecedented fires.

Wishing my friends near and far, safety and love.

No donation is too small to make a difference. If you are able, please support the firefighters, medics, volunteers, affected communities and wildlife.

@cfavic for the Victorian Bushfires

@nswrfs for the NSW Bushfires

@redcrossau for relief and recovery

@salvosau for medium and long term disaster relief

@foodbanksaus for those in need of emergency food

@wireswildliferescue to help the countless injured animals

Photo credit: @dale_appleton

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