I wrote a post last year, about being in Tasmania during the worst bushfires ever experienced there. I used the word “apocalyptic”. The post is here https://mylongestjourney.blog/2019/01/30/tasmania-2/
This year, while I am safe here in Fremantle, by the sea in WA, the East Coast of Australia is experiencing a bushfire season that surpasses anything ever know before by orders of magnitude.
I’m not really sure what to say about these fires.
The damage that is being caused to national parks, uncountable deaths of wildlife, home and lives lost; the Australian army and Navy mobilised to assist the over-stretched fire services; incredible outpourings of donations to the fire services, animal rescue services, assistance to victims who have lost everything; then a press who are manipulating the news to focus on the less than 1% arson and ignore the more than 99% natural causes, a Prime minister who went on holiday, his blind refusal to even address the role that climate change is having (although that appears to be changing somewhat).
So everything I say here are my thoughts only. Actually, I’m going to plagiarise, and steal the words of a firefighter from one of the worst hit areas;
First of all does being a firery give me all the insight to this complex issue? Not even close and I need to make that clear. However I’ve felt a strong need to say something here because I just can’t stomach some of the false science and outright lies being peddled on social media as news or facts.
Hazard reduction burns – No, the Greens haven’t been stopping hazard reduction burns from taking place. We still do them and yes we should absolutely do more of them. Yes, the weather extremes and droughts have significantly reduced the window in which it is safe to perform these burns.
Yes, national parks, wildlife and nature reserves need to burn also but are hard to. They are the sanctuary’s for Australian fauna who can no longer survive in the farmlands and housing estates we’ve constructed. Indiscriminate burning of national parks will literally wipe species off the face of the earth as they often have nowhere else to go.
Yes, conditions have been so bad this season that fires have still burnt through areas where hazard reduction burns were completed earlier in the year.
Climate change – No climate change is not starting fires. Lightening strikes, people, negligence etc.. is starting fires. BUT Yes, climate change is contributing to increasing temperatures and increasing drought severity which is creating worsening fire conditions. Yes, climate change is contributing to a longer fire season.
Yes, we should have acted on climate change long ago. All of us. The whole world. Everyone.
No, no one knows exactly how much climate change has contributed to exacerbating the conditions for this year’s catastrophic fire season however the best science available and scientific consensus is that there is an undeniable link.
Yes these fires have been politicised and yes our media is politicised.
The best solution? A royal commission. Let’s let impartial experts tell us what went wrong and how to act in response to it. I think you’ll find we’re all a little bit right as well as a little bit wrong.
What can you do right now?? Fucking donate!! The Red Cross appeal, the Salvation Army, Wires, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, your state Rural Fire Service. Whoever. Do your research and donate wisely.
On top of this, once the smoke clears, grab your mates or family, jump in the car and visit these towns, spend money in their shops, stay the night, help get their local economy’s back on track. They will need our support.
So, when I go to Sydney for a decadent weekend with Andy ( La Traviata on a floating stage by Sydney Opera House, I wasn’t joking when I said decadent, tickets purchased before we bought the house), yes I will visit the coast north of Sydney. Yes, it’ll be scorched and the natural beauty devastated. Yes, it’s going to be heart wrenching. Yes, I’ll visit native animal sanctuaries wherever possible and be distressed when I see animals still suffering. Yes, I have donated, both money and materials for people with more time to create bat pouches and koala wraps and roo bandages. Nowhere near the $70,000,000 donated by Twiggy Forrest, but what I can.
Yes I will bear witness to the devastation, rather than hiding from it. This is the world we live in.