Yesterday was my birthday (31 December) and I had a lovely time. I got spoiled with lots of presents, and we went to see the movie "Cats' for a bit of escapism and it was great. Dora (my cat) would have approved!
On the other side of the continent, however, people were sheltering on a beach whilst waiting for a bush fire to sweep over them all-did you see pictures of this where you live? On our West Australian south coast a very fragile national park is in flames, and I fear the damage which is being done to flora and fauna.
This is a very strange and confronting time to be an Australian. Our successive governments have done very little to acknowledge or even plan for climate change emergencies, and now we are at the beginning of a long hot summer with no relief in sight. For most of Australia it will be months before they have any chance of rain.
We have lost -at this moment- seven confirmed dead- and somewhere around a thousand homes lost. We have many native species at the brink of extinction. This is a terrible thought, and many people find themselves shocked and grieving. For me however, I have been aware and active in this movement to change our world for many years and I have done at least some grieving already. Some years ago, reading one of Tim Flannery's books, I couldn't sleep, and had this urge to get up and go and take pictures of our unique trees down south, before they are all dead! They are not dead yet, but who knows how long they will survive?
For a longer discussion of this topic I suggest you read this from Meanjin and if you have time here is a
I am firmly convinced of the power of hope, and that it is not too late to turn this thing around -I will not be giving up.
I have decided that I have five words which will characterise my year -Radical Action, Community Empathy and Simplicity: RACES for short.
Radical Action will be required from all of us -to challenge the current way of doing things, and especially challenge the assumptions behind them. We have to go beyond fossil fuel based economies -and do it quickly. This will require us each to change our own lives-drive and fly less, for example. That won't be enough unless our goverments, our corporations, decide to rapidly decarbonise too. We have to make them want to do it!
Community is going to be needed because this emergency will test all of us and our ability to be a community will be the key to our survival. We need to look out for the vulnerable and bring them with us.
Empathy is the powerhouse which will keep us going -for example, even if the fires are not here right now, we can feel for those who are dealing with it, and that feeling will spur us to action.
Simplicity is the compass point for everything I do. We all need a lot less 'stuff' than we think we do, and a lot of life can be enjoyed when you know what is important and what is not.
Some of you who read and comment on my blog will be just as concerned as I am. Some of you have been in fire zones and dread the return of them. For others, the problems of climate change may be different -maybe it never stops raining and you have to deal with floods, or polar winds bring icy conditions too far south.
I wish for us all that the new year will bring us clean air, fresh water and food, someone to love and human rights. If any of those are in danger, I wish us courage which will result in action.