The news over Christmas holidays was dominated for us, as for many others, by the growing horror of the Australian bushfires ...
We were, and still are, inundated with increasingly horrific images and accounts of flames, burnt-out houses and cars and people rushing to the sea to avoid getting burnt alive.
There have also been stories of selflessness with people trying to save not just their own but their neighbour's property. The soot on the faces of the volunteer firefighters highlighted the lines of fatigue and helplessness as they felt they were losing the battle.
My sister lives in Canberra and was hoping to take a break from the heat by escaping to the mountains in New South Wales for Christmas. Thankfully this was out of the immediate danger zone but we knew enough to know that could change very quickly. She was keeping us informed about her safety by email.
Tues 31st Jan
Tonight is fine. We are still in Jindabyne as we were advised not to travel unless we have to. There is thick smoke everywhere which is unpleasant but we have everything we need and we are in no danger.
Wed 1st Jan
Normally we have a beautiful view of Lake Jindabyne. Today nothing just the brown smoke haze. My beautiful country is burning and I am despondent!
Thu, 2 Jan
Yesterday I was feeling low, but today feeling better as the community shows its strength in working together. The Jindabyne community is great.
For me, there were three emotions I took away from this. First, there was relief as my family was safe. Let's be real here, when the chips are down the people you love come first. Second, there was rage (unlike my sister's despondency) as this didn't need to have happened. Yes, Australia has always had bushfires but not like this.
Whilst I accept that the science is not a simple straight line of cause and effect, the years of drought and high temperatures that caused this are man-made. We have to see our world as one global system and we can't ignore the fact that our behaviour affects people and animals worldwide.
Lastly, there is hope. Let's use this as the wakeup call we need. The solution is there in the last two sentences because the power for good in humanity comes from when we work together. It lifts our spirits and gives us the confidence to find our way through.
Let's make our environment the big issue for the Twenty Twenties!
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