Image by my kids’ favourite author/artist Oliver Jeffers
I’m writing to you from an apocalyptic Australian summer.
Bushfires and climate change has been weighing heavily on my mind since November, when we were evacuated for three days. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve changed my philanthropic focus. We were safe and our home was safe. But it hasn’t been an isolated incident. Fires have continued to flare and burn across the rest of the country. Over 63,000 square kilometres have been burnt – double the size of the Amazon rainforest fires. Half a billion animals are estimated to have died. There are more people evacuated in Australia than ever before in its history. Smoke continues to blanket large parts of the continent. Our beloved Canberra has experienced some of the worst air pollution in the world.
A bushfire near our property in November
And our Prime Minister hasn’t shown leadership, empathy, or common sense. He continues to lie, and gaslight. This is a man who held up a chunk of coal in Parliament to proclaim how safe it was. We, the world’s largest exporter of coal. We, the country that came almost last in the Climate Change Performance Index. We, the country that will not meet the targets in the Paris Agreement. We, the country, who is aflame.
It’s devastating, and sobering, and a big old freaking wake up call.
The thing is, I don’t think it’s ScoMo’s fault. I think he’s just rather magnificently displayed where our government’s true priorities lie (whether Labor or LNP). And that is in protecting the coal industry at all costs. Even when we are burning.
I’m turning up to write this because there’s nothing else to write, nothing else to say, but to talk about this. And I get this might upset you. I get that our politics might be different. I get you may disagree. I also know I can’t say nothing.
I’ve been thinking deeply about what I can do.
There’s so many good humans doing good things.
I’m in awe of Celeste Barber who has raised close to $35 million (and counting!) for the Rural Fire Service. I am so inspired by Lisa Messenger who has co-ordinated massive amounts of food donations through her network. I have amazing friends who are volunteering at Slabs For Heroes.
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by what there is to do. And then I worry that I’m not doing enough. And I just get stuck in despair.
So I wanted to share with you some of the things I am doing. Because momentum and action help ease that fraught, frantic anxiety.
Next up on my list:
- I’ve got some advocacy friends and an environmental engineer looking over a letter to Ministers. Once it’s finished, I’ll share it publicly for anyone who wants to use as a template.
- Participate in Mad Fucking Witches campaign against NewsCorp.
- Continue researching and reading on the best ways to reduce my environmental impact and affect policy change.
- Continue sharing what I learn.
One of my 2020 goals is to engage in climate change activism.
I’m going to make changes in the four areas… which I then realised was 4P’s… the things that my brain gets excited about at midnight!
Personal: Looking at how I can reduce my consumption and make better choices.
Policy: Trying to affect government policy change.
Philanthropic: Supporting non-profits working in this field through $$$ and/or time.
People: Sharing what I learn as I go along.
Here’s some resources for you if you’re feeling called to learning + doing more:
As Australian Conservation Foundation says:
If you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed…
Earth Guardians created an excellent post – How To Cope With Ecological Distress In Our Bodies.
I’ve been feeling it too.
How I’m managing mine:
- Talking it out with my husband and friends. Research shows that the more you can do this in person, the better it helps with trauma.
- Being mindful of how much news I can really watch right now without losing it.
- Making sure I switch my brain off for little holidays with novels, graphic memoirs (not about fires) and movies.
- Knowing this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.
Dearests, however you are, wherever you are…
I’m sending you so so so much love and gentleness.
Thank you for being you, in this world.
Thank you for stepping up to change this world in the way you feel called.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
I am so blooming grateful.