I’m so sad. I’m actually crying right now.
But I had to sit and write this in the hope that it will help you all make change. Help you to meaningfully look at your life habits and think about the future. I talk about this stuff all the time, but this time it’s more serious.
Why so serious?
Maybe it’s because I’m about to have a baby that it’s hit me harder than normal? Is it wrong that I feel guilty already about the world I’ll be leaving behind for him? I hope he’ll be ok?
Or is it because the place I call home, Australia, is literally on fire. The state I was born in is burning. The mountains that are snow topped in the winter are now filled with flames. Smoke has reached New Zealand. The size of the burnt area is half the size of England, can you imagine if half of England was engulfed? Half a billion animals have perished and perhaps entire species lost. The only way these fires will be put out is by mother nature. It needs to rain. Yet it won’t. And what if it doesn’t, how long will they burn for? And the smoke. The long term health implications of this will be absolutely terrible.
What most people outside of Australia don’t realise is that our rural fire firefighters are largely volunteers and these are the people who are on the front line.
It’s awful feeling helpless isn’t it? We all know the feeling. We will have all experienced it at some point in our lives. As I watch videos of koalas fur smouldering as they are pulled off trees to be rescued, of a burnt, dead kangaroo stuck to a fence because it couldn’t get out, of families being separated and of a country that is now so divided by politics, I just feel lost. It hurts. I did wake today feeling slightly more optimistic. It’s refreshing to hear that the country is pulling together and the support I’ve seen is outstanding. It does make it a little easier. Just a little.
Is there anything we can do? We can start by not ignoring it. We can start by educating ourselves on how to help and stop being ignorant. We can start by making it our problem.
Change for the environment
So, when I speak to people or put out tips on making change for the environment I am actually serious. It’s not just some little thing I do because I have time. It’s because I want to make a difference and I want others to as well. It’s because it angers me every time I see people not thinking about their actions before they do them. If we don’t actively consider what we do now, there will not be a next time. No seriously there won’t.
I am not an environmental scientist. I studied human nutrition. Very different, yet both are sciences and both inter-related, probably moreso now than ever before. And don’t get me wrong this is not solely attributed to climate change, not at all. However, over the last 12 to 18 months I’ve done a lot of research (as has my husband) on this ever-changing world we live in and perhaps how we can be better. There is no perfect way to start, it’s just important that you do.
We are by no means perfect. No one is. We still travel. We buy products in plastic. We own a car. But we have made so many changes that will help our world.
- Look after what you have. Don’t be wasteful. Repair clothes. Repair toys. Repair home furnishings. Look after your home. Stop throwing things away when they can be fixed.
- Don’t buy a bottle of water. If you are thirsty and you forgot your reusable one, tough shit. Wait. Or ask a café or shop for a glass of water as you pass by. It’s not rude if you ask in the right manner.
- Can you walk? Transport currently has the biggest impact on the environment, the biggest emissions. So yes walk, especially if it’s a short distance because by the time you get in the car, drive, park and get out you may have been able to walk there anyway. Stop moaning. We have legs for a reason. Re-arrange meetings and use technology for the purpose we have it. Video call. Phone call. Don’t feel like you have to be there in person. Think about how much time you’ve wasted in traffic not even moving. Right, only you can change that.
- Challenge other people’s decisions and behaviour. Be brave and ask them why they are or aren’t doing any of the above.
There is so much more we can do, this is just a start. And this won’t stop Australia burning. Think about every decision you make because collectively that’s the best chance we have at making a difference.
Even if it’s one thing. Tell me a good reason why you shouldn’t give it a go. What’s the worst that might happen? Your legs get tired or you feel really thirsty. Someone talks back to you. Wow. Seriously.
And on that note (while I’m feeling overly passionate), don’t be a dick. Be nice to people. Smile. That also won’t help our environment, but it might just inspire someone else to do something good. Or at least feel good.
So please, don’t turn away. It’s not someone else’s problem. You have a personal responsibility because you live here, on earth.
How you can help
And finally, here’s how you can help those in Australia. At this stage monetary donations are the best way to help. The time will come for clothing, food and shelter but at this very point in time it cannot actually reach those who need it due to geographical restrictions and evacuations.
Mycause.com.au – Has a multitude of links to support those who have suffered in the Victoria bushfires, wildlife, humans and the volunteer fire service and emergency services.
Wires.org.au – This is the NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.
Koalasincare.org.au – Not for profit organisation run by volunteers who receive no government funding, they’ll be inundated with rescue koalas at the moment.
MyGC.com.au – has a full list of charities including The Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army.