“How do we sleep while our beds are burning?”
~ Midnight Oil
I’m back in civilization, after some much-needed time away. I’m not back in Australia yet, but I do have reliable internet again. I’d love to say that I’m better rested, refreshed and feeling brand new. But, to paraphrase Midnight Oil, how could I sleep when my bed was burning?
My country is on fire. Devoured by flames. In ashes. Over 12 million acres have been lost to fires already, and the fire season has months left to run.
The image below shows the fires burning over the past three days in Australia.
It’s breathtaking, and not in a good way.
There are already so many trees, so many animals, so many homes for people and critters destroyed. These habitats and ecosystems may take years to recover, and some of them are actually gone for good. Humans have been lost. Pets. Beloved animals. Stock animals. And oh, so much precious wildlife. Over 500 million animals so far.
The devastation has never been far from my thoughts while I have been on vacation. How do you unplug from something like this? It’s a slow ache in my chest that won’t go away and that has kept me wide-eyed and sleepless at night.
Most Australians will tell you they feel the same. Many people around the world feel it too.
Dread, hopelessness, anger, despair, pain, endless background worry about the Earth, and about the future.
It can’t be business as usual anymore. Climate change is here. It’s vicious. It goes so far beyond the gentle rise in temperatures most of us expected or hoped for. It is far more immediate than any of us had wished.
We’re In This For The Long Haul
One of the most important things you can do right now is recognise that this climate crisis won’t be over any time soon. The fires will be burning in Australia for months to come. And there are weather events all over the world that will keep flooding our news feed.
Lovelies, I know that most of you are like me – sensitive souls living in uncertain and dangerous times. I could bang on all day about how bad things are, but you already feel it, you already know it, and none of that is empowering you, or helping you to cope better. And I am all about raising vibration and coping skills. So, let’s talk about that. Okay?
Your number one priority is to tune in, and then ask yourself how you are coping. Binge-watching these tragedies unfold may not be helping you. Do you need some time out from your news feed? Can you go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie and give yourself a positive mental-health break?
Stay informed, but also manage yourself, and know when you or your loved ones need a screen or news break. No-one can live in crisis 24/7. That will burn you out. Fast.
Action is an antidote to despair
One of my favourite quotes of all time is this one:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
Action helps us move past crippling or obsessive thoughts, and it empowers us to move from despair towards hope.
If there is anything good to come out of this current situation, it is the groundswell of ordinary people stepping in to help where governments have failed, where policy has failed. It is the groundswell of ordinary people all around the world, people just like you and me, saying ‘What can we do? What must we change? How can we help? How can we stop this happening again?’
What We Can Do
Here are some ways that you can take action:
Find an Agency where you can donate money, time or resources. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
SUPPORTING AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – is raising money to nurse and rehabilitate injured koalas and to install drinking stations in the burned areas of bushland to help koalas and local wildlife survive. Donate here.
WIRES – NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc. is Australia’s largest Wildlife Rescue organisation. You can help by donating money DONATE HERE, or by becoming a trained volunteer carer MORE INFO HERE.
General advice for helping wildlife during bushfires
- Take domestic animals with you if you evacuate or keep cats indoors and dogs under control wherever possible so that wildlife can flee safely through your yard if needed.
- Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fires, use shallow bowls with a few sticks or stones on one side to allow smaller animals to escape if they fall in.
- Keep a cardboard box and towel in the boot of your car in case you find an injured animal that you can safely contain without putting yourself in any danger.
- If you rescue an animal that has been burnt, do not attempt to feed it, please wrap it loosely, ideally in 100% cotton fabric, place it in a ventilated box with a lid and keep it in a dark, quiet place whilst waiting for a rescuer or for transport to the nearest vet.
- If you can safely take injured animals to your nearest vet please do so, as injured animals will require urgent vet assessment. If you can please also call WIRES to let us know which vet you’ve taken the animal to so we can follow up with vet to bring the animals into care when they are ready.
- Do not approach injured snakes, flying-foxes, large macropods, raptors or monitors as these must be rescued by trained specialists, for these species please call WIRES first for rescue assistance on 1300 094 737.
- If you own a swimming pool and live near where fires are burning there are some simple things you can do to assist wildlife who may be seeking water. Always drape something over the edge of your pool so that animals have a surface to grab hold of and climb out. A length of heavy duty rope or even a bodyboard, secured at one end to something heavy outside the pool, is ideal as it does not absorb water and provides a platform for an exhausted animal to rest on. Pool steps are also frequently too high to allow animals an easy exit and placing bricks or large stones to the side of each step can make it easier for animals to gain a foothold and climb out. Always check your pool regularly (twice daily) including in the skimmer box. If you do find any animal trapped in a pool, call WIRES immediately on 1300 094 737 for advice.
HELPING PEOPLE AFFECTED BY BUSHFIRES
Salvation Army – The Salvos as they are affectionately known in Australia are on the ground at the fire zones, providing meals for the firefighters and evacuees. You can donate here.
The Australian Red Cross – The Red Cross has a general disaster fund to help victims of fire, flood, cyclone and other emergencies. They provide cash payments to people affected to help them get immediate aid and to get on their feet again. Donate here.
Fallen Fire Fighters Families – the NSW Rural Fire Service has set up funds to helps the families of the fire fighters who have lost their lives protecting others from harm. More information and donate here.
SUPPORTING FIRE FIGHTERS
Donations can be made directly to the Ausntralian state-funded rural fire services.
* Victoria: CFA Donate
* NSW: NSW RFS donate
* South Australia: CFS donate
* Queensland: RFBAQ donate
Celeste Barber’s Facebook Donation Campaign for Firefighters is here. Go read it, and you can donate here too.
There are so many other things you can do. Cut down your consumption. Re-use and recycle. Garden and grow things. Join an environmental group. Write letters to your local and federal government members. Meditate, take time for connection with family, friends and nature. use your dollar and your vote to make a difference.
I have faith in humanity’s problem-solving ability, and the essential goodness of the human spirit. So, now, we all need to act. It starts with us. Never doubt that we are enough to turn things around.
Much love, Nicole xx