We have had a fun-filled three weeks in Australia catching up with family and friends in three states; Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales. However, underlying is a deep sadness as every state we visited is experiencing drought and/or bushfires.
We talked to family and friends, people who are volunteers with the Rural Fire Service in the Blue Mountains, farmers in central west NSW, and they say they have never seen their home, their land, their country like it is now.
On New Years Day, where we were staying had one of the highest AQI’s in the world because of the smoke from the fires in NSW and Victoria and the dust from the drought. Even living in China for eight years I have never experienced such pollution.
To see my home, my family and friends, the animals, the environment suffering like this is heartbreaking. I am not afraid to say I was bought to tears more than once.
For now I wish for everyone to stay safe. For gentle soaking rains to come as soon as possible. And finally for the Australian government (and governments around the world) to stop playing the politics game, realize their people are hurting and take action.
However, I also feel strongly that we can’t wait for someone else to fix these problems. We have to take action ourselves.
My resolution (and one I would commit to regardless of whether it was a new year or not) is to learn more about the environment, what is happening to our world and what I can do. To educate myself and to do something, no matter how small. Because we can all make a difference and it is everyone’s responsibility to do something.
To read more about the bushfires and drought in Australia:
- Australia fires: A visual guide to the bushfires and extreme heat https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-50951043
- No End In Sight For Crippling Drought https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/australia/no-end-in-sight-for-crippling-drought.aspx
- How bad is this drought and is it caused by climate change? https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/how-bad-is-this-drought-and-is-it-caused-by-climate-change-20191024-p533xc.html
And finally a more personal experience. Below is a video made by the children of family friends on their farm in central western NSW: