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Looking Back on a Summer of Fire

R.S. Drain

An orchestra of sirens ring out on the horizon. Dread buries into the streets. Everyone can see the catastrophe on their TV screens, or out of their own windows. Ravenous flames licking the sky, filling the once-blue ceiling with smoke and staining it with an unearthly glow of orange and red. Men, women and children choke on the polluted air as they struggle to get on with their everyday lives, ash falling on their shoulders like dead snow.

Image by Jacki Pocock/Facebook

Families sit in hotel rooms or community centres, gripping each other tightly, as they wait to hear what has happened to their houses. For some of them they will hear the terrible news that lifetimes of memories and possessions are burnt to ash; a ravaged skeleton is all that is left of their streets and homes.

Desperation crashes down around them like a tidal wave and they raise their arms to beg for help, but their pleas and questions are silenced by those in charge. The leaders, who had the power to stop this devastation, now refuse to face responsibility for the homes and lives lost.

It almost sounds like a dystopian novel. A country on fire; just another rotting piece in a world falling apart. A government passing blame.

Except this is what is happening. All across Australia right now, bushfires are raging, a consequence of inaction and ignorance committed by the people in charge.

Glenn Innes, a town at the centre of the disaster, has lost more than just their homes. Their mayor, Carol Sparks, told journalists, ‘’I think we are all a bit shell-shocked and coming to terms with the death of our friends and coming to terms with losing all of our belongings and our structures and our homes and our lives.’’

This death and destruction is not normal.

This level of destruction and loss cannot be swept under the rug.

The Climate Council has revealed that these fire conditions have been aggravated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record breaking heat. All of these are a consequence of the Climate Change.

Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world, yet our government still claims it is ‘happy’ with its response to climate change.

If our government is not doing enough then it is up to the people of Australia.

It is up to you.

The reason so many people deny the existence of Climate Change is because it’s not as dramatic or visible as one might imagine the ‘end of the world’ to be. Perhaps if Climate Change was a monstrous meteorite shooting towards Earth in a ball of hells fire, it’s incoming body clearly visible in our sky, then we’d pay more attention. Do you think that then that country leaders would be happy to switch to renewable materials and energy, in order for the rest to be filtered towards stopping the catastrophe? Do you think then that businesses and governments leaders would be able to deny the incoming disaster?

It’s time we stopped ignoring the meteorite about to hit us. It’s time we started respecting and acting upon the scientific evidence in which we claim to have built our civilised and advanced civilisation.

Image by Paul Brennan

Science fiction movies always paint the Armageddon as a result of an attack from outer space, or as a result of science gone wrong. It is neither.

It is ignorance that kills us. It is denial that kills us.

It is a failure to listen to those with knowledge and evidence. It is the glorification of toxic corporations.

But most importantly: it is the silence of the people that kills us in the end.

If you want action and change then make sure you get your voice heard. Do more research on the corporations you buy from and make sure you’re not giving money to toxic corporations. Support political parties or politicians that are ready to make the changes we need. Go out and protest. Sign petitions. Educate yourself on how you can make a better impact yourself.

Remember. This death and destruction is not normal.

It’s time to make a change.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Woke magazine.


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