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Deeds not words

12 January, 2020

Aussie Bushfires, 2019/2020

There are many people directly involved or affected with this current Australian fire catastrophe. Some are very busy fighting the fires, organizing the firefighters, coordinating the helicopters and planes, saving lives, tending to the sick and burnt, feeding the hungry and rallying the troops. But there are now around 25 million people living in Australia, plenty of whom are not directly involved or affected by the fires – some with the smarts in science, the weather, the climate, economic nous, organisational skills, business entrepreneurs and so on.

If my house had burned down in an event which had never, ever been seen before, would I want to wait a respectful period of time before a think tank was established to sort this mess out? A gathering of brilliant minds to come up with many ideas to combat this catastrophe?

No way.

I would want…no expect…that there would be an emergency declared (this IS an emergency – if you are worried about calling it a #climateemergency then just call it any old emergency but this is what an emergency looks like)!

Respectfully, there is not a second to be wasted. The first fires started on 4th September, 2019 in Queensland with 50 fires in various regions throughout my state. The iconic Binna Burra Lodge was decimated. One of Australia’s longest-established nature-based resorts, Binna Burra Mountain Lodge was founded in 1933 by Arthur Groom and Romeo Lahey. These two pioneering conservationists shared a vision to create a place where people could stay and experience the beauty of the Lamington National Park rainforest. (1)

That is not a typo. Binna Burra was destroyed by a bushfire and it is in a rainforest.

We damn well need to get our sh*t together and get a plan. As many people have said, this is like a war. And it should be treated as such.

We need army generals with good planning skills to organize this bunch of nerdy, smart people who have NO VESTED INTERESTS. And there must be no politicians allowed. They unfortunately proven themselves over 10 years to be incapable of rising above the politics and think of Australia’s long term future. We don’t need politicians. Shane Fitzsimmons has shown himself to be a real leader, but we need him to stay where he is.

But I bet there are many many ‘Shane Fitzsimmons’ out there. Clever, calm leaders who can work this mess out. And there can’t be any financial constraints on this battle- there wouldn’t be if it was war- the generals would say: ‘We need this’ and the politicians would say: ‘Here you go’.

We need health professionals to advise about how to prevent a catastrophic overloading on our already stretched health services. How to get around the calamitous air quality? What will our future be like if we are forced to stop exercising outside because the putrid air is dangerous to inhale? How will our children enjoy their childhood if they are locked inside – never allowed to breathe the air outside, run and skip and play with gay abandon.

What do you think the people who have been affected so horrifically by these fires would think about this idea? I believe they would be relieved, heartened, grateful, excited that something was finally happening and did I say relieved? Very relieved….

Did you know there is actually a Fire Centre in the Uni of Tasmania? The Director is David Bowman (a fire scientist).

Professor David Bowman

He says that climate change and weather driven processes have to be confronted. We have to stop allowing politicians attempting to distract us from where the real action is- the fact is the bush is drying out and the weather is hotter and there’s danger ahead and we have to get on top of it. And it is driven by humans.  Trying to frame these recent fires as criminality is just plain wrong- pathological lighting of fires is very small percentage of fires. Lightning strikes and lightning from within the fires themselves cause the majority of fires.

Why do I keep writing out of my scope? Why do I keep bleating on about this issue? ** Because it affects us all and is life-changing!

Will this little boy ever be the same? The day he drove the boat with his family in it away from the cataclysmic fires at Mallacoota will be etched on his brain forever. He’s about three years older than my grandson. What a nightmare for him.

PHOTO: Allison Marion took this photo of her son Finn as they joined the exodus from Mallacoota

If this isn’t an emergency…… well I don’t know what is. The army evacuating Mallacoota residents, January 2020

What should we want as citizens of Australia?

Real action by our Government. Set up a think tank and fund it with our surplus. We are losing BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of dollars ($$$) in tourist dollars, let alone the dreadful damage to houses, infrastructure and our citizens’ lives by not addressing the elephant in the room #climatechange

We want deeds not words.

And when do we want it? NOW!

(Embrace the future. Let go of the past. It’s ok to change tack. There needs to be immediate establishment of renewable energy industries in coal towns and regions. Give every coal worker a job in renewables. No jobs will be lost. Leave the coal in the ground. And it will be healthier work for the current coal workers. And establish another think tank to sort out the water crisis. And this is another definite politician-free zone. There is something rotten in the water management area of Australia.)


** And because I want a record for my grandchildren that I cared about their future and I spoke up.

  1. Joy Watson permalink

    Well said Sue

  2. Helen Fisher permalink

    Sue many brilliant points however we have several friends still “on the land”. Mostly in north western NSW…. effected by the current situation. They all have had years of experience with past fires and are really blaming the fact that they are not allowed to “burn off” and do this around their boundaries and fencing. As well as the undergrowth that is “fuel
    For these fires” us also not allowed to
    Be removed! Indigenous know How to manage this land as to Old time farmers!!! NOT GREENIES!!

    These farming friends say…. there have been dry times before and this catastrophe has not occurred. Because yes it has been managed – by them!!! And listening to the indigenous!!!
    And I know of THREE fires in Qld deliberately lit!!!!
    Stanthorpe…… backpackers lit that ( I was recently in a wine tour and received the information first hand…. and TWO at Peregian by undisciplined children who have received no consequences for their actions in this “do gooders” world in which we live – that Isn’t working at all!!!
    I have heard in conversation of many others throughout our country , lit the same way…. but those 3 I know first hand!!! Unlike the media I wouldn’t shoot off about it as I haven’t seen for my own eyes.

    • Thanks for your comments Helen. The evidence about these fires will be revealed in months to come- and yes there are some people deliberately lighting fires but as the Professor in Fire management said deliberately lit fires are small percentage of all the fires experienced in Australia. But investigations will tell us if it’s still as low as what he quotes. Interestingly Shane Fitzsimmons Fire Commissioner in charge of NSW fires repeatedly states that they are not restricted with back burning or hazard reduction by Greenie imposed rules but rather decreasing windows of opportunity to do it because of prolonged unstable dry hot conditions or it’s too wet or people (for example in Sydney) complaining about the smoke from back burning. I have acknowledged the importance of drawing on the skills of our indigenous peoples but I think this may be the new norm and our government acknowledging the effect of emissions on our climate is critical and quickly making moves to come up with solutions for all the situations that are arising is paramount. I’m saying these things – not for me or Bob or even for my kids- they’ve had some adult life experiencing the joys of bush walking and seeing wildlife in real life. I fear my grandkids and your grandkids are only going to be experiencing these things in zoos or watching our videos. That makes me sad and angry at the same time. ❤️

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