Friends & Family –
As I’ve received an increasing flow of urgent messages from folks wanting to know how I’m doing in the apocalyptic bushfires that we’re having over here, I reckoned I should just let you all know how it’s going.
Most importantly: I’m well and perfectly safe. I haven’t been anywhere near any bushfires, nor do I plan to be. But as we don’t know when the fires will end, it’s difficult to speak definitively about the future.
Australia is a small country by population; at this point, just about everyone knows someone whose home was saved by the amazing work of the Rural Fire Service (RFS), somewhere in Australia. They’re awesome, they’re volunteers, and if you feel so inclined, you could donate some money to their fine work.
Australia is also small enough that everyone knows someone who knows someone whose home was destroyed in the bushfires – either here in New South Wales, in Victoria, or in South Australia.
The land is devastated. And I am not sure that our koala population will ever recover.
But in relative terms, I’ve had it easy. The worst I’ve had to deal with are the occasional days of hazardous air quality, when smoke from the bushfires blankets the Sydney area. When that happens – every week or so – I can’t go for a run or a swim, but at least I don’t have a respiratory illness, because those folks are doing it very tough.
The one small silver lining in all of this disaster is that it’s galvanized the nation. Not the prime minister (you’ve probably read about him getting a very hard time from the locals in the fire zone), but the nation as a whole has come to a very different way of thinking about what our future is going to have to be, if we want to survive and thrive.
I wrote up and shared some of my own thoughts about this.
What happens next? No one knows. Saturday the 4th of January was the hottest day in New South Wales history. One of my friends recorded a temperature of 123ºF at his home to the west of me. This is not just unprecedented, it’s led us to realise that this is what the future holds for Australia. We’re only one more heat wave away from another apocalyptic day of firestorms.