“You’re an idiot mate”

The view from my window this morning, or what we can’t see for the smoke.

I thought I might share some of our current experience with the bushfires in Australia. First up, despite the massive smoke pall we are relatively safe, here in Canberra, the nation’s capital. The nearest fire is some 50 kms away, but we are inland from the major fires burning along the southern coast of New South Wales and north of the fires burning in Victoria. The smoke is being pushed into this area by the prevailing winds.

It is horrific to hear of more deaths daily. We are unbelievably grateful to all those volunteers and professional fire-ies (yep, that’s what we call them), not just from Australia, but also from New Zealand, Canada and the USA who have given everything and stepped up. While others, not mentioning names Scott Morrison , Prime Minister, take overseas holidays.

As parliament is currently in recess, most of our politicians, except those dragged back for the security council meeting yesterday, haven’t experienced the smoke that has blanketed this city for the past month. We are on almost a daily basis superseding the hazardous air quality ratings normally associated with cities such as Dehli and Beijing (“Call that a hazardous reading …”).

Earlier this week as we drove back from visiting family interstate. Our final day was just over 400kms from the NSW/Victorian border and we drove through smoke all day.

Seen near Gundagai onThursday, this week driving from Corowa to Canberra.

Yesterday our city broke it’s all time heat record reaching 44° C or 111.2°F.

I, like many people in this city, am on edge because we experienced catastrophic fires in 2003 that left 4 people dead and destroyed 500 houses including a number in this suburb. But, like I say, we are still under no immediate threat.

Yesterday I started sewing pouches and pouch liners for injured and orphaned kangaroos and other native animals. There is not much else we can do as going outside requires particulate face masks and is strongly discouraged.

There has been so much support from people across the country and worldwide, but bugger all from our Federal Government. They were finally shamed into action yesterday, funding 4 fire bombing aircraft, amongst other things. That same request made several months ago by state emergency services, in advance of the fire season, was dismissed out of hand. To rub salt into the wound and demonstrate the level of political manipulation by this Federal Government, having finally been forced into action, they immediately released a Liberal Party advertisement boasting of what they were doing for the country. I am sickened.

If you would like to read a more eloquent assessment of the situation I can do no better than to recommend the opinion piece by Australian writer Richard Flanagan for the New York Times, Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide https://nyti.ms/2QiiBZu

The title of this blog comes from a victim of the fires at Cobargo, NSW, one of the comments made to the Prime Minister, when he attempted to “glad hand” local residents (at least this one was printable).

15 Comments

    1. It truly is. Supplies of masks disappear very quickly, however our local government has secured a supply of masks it is distributing for those who are vulnerable. My friend also told me that the nursing home where she volunteers has taken in many residents transferred from nursing homes on the coast.

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    1. Thanks Claudia, most of us outside the immediate fire areas feel much the same. Not surprisingly many of my textile friends are sewing and knitting wraps , pouches and nests for injured wildlife. Apart from providing needed items it serves to distract from the universally ugly news stories. By the same token we do need not to avert our eyes from the causes and impacts of this experience.

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  1. I am so full of anger Leonie. A Prime Minister who has no leadership qualities at all. The loss of so much, people, landscape and especially the wildlife is incomprehensible, and we are in the hands of incompetant climate change deniers. Thanks for putting it out there. Breathe carefully!

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    1. Couldn’t agree more. I found a book in the op shop over Christmas called A Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen, where the author is trying to pull apart why we are so deliberately ignoring all the obvious destruction of our environment, as well as our own human situation. It is so relevant to what is happening now, that I was shocked to realise it was written in 2000. Sometimes the right book finds you at the right time.

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    1. Thanks Kerf, we really appreciate your thoughts and good wishes. We are in a lull at present but conditions are forecast to deteriorate at the end of the week. We are playing a very long game here.

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