How can I help the country I love as it burns before me?
I have never been in a fire.
I have lived on a farm and been fire ready.
I have seen ash float down, falling from the sky from bushfires 50 km away as a young girl.
I have survived a flash flood, being swept away in rapids so wild, the sound is deafening as the water has pelted at my body.
I have grown up knowing about fires and floods.
But I’ve never seen anything like the current bushfires in Australia. None of us have.
I’ve grown up Australian, reciting a favourite poem, I always believed it depicted our country so well. My Country by Dorothea Mackellar, ‘I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plans, of rugged mountain ranges, of droughts and flooding rains.”1
But where oh where are the flooding rains now?
As I watch the country I love burn, my breath is taken away, like when I was in the floodwaters. I feel suffocated, unable to breathe as smoke fills the air from far greater distances than 50km.
Last year, I faced my biggest fear. I faced the water. It took me 20 years to do it. And it took me every single ounce of effort in my soul to get there. And I did it.
And now, so many others, are facing their biggest fears, the bushfires. And in this knowledge of what is to come for them, I am breaking with them. It is going to take every ounce of effort from their soul to rebuild their life.
To see our land char before our eyes is devastating.
It has been all-encompassing, overwhelming, and scary for so many.
If there is anything that I can say or do while we wait to see what happens next, and as I pray for rain, I know in my heart of hearts, that through adversity comes greatness.
I have seen it with my own eyes. With others, but also within myself. Kindness, connectivity, generosity, and hope. And it is our nations undying love for our fellow Australians that will see us rise over these flames and into a new chapter of our country. As we walk into this new decade, now is the time for change. To make a difference to our own lives, to our communities’ lives and to the lives of our fellow mankind. To help save our environment, to help save our planet. Now and for our future.
We can all start by supporting in several ways.
We can write to our local Member of Parliament, for both Federal and State government’s, demanding action on climate change. We can do this in many ways, either via email, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
To find your local member, click here
We can march together and strong. Climate Change Protests are happening across Australia. This should not be the new norm. Click here to find a march near you.
We can donate, every dollar spent will make a difference.
The Red Cross needs our help. It supports a variety of efforts such as supporting people at evacuation centres and providing emergency assistance like cash grants to people who have lost their homes. If you feel this is something you feel connected to, donate here.
The Salvation Army Team members are providing meals to first-line responders and evacuees, as well as any other support needed, Major Topher Holland, the organisation’s General Manager of Strategic Emergency and Disaster Management, said in a statement. If you feel this is something you feel connected to, donate here.
The St Vincent De Paul Society Bushfire Appeal Vinnies’ bushfire appeal helps provide food, clothing and money that bushfire victims may need to pay their bills. Something important once the cleanup and recovery begin. Donate here.
NSW Rural Fire Service You can either donate straight to the NSW RFS or to your local Rural Fire Brigade to support volunteer firefighters. Firies have been working round the clock, they need our support. Donate here for NSW.
Country Fire Authority Victoria Like the NSW RFS, you can donate either to a specific brigade or provide a general donation. Firies have been working round the clock, they need our support. Donate here for VIC.
The Victorian Bushfire Appeal The Victorian Government teamed up with The Salvation Army and Bendigo Bank for the appeal, with all funds going to communities in need. If this is something you feel connected to, donate here.
NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) Rescues and cares for animals and is seeking donations for volunteer carers and rescuers that are “inundated” with them amid the bushfires. Our indigenous animals are estimated to have perished in the hundreds of thousands. Donate here.
Australian Wildlife Society -Dedicated to resorting what was lost in the fires. Help save our wildlife. Donate here.
These are just a few of the donation options, there are go fund me pages, Instagram pages, Facebook pages and the list goes on. No matter where you choose to assist, it is the assisting that will help make the difference.
One thing I know for sure is that Australian communities need our help now and also when the fires eventually go out. And they will eventually go out. And that will be the time, when the media dies down and when they are trying to rebuild their lives, this is the time not to forget these small tourist towns. So perhaps, while it’s still January and your thinking about holiday plans, consider these affected areas. Maybe taking a weekend away, some family time, girls or guys weekend away or your family vacation. Take a look at Aussie towns, by visiting them after the fires, as these towns rebuild, injecting some income into these areas will support and encourage these townships. They may be recovering, but their spirits I’m sure will be lifted by your support.
As Dorothea Mackellar said, ‘Her Beauty and her Terror, the wide brown land for me.’2
And indeed, it has been terrifying and is continuing to be so.
All your efforts to help, assist and donate will help in so many ways. Thank you for helping in any way you can and have.
Thinking of everyone affected by these fires and praying for rain.
1 My Country by Dorothea Mackellar
2 My Country by Dorothea Mackellar