I can usually see the Surfers Paradise skyline from my driveway. For the last few weeks, it’s been a hazy blur.
I went to Sydney last week and continually brushed grey, white and black fragments of ash from my clothing. I even had to make an emergency pit stop to the Apple store to flush out my charger port: it was clogged with ash.
This is our reality now. We’re living in an apocalypse.
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So what can we do about it?
We could take a leaf out of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s book and do precisely nothing, whilst also failing to see the link between climate change and our country being on fire.
“It is irresponsible not to connect the dots,” the Climate Council’s Dr Martin Rice tells SBS News.
“It is absolutely clear… that climate change is exacerbating dangerous bushfire conditions. Australia must act on climate change it must join the global collective effort – we’re falling woefully behind and Australians are paying the price.”
Or we could do the opposite, and throw our support behind the massive protests happening right now.
One strike in Brisbane is likely to disrupt evening traffic.
Organised by the group ‘Uni Students for Climate Change’, another strike planned in the Sydney CBD today is demanding that the federal government take serious action on climate change and allocate extra funding to the fire services.
This seems like a positive step – but still, it feels like it’s not enough.
Right now, hundreds of fires are burning across Australia.
In Sydney today, just breathing and existing is the equivalent of smoking 20-40 cigarettes a day.
Pregnant women and young children with asthma are particularly at risk, and could suffer long term consequences if the toxic air smothering Sydney continues until the end of summer, warns Sotiris Vardoulakis, a professor of global environmental health at ANU.
Practically, all we can do right now is support those who are on the front line.
The ABC offers a brilliant list of organisations that need our help right now, from animal charities that help koalas and other wildlife that has been hurt and displaced, through to fire brigade donations and even charities to help those who are now homeless get back on their feet.
Other than that, ScoMo: all eyes are on you. What happens next?