2020 has had a rather painful beginning with fires raging seemingly everywhere in our beautiful country.
Far too many lives lost … at last count 23 precious lives. Thousands of homes and livelihoods burned to the ground. Communities just decimated.
Millions and millions (the numbers keep climbing but number of over 1 billion have been mentioned) of our beautiful, unique native wildlife extinguished. Some species possibly forever. Beautiful forests gone … the devastation is so widespread.
It is overwhelming for those of us who are safely ensconced in our homes as we look on in horror … we simply cannot imagine the anguish of those who have lost loved ones, their homes, their livestock, their communities, their livelihoods, and so so so much more.
Our wonderful firefighters … volunteers and paid … the military … the teams of brilliant volunteers at the coal face (literally and figuratively) are amazing. Those in the community who have come to the immediate aid of their fellows to help … those families who have watched their loved ones day in and day out for months now put themselves in the firing line to help … those who have come from near and far to do their bit … you are our nation’s heroes … we can only hope at this time that our gratitude is enough to keep your spirits high … it is immense …
And those wonderful, wonderful, wonderful wildlife rescuers … those pictures of our beautiful native fauna in dire need … heartbreaking …
I cannot in my wildest imaginings know how those people at the front line keep going … but they do. You are are our superheroes. And I expect you, too, will need much help in the coming days, weeks and months as you recover from your efforts.
The blame game and the (sometimes vicious) rhetoric that has been thrown around is difficult to listen to … but I agree there are words to be said and I expect some very harsh words. There are truths that must be faced in the coming weeks, months and years as individuals get back on their feet and communities rebuild … but perhaps not right now. Not while there are immediate things that need to be done to help those who are suffering at this time.
And for the rest of us … it’s difficult to know what to do … there is SO much need and it is far too easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the need … and also the conflicting needs. Donations to charities of your choice of of course … to support those on the ground in their immediate need … there is always a need for donations in these circumstances.
In my very humble opinion for those who are struggling .. choose your own helping path if you are able and stay on it unless you are moved from it by someone who has authority in the circumstances … try not to spend yourself to broadly and try not to feel forced onto a path … and if there is nothing physical you are able to do … ask whoever your God is for help, for enough rain in the right places, for recovery, for whatever our community needs to get back on its feet. It can’t hurt to ask. Thoughts and prayers and compassion … there will be more opportunities sooner or later to help in other ways and EVERY bit counts. EVERY SINGLE BIT.
The crafting community, as is often the case, again has stood up with the Animal Rescue Craft Guild galvanising individuals and teams around the world to make much needed wraps, pouches, nests and so much more for rescued wildlife … more than 200,000 in their facebook group and counting. Sewing machines, knitting needles and crochet hooks are flying to the rescue. It is heartening … you are all amazing. And you are making a difference. However as of 11 January the response has been so huge that ARCG are now asking that no more new items be started until they have time to take stock of where they are at.
Another way you can help (people come up with the cleverest of ideas) … the empty esky campaign … started by two young Melbourne women hoping to galvanise the wider community to support local businesses affected by the fires … brilliant …. join them (and me now) so that when it is safe to do so … you can support those communities to rebuild … https://www.facebook.com/emptyesky/
I am sure there are and will be many more opportunities to help directly and indirectly. Choose a helping mechanism that speaks to you.
So … a very sad and gloomy picture for the start of the year … but the love and generosity of people is so huge … we watch and hope and do whatever we can … and when the ash settles, I fervently hope that the recovery is swift and that it will be enough.