If you think about our first response to emergencies and disasters, we generally look out for our fellow community members. We offer them shelter, feed and care for them, it’s in our DNA, we just do it automatically without giving it much thought. Recently, a wider cross section of our community, responded to the impacts of the bushfires, extreme heat and smoke on our wildlife. Leaving water out, for our birds and wildlife and financially supporting the groups who physically care for them. But once the urgency has passed and life goes back to some form of normality, we generally continue with our routines and business as usual. Not making time to reflect and ask questions, leaves us vulnerable to experience the same tragedies over and over again.
Questions, such as: What can we do to lessen the impact of this extreme weather? How can we work collaboratively with our community organisations, who care for vulnerable members of our community: homeless, elderly, young families and local wildlife; who don’t have evacuation centres to seek refuge? What are we doing as a community to protect our native state forests and national parks, that create rain and protect us from droughts? Are we involved and supporting diverse native tree planting events in our yards and streets? Are we members of our local environment network (CEN), proactively seeking the informed knowledge and attending local events to reconnect with our nature on the Central Coast and beyond?
Are we involved in protecting our precious biodiverse wetlands, home to so much wildlife and birds, ensuring our local environments resilience to the extreme weather? Why aren’t we working with our First Australians who have for more than 60,000 years, through cultural burning managed the land we now call home and community? I wonder what it must feel like to have this wealth of intergenerational knowledge as first peoples of Australia, yet not be acknowledged and allowed to lead in working the land and watch the land and wildlife burn unnecessarily. And sadly, watching native forests be treated as commodities even though they have been around for as long as your ancestors and are part of your heritage and your responsibility to protect. I imagine it would be like losing a loved one, over and over again.
CEN Chair Hale Adasal