Constructive hope in a time of crisis

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Constructive hope in a time of crisis

Written by Amanda Nuttall | 3rd February 2020

We are experiencing a devastating fire season across Australia. Lives have been lost, people are still missing, native animals and plants have been wiped out, and homes, communities and livelihoods have been destroyed. The Think Impact team give our sincere thanks to the tireless efforts of our emergency services workers and volunteers, without whom this tragedy would have been even worse.

It continues to be a devastating time for many communities. Whilst none of us at Think Impact have been directly affected, we all know someone who has. Our hearts go out to all of those in our community who have been impacted by the fires.

But the complex ripples of impact created by these bushfires mean we are also not disconnected. We have been overwhelmed with feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety and frustration. We recognise many of the affected areas as places where we have been welcomed by local communities and spent happy times. We fear for the safety of our loved ones in the future. We despair over the ongoing ecological, biodiversity and public health impacts of these fires.

But we can also see reasons for hope.

Watching generous and brave people coming together to support one another has been inspiring. This tragedy has brought our communities together to help one another, support the vulnerable and care for our country. We have also given most generously of our time, our spare rooms, our sewing expertise, our dollars.

And with these acts of giving our hope grows as many more in our community add their voices to demands for action. David Attenborough recently called Australia's bushfires 'the moment of crisis' to address climate change. The changing climate is no longer an abstract risk lurking in our distant future — it is upon us and it is hurting us now. And with that comes a new urgency to respond to climate change and the destructive impacts that await us if we once again fail to act.

Australia was recently ranked the worst performing country on climate change policy in the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index. This needs to change. We hope that the spirit of collective action that has emerged through the bushfire emergency can also influence a transformation in how we act on climate change in this country.