opinion

"I can't feed my animals with thoughts and prayers." A farmer's plea as Australia burns.

This drought is brutal. In the weeks before the fire hit us we had to shoot 3 downer cows and an old horse. What you don’t see behind that bland statement is the heartache and tears. The hours of lugging food and water, expensive vet supplies, feed, care and worry. Millie, Isis, JB and Murphy, rest in peace.

There’s a grief that has no name at times like this. A cloud settles on your soul. A weariness as the dust infiltrates every orifice, an all-pervading worry at the mounting costs and the ever-dwindling river. How will we survive when it stops? How will we pay for feed? Who will we sell? Our animals are our friends. I like them a lot more than humans. I am so deeply depressed right now.

And then the fire came. We were lucky. We prepared for a crown fire because the eucalypts are all dead, dying or shut down. There is no food for the koalas. And in our nearest town, Port Macquarie, the beautiful paperbark swampland has been burning for months. Because it’s so dry. We only lost all our beautiful bush and some dry paddock. The national park on our boundaries is still burning.

WATCH: NSW Rural Fire Service tips for making a bushfire survival plan. Post continues below.

Video by NSW RFS

We are exhausted. We haven’t breathed clear air for months. The wind is relentless. The sky’s apocalyptic. The Prime Minister goes to the cricket and says that it will lift the spirits of the firies and farmers.

I beg to differ. We feel abandoned, ignored, violated. We are on the frontline of a climate emergency and we hear platitudes, thoughts and prayers.

I can’t feed my animals with thoughts and prayers, I can’t fight a fire with them.

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Australia is about to lose its iconic koala, we have destroyed its habitat with our endless expansion of ugly newbuilds and these fires have destroyed so much flora and fauna.

The world is watching in horror and instead of stepping up and for once leading the way, Australia lags behind, smirks and trots out lies about greenies. When were the Greens in power? When did they decimate funding for national parks, for the Rural Fire Service, for Crown Lands? Oh, that’s right, they weren’t, they didn’t.

We have an opportunity in Australia to lead the way with a Renewable Revolution but we languish on our lazy arses waiting for someone else to do more, claiming we are meeting our commitments to help the climate.

LISTEN: What is it like to be on the frontline of the bushfire emergency? Post continues after audio.

Our farm is off the grid. 12 years fully solar powered. And yet our government is touting coal mines for future power.

How much more do we need to see before we step up? The Barrier Reef dead? The koala extinct? The whole country ablaze?

What will it take for us to care more about the climate than coal, more about farmers than faux economic surplus, more about the planet and our children’s futures than appeasing polluters and poisoning our precious water supplies? Please tell me, what will it take?

How much do we have to endure before Australia wakes up and listens to its burning bush?

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