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Abby’s Angle - February 2020

29 Jan 2020

Stay strong this new year

By Abby Crawford

It can be hard to harness the joy of the new year when we are surrounded by such catastrophic climate change.

The weight of the news is heavy, and the loss of vulnerable wildlife and bushland is heartbreaking. It can be hard to tune out of this devastation, especially when so many of us have been frantically checking on friends’ and family’s safety for months of fires along the complete coastline of Australia. And those that are not directly impacted, are impacted by air thick with smoke or, lately, raging storms bringing more threat and damage albeit with a small amount of fire relief. So, happy new year.

When I speak to my son and his friends, their number one stress is climate change. They fear the plight of the future for themselves and their children, and they are traumatised by the pain inflicted on wildlife. They find it disheartening and as more and more kids present with anxiety and depression, this seems to be yet another heavy burden of gloom upon them, and it takes enormous energy and focus to have them feeling positive about the day ahead under a blanket of smoke – let alone discussions of the future.

And I have been feeling guilty, on top of everything else – because I’ve been starting to “scroll through” the news. I’ve stopped watching the nightly tv news, and I’ve slowly edged away from the barrage of Facebook posts updating yet more catastrophe near and far. I feel guilty I’m not watching, as though somehow, by watching and feeling so much pain and sadness it would relieve those in extremis at that moment and they would feel this shared experience and know the world cares – because we are watching. But it gets to be too much, and after months of catastrophe, we all need a break.

So, I’ve simply concluded that being positive about the future, does not mean I’m not incredibly sympathetic and empathetic to the reality of what so many of us are directly experiencing, and what we are all experiencing as Australians. By getting stuck into this new year, this new decade that I have longed for, I am hoping to continue to grow business so that I can take more positive and proactive action than the small donations I have been able to make to date. By switching my attention back to “my world” – and believe me, my world has been affected by the fires, blanketed by the smoke, and pelted by the hail – I am wanting to “get back to business”. And by business, I don’t just mean my literal workload but also the ways in which I can help and support – shop local, shop drought-affected, donate where you can, join causes, conserve water, plant wisely, support our emergency services, resist buying into fake news – just bloody try to make a difference!

There are so many regional towns that are also wanting us to know they are “open for business” and the world needs to know Australia is open. These are extremely scary times, and without trying to make a political statement, there are many things that need to change. But the biggest thing I can do right now is be positive for myself, for my family, for my community, for my country. The biggest thing I can do right now is take the steps and the actions that I can take today. And I know that when other opportunities arise in the near future, such as to vote on new directions, for our voices to be heard regarding what we as Australians want, then I will be there beside you all calling out for what we need, insisting we are heard, insisting our priorities are met.

It is indeed a new year – and one I believe we will need to learn to gather our communities into a balance of protesting for change, while maintaining our own businesses, one where we will need to learn to moderate between feeling the overwhelming despair from the catastrophic impacts and garnering positivity for the future, one where we will need to question the leaders of our country while focusing on being the best leaders we can be for our families.

So, my angle is this … try. Just try to see something positive each day. Try to do something positive each day – for you, for the climate, for your family, for your community. Take actions, but make sure those actions also include ways to look after you. Because we are going to need to be strong, and we are going to need to make change happen, and we are going to need to help each other.


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