Bundanoon is the kind of village you wouldn’t think existed anymore.
Love Letter to Bundanoon
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d like it. It was quaint. But dinky. No place for a city chick. The roads were narrow…
Its heydey was in the 1930s and the main street has kept the style and charm of that time.
We have a train line running through verdant hills. There’s a level crossing. Train drivers wave and delight of my 18-month-old son. Sometimes they blow the horn.
Surrounding the village is a national park and sculpted sandstone native animals.
Every year we have the ‘Garden Ramble.’ It’s a weekend where ten residential open gardens of different kinds — bursting with natives and exotics, Japanese-inspired, formal, permacultural, enchanting, deceptive.
You may have heard of Bundanoon. It has made international news a number of times for different reasons. Most recently it’s made news because it has been on fire.
As you can see, Bundanoon is situated in the middle of a pincer attack of two bushfires (below). The dark sections are the fires.
The Bushfires in NSW
A large part of Australia is on fire right now. We have lost 20 lives. More than 2,200 homes have burnt down. Much of the east coast of Australia is aflame.
There are a few reasons for this.
The first reason is drought. There has been a record-breaking lack of rain. There is no moisture in the ground.
Bundanoon is 680 meters above sea level. It is normally a cool climate.
We have evacuated twice.
The temperature in Penrith in outer Sydney hit 47.9 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit).
Firefighters say that no one who has ever lived on our planet has ever seen anything like this before.
The word that keeps being used to describe the situation here is ‘apocalyptic’. Get the idea?
With towering infernos, some of the firewalls are literally the height of skyscrapers. How are you going to attack that?
With a hose?
These fires require nothing short of a fleet of aerial water bombers and flame retardants.
Do we have them?
The recently elected— highly ideological populist party led by an overweight blonde ‘Christian’ — decided to cut 75.2% of the funding of the Rural Fire Service.
It’s ironic he calls himself a Christian. Jesus would have thrown him from the temple and called him a hypocrite.
Ignoring Expert Advice
These fires came as no surprise. The public servants with expertise in fire patterns, climate, weather, and fire behavior is the Department of Fire & Rescue.
The top leaders of Fire & Rescue have been warning political parties of this imminent threat for years.
In July last year, I had a friend who is a staffer visit for the weekend. He was feeling depressed. He had been to their conference that week and learned that Summer was likely to bring catastrophic fires. But not just one. There would be multiple events and they would all happen at the same time.
So, if I knew about this months ago. A complete layperson. Why did our government wait for town to incinerate and people to die?
The opposition party (Labor) was developing a sensible policy framework that included additional resources including a fleet of water bombers. They released that policy in March 2019. They were acting on the advice of the experts.
Which is the job of government, is it not?
Concentrated Media Ownership
Australia is a bit of a ‘Trump’ situation. Yes, our government was elected, but it was overwhelmingly a single state (Queensland, the mining state) who got them in. What was supposed to be ‘at last’ the climate election, saw a disastrous lurch to the right. It was heartbreaking.
This, my friends, draws me to another problem Australia faces: concentrated media ownership.
Our press is 57.5% owned by Rupert Murdoch., It is not in his interests for science to be considered credible.
Throughout the devastation, these fires at home have made front-page news across the world. But NOT on the front page of The Australian newspaper, owned by Rupert.
World reacts to Australian fire disaster
The Australian bushfires are making front-page headlines internationally as the world expresses disbelief as to the…
The rest of us in the bushfire ravaged states shake our heads in anger and disgust, just like the rest of the world.
Liberal MP Craig Kelly and Piers Morgan clash over bushfire crisis
The Morrison Government's response to the bushfires were heavily criticised by the hosts of Good Morning Britain.
One of the problems with concentrated media ownership, a media narrative that there is NO PROBLEM here, it’s just natural weather systems, is that Australians are not great at critical thinking. We’re Drinkers, Not Thinkers.
What to Do if No One is Looking After You
Political leaders are failing their core responsibility — to look after people
How you can help
One way to help cut through the football-and-reality-tv zombification of the great unwashed is by getting vocal. Help call them out of the collective stupor. Sometimes it takes an outsider’s perspective to show how bad it really is.
Not asking for money
Every time you send a Tweet, share a video, comment, speak up, you are helping my fellow Australians to see the light.
So far, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, P!NK, Margot Robbie, Kevin Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, and countless others have stepped up to help fill the leadership void. You can also use the hashtag #dearyourmajesty to call the Queen to get rid of him.
(Unfortunately, I think this doesn’t follow due legal process, but it’s a strong statement.)
Everyone’s voice matters. Your voice counts too.
Please stand with us and get angry. Demand action. Demand that the experts take over now and that funds be available.
Thank you SO MUCH for reading.