Image Credit to @NatureHeavenOfficialPage on Facebook
Right about now, we should all be writing blogs about New Years and resolutions and opportunities and a host of other forward-facing ideas, but now’s not the time.
In September last year, the Australian bushfires started, and they continue today, in the middle of January.
Some people are grand. They have big profiles and do big things. They raise or donate literally millions of dollars. They speak loudly and with authority about climate change, or how we might all go forward. They write poetry and film themselves advising you where to donate. They donate 1966 surfboards, baggie green caps and amazing restaurant meals for the price of a raffle ticket.
Then, there’s those who had low profiles until just a few weeks ago and are now our heroes, both inspiring us and bringing us to tears. The woman who gave her shirt to a wrap a Koala, the Commissioners of the RFS in each State speaking every day all day with updates and warnings and advice, Navy Captains rescuing people from beaches, the WIRES teams rescuing koalas and kangaroos, the teenage brothers collecting koalas and taking them to safety, and the firies who lost their lives and the children they left behind.
Then there’s the beautiful communities. Knitting pouches for joey kangaroos and baby koalas, dropping carrots to starving wildlife from helicopters, collecting and then dropping bottled water via the Airforce to towns that lost their clean water supply, making ‘animal food rings’ to scatter about the bush, and promoting #emptyesky so people return to the country towns and help them get back on their feet.
And in amongst that is all of us who were just watching, donating what we could where we could. Glued to 24/7 news and updates, horrific photos of devastation and pain – people, animals and communities.
All of us know someone in one of those beautiful towns and farming communities. Families and friends. And we couldn’t look away. We wanted to help and didn’t know what to do.
As a whole nation, we gradually became overwhelmed.
People hopped off social media, unable to see one more distraught image that tore their soul in half.
We came back to work last week, and so many clients and friends rang.
Not for New Year wishes, but to ask what to do with their sad and sombre people.
And we had to really think, as we too were pretty overwhelmed and struggling to find a path back through to optimism. So, we sat down and tried out to nut out five things that we can do. Five unGrand, unFamous, gritty, real things that every single one of us can do.
1.Reach out to the people you know who are impacted.
We’ve got one of our team from Mallacootta, another from Kangaroo Valley and another close to the Kangaroo Island community. I’m sure every team in the country has someone that is related to, or friends with, someone in one of the firezones. Reach out. Send a note. Ask what they need. Let them know we’re here. And ask when they want us back visiting.
2.Do something small.
We all add up. A small donation, a raffle ticket, one knitted pouch, one box of lip balm for the firies. Go on the websites and see what’s needed.
3.Share the good stories.
Remind people that humanity is bigger than anything. The communities who are coming together and supporting each other, the carrot-dropping pilots, the pouch-knitting knitters, the WIRES and RSLSA volunteers doing great things.
4.Reach out to the super-empaths you know.
We’re all in pain, but those amongst us who are highly sensitive and have that ability to sense for everyone around them, take the pain for others, often at their own expense. Reach out to them. Call them. Drop over. Hug. They need you.
5.Look after each other.
No matter how ‘ungrand’ you are, you can be there for each other. Call. Visit, Walk over to their desk. Check-in. Talk about real, grounded and simple everyday things. Smile. Remember to let someone know they’re appreciated. Welcome them back from holidays – however they spent it. Hang together. Value your friendships and colleagues. The world is tough. We’re all doing our best.
And as well as all this, stay tuned.
This is a big emergency situation effecting many many people. It will take ages – months and years – to rebuild, reset, re-establish the communities and rethink how we deal with this type of emergency in the future. There’ll be a role in that for every single one of us – Grand and unGrand.
Here is a list of ways to help with donations: