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Pages tagged "Black Summer"

Our horrific Black Summer: We call on the government for a climate-positive COVID-19 recovery

By AP4CA members Liz Cowan and Amy Blain, Canberra. 

Throughout the Bushfire Royal Commission hearings, Australians are reminded that bushfire survivors have not forgotten their terrifying Black Summer. Australian Parents for Climate Action released an emotional video, based on parents’ submissions to the commission. Here are two of their stories. 


Ash in Amy Blain's newborn baby's ear, Jan 2020


Amy’s story: 

Nothing pierces your heart more than your 6-year-old looking up at you and saying: “Are we going to be ok?”It was a question my daughter asked me as we fled bushfires to Horseshoe Bay at Bermagui on New Year’s Eve 2019. Now, it’s a question I ask myself every day. Is it too late? Do our kids have a future?


That terrifying New Year’s Eve was a window, not to what’s coming, but to what’s already here. We’d left Canberra for the coast for our usual Christmas break, but as the New Year approached, our safe coastal retreat became a living nightmare. We asked ourselves: what do you need for a 6-year-old and a 10-week-old when you evacuate to the beach? How fast are the fires travelling? How close will they get? When will they burn out? How can we keep our kids safe?


After time on the beach, we returned to the house; it seemed a better option than having the kids out in the smoke. The water was contaminated, the filtration plant damaged, the power and phone network cut, the supermarket ran out of bottled water. The roads home were shut. We had no way of contacting anyone or knowing what was happening. So, we waited. As we bought disposable nappies, we realised how futile our individual actions to ‘save the planet’ now seemed. 


Our drive back home to Canberra was smoke-filled. Cooma choked in an impenetrable fog. Canberra welcomed in 2020 with the worst air quality in the world. The air we breathed was hazardous. Our children had ash in their eyes and ears. All our little one wanted for 2020 was no more fires. We were quarantined in a smoke-filled house, knowing we couldn’t get face masks to protect tiny developing lungs. Nowhere felt safe.


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Australian Parents for Climate Action meet and work on the lands of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people and respect that sovereignty of those lands was never ceded. We pay respect to Elders, past and present and emerging, and acknowledge the pivotal role that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people continue to play within the Australian community.