It’s happening. Uncontrollable bushfires and savage heat are not just something in the future – they have roared into the here and now. Everyone knows someone who has been personally affected. The images on the nightly news are seared into our brains. And with it comes a horrible question: is this the new normal?
What we do next will tell us much about ourselves. We are extraordinarily good at responding to a crisis; the outpouring of goodwill, the generous support and the incredible sacrifice of volunteers have shown us the best of who we are. I have been particularly heartened by how much the plight of our wildlife has moved people, with our wonderful member groups front and centre in caring for communities and nature.
But responding to climate change is going to ask much more of ourselves: more sustained compassion, more unsettling change and far faster transformative action.
Conservation SA has been working hard over the past few weeks to help individuals, member groups and the wider community in the immediate needs post bushfire. We also recognise the importance of both short-term recovery and long-term planning in making real change. As the state's peak body for the environment, we've been working with government agencies and other key groups to ensure ecological restoration, wildlife preservation and habitat recovery. Importantly, we're working to make sure affected communities have the support they want and the resources they need, now and into the future.
In just the first weeks of the year, we've:
- attended a key Bushfire Recovery Meeting in Canberra
- hosted Conservation Volunteers for their working bee to make habitat boxes for bushfire-affected wildlife at the Joinery
- supported School Strike 4 Climate students to store care packages for fire-affected families
- committed to collaborate on on-ground activities in Cuddlee Creek and KI as part of SA Nature Alliance
- supported Nature Foundation's Wildlife Fund in fundraising efforts
- worked with State Government as a representative on the Department of Environment and Water (DEW) Fire Recovery Committee
- kicked off a plan to bring DEW, Country Fire Service (CFS) and SA Nature Alliance together for long-term planning workshop in February
And that's just the start of our actions for 2020.
It feels like something has shifted over the past few weeks. The community’s appetite for real action has expanded. It’s now up to all of us to seize this moment.