It’s been two years since Black Summer.
Two years since everyday Australians emerged from the devastation and horror of the fires to come together and find common ground.
Two years since we had hope these fires would be a catalyst for real change. We were in shock but resilient and we knew the solutions were there. That, together, we could achieve meaningful action on climate change.
It’s easy to lose hope when nothing much changes at the top. When emissions reduction targets are too little, too late and when election commitments fall far short of what is needed.
But what if we could take things into our own hands?
What if we all came together and raised our voices as one. As an unavoidable demand for action that actually works?
Wytaliba RFS Volunteer Nessie Leishman is one of many Australians who was moved to speak louder on climate change than she ever imagined.
Drawing on the support of her community and the nature of human connection, she saw the 2019/2020 bushfire crisis as an important moment for us all to speak out — and keep the pressure up, always.
“You can’t ignore the effect climate change is having on the whole of Australia. To see what I saw was just insane. There was fire everywhere. The wind was on fire! It was so intense,” says Nessie.
“It makes me pretty angry so much inaction is happening around climate change. But the resilience in our community has been so incredibly strong.
“Everyone comes together in every new challenge we face. Tough times really show how strong we are.”
We can get to a place where our communities are safe, our climate is healthy and our economy is sustainable.
This strength is what we all have within us when we are determined to see a way through this climate crisis — to a place where our communities are safe, our climate is healthy and our economy is sustainable.
The solutions to get there are many, and they are here now. One that dairy farmer Rob Miller believes in, is creating energy independent communities.
After being slammed by drought, the Black Summer fires and then flood, Rob wants to see regional and rural communities like his having their own renewable resources to help them get through future crises while contributing to net zero this decade.
“The climate breakdown makes farming a really tough operation. What's going to happen ... are we going to be farming? Is there going to be enough food for the future?” he says.
“With the lack of leadership, it is the local community that's having to step up and take action.
"We're ordinary Australians. We are coming together. We are recognising that we have to do something. We have to act, otherwise our communities are going to be broken.”
“We’re ordinary Australians. We are coming together. We have to act, otherwise our communities are going to be broken.”
Being witness to the Black Summer fires rip through her community really impacted GP Michelle Hamrosi too.
And these days, she sees climate action as the greatest opportunity for our country in terms of health, wellbeing and economic prosperity.
“Following the bushfires, there was this sense of community support and connection — the desire for a better world post bushfires and COVID is palpable,” says Michelle.
“We have everything we need to nurse our climate back to health. A healthy economic recovery would mean a quick transition away from polluting fossil fuels, both coal and gas, which fuel climate change.
“It would fund renewable energy projects, new public transport routes and walking and cycling paths, all which would generate thousands of jobs, including in regional and rural areas like mine.
“I believe meaningful, ambitious climate action is possible. Together we are more powerful and we can create a tidal wave of change that is unstoppable.”