Thoughts and prayers aren't enough - we need action
My name is Shiann and I am an 18 year old school strike organiser from Nymboida, near Grafton in NSW.
Last week, along with many others, I lost my beautiful home to the bushfires. I am thankful that we are all alive and safe in my community, and for the few possessions we were able to salvage. Many others in our small community of Nymboida, where I have grown up, were not that lucky. They have lost pretty much everything. At least 80 dwellings in the Nymboida community and surrounds were lost. Not to mention countless sheds, machinery and stock. People's livelihoods have been destroyed.
I feel numb. It comes in waves, it all feels so unreal, but then too real. The fire was unstoppable. I know the firefighters did everything they could to protect our house and other homes and to them I am beyond grateful.
The fires that joined up and devastated our community were not normal. These were not normal bushfires. They were firestorms, spitting embers and fireballs, creating their own weather. For months fires had been burning, and despite continued efforts, they were unable to be controlled. As the fires descended on our community, the sky, grey from smoke, changed to an orange glow, then to red, then to black. We watched from our veranda as it got progressively darker. It felt like an apocalypse and by 4.30pm it was dark as night.
Nothing about this is normal. This is climate change, fuelled by the mining and burning of coal, oil and gas, and it is beyond terrifying.
Australia is on fire and the federal government must take urgent action to halt the climate crisis. Indigenous leaders, scientists and firefighters have been warning about the consequences of doing nothing for so long. Surely now, with multiple fires burning throughout NSW and Queensland, Scott Morrison must realise that doing nothing is no longer an option.
We need our Government to start taking all of us seriously. That means committing to real support for indigenous land management, Rural Fire Services and it means urgent climate action:
No new coal, oil or gas projects, starting with Adani’s mega coal mine
100% renewable energy and exports by 2030
Funding for a just transition and jobs for fossil fuel workers and communities
On November 29, we will sit down across the country to demand just that. Shoulder to shoulder, we’ll hear from those on the frontlines of this crisis, fundraise for the bushfire appeal and make plans for what’s to come.
I hope you can join or host a Sit-Down near you. It would mean the world to me and our community.
Shiann, Nymboida, NSW for the School Strikers 4 Climate Action