Since we last met
I'm a little shocked at how much our little planet has changed since I last posted.
As our world continues to change at an alarming rate - even in the last couple of days - I keep thinking about how we got here. The year began with our horrendous fires causing all manner of untold trauma. The that bizarre and destructive Ice Storm that smashed houses and decimated the landscape. And then, a couple of days after the storm, the clouds turned brown as dust from the Northern part of the state came down in buckets of rain that coated everything in a thin layer of rust-coloured dirt.
And I remember thinking at the time how extraordinary it was that something as insignificant as fine particles of dust from the other side of the state could be swept up into the clouds and dumped on us here down South - showing us how connected we were and what a small planet this really is.
Meanwhile, a strange virus was found around the same time in China, and then that surprised many by beginning to spread, and eventually morphing into the pandemic it has since become.
Who’d have thought that the world could be closed down in the way that it now is? Having said that, my time in Emergency Services, Emergency Management & Health shows you just how vulnerable we really are. You kind of know this stuff can happen. But you don’t dwell on the knowledge because that does your head in.
These times remind me of a short film I made many years ago. Called Fragile Balance, it explored the interconnectedness of everything on our Earth home, and how so much of our life relies on a delicate balancing act. The premise of the film was that our world is a House of Cards, very easily destabilised. An ever increasing global population, a consumer disposable society based on a rampant consumption of precious resources, a failure to address the threat of climate change and massive pollution; all taking it's toll on our planet, pushing that fragile balance towards an irreversible tipping point.
And I think recent events bare out the veracity of the premise of the film dramatically.
A Reason for Everything?
But we have to ask why. Why is this happening? Why is the current crisis unfolding in our midst, on our very doorstep?It is incumbent on us to reflect on the lessons that come from this. We can either bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist, getting by from one day to the next, or we can do the difficult work of asking the questions, of learning form the lessons.
Heads in the sand
To pretend that this is a mere blip on the radar, and not something to be too worried about is incredibly disrespectful to the many many people whose job it is to find solutions, and the saints in the Health Care sector who care for the sick. Not to mention how unkind it is to the many many people whose lives have been cut short and the devastation of grief and bereavement left in its wake. And the many many people who have lost jobs, the businesses that have been affected, and the dire impact on the global economy. Its about respect and compassion.
Gaia is angry
But still I ask: why, why, why?
I really think the time has come to take seriously the need to respect our Earth home. She is tired, she has sent us warnings. Many of which have been ignored to too easily forgotten.
So she shut down. Or shut us down, more like.
We are being forced into a global Pause for Reflection. We are being made to turn inward, to be still, be quiet. To listen. To stop. To slow down. To be gentle. To remember what a privilege and a blessing it is to be able to walk this precious Earth. To share our Earth home with our loved ones and our community. Our Global community.
Respect for our planet means doing things differently. It means acknowledging the delicate balance on which our lives so desperately depend. Respect for the planet, respect and compassion for each other. And we really must, as a global community, listen to the lessons Gaia - our Earth home - is trying to teach us.
It is gratifying to see the #kindnesspandemic emerge in response to this disaster. I see the empty shopping shelves as more about fear than hostility. And the kindness that is emerging is heartwarming. There is much hope in this.
I pray that as a Global community we emerge from this intact and lessons learned. Perhaps the kindness movement shows there is hope after all.
Otherwise, the future for all of us may be very bleak.