I live in the Perth Hills and have done so for well over 20 years. Bushfire preparedness has always been something that we were supposed to get to. Every year we maintain the fire breaks and clean out the gutters and up until a several years ago, that was pretty much it. When the Parkerville fires came through 7 or so years ago we evacuated for a day or two with our small children and pets and that was about it. It wasn’t even that close to our home but we could see the smoke and didn’t want to risk it.
Just 2 weeks ago the Wooroloo fires came through on the other side of us and we could see the glow through the trees that first night. With the wind whipping around, we packed up again and headed out.
We were very lucky. Many were not.
Bushfires have always been a reality but they are becoming more frequent and more intense with climate change. Fortunately, we watched Big Weather on ABC iview late last year and that really gave us the motivation to get our preparations in order. We now have an emergency pack with all the essentials and the really important bits that lives permanently packed in a central location in our home. If we were home, it would take us only a minute to grab and go. If we weren’t home, it would be easy for our neighbour to grab it for us.
We also have a written plan and have discussed when to go and where to go if bushfire comes through. Our kids know what we will take and what we will leave behind should we need to evacuate.
We are continuing to do what we can about reducing the fuel load in our gardens, and make it as easy as possible for our home to be defended against fire.
Given how close the fires came to the suburbs this year, it doesn’t matter where you live, it is worth knowing your plan. It is quick to do and then you have peace of mind when a crisis occurs. Check out for https://mybushfireplan.wa.gov.au/ more details.
Whilst we have to prepare for the likelihood of ongoing fire threats, we can also be doing whatever we can to tackle climate change. There are actions we can take that can slow down and start to reverse the trends.
For starters, reduce your waste.
The less waste we create that has to be landfilled, converted to energy or recycled, the less burden there is on the earth. The less stuff that has to be produced new the better. Instead, go secondhand, borrow, share, repair and look for better alternatives. Use up your stuff or find someone else who will give it a meaningful use. Eat all your food or feed it to the chickens or worms. Avoid your bins wherever you can.
Then help rehabilitate through things like tree planting and clean-ups.
During February 2021, Wasteless Pantry is helping to do that by fundraising for Carbon Positive Australia’s good works! Carbon Positive Australia uses the funds raised through donations and carbon offsets to plant native trees on degraded land in Australia. Over almost two decades they have planted 5,992,261 trees, restored 4,757 hectares of land and captured 632,681 tonnes of carbon. Impressive huh?!
The recent bushfires have reinforced just how important it is for us to do what we can to slow down and even reverse climate change. More trees and less waste will help!
So this February help us with our fundraising! All you need to do is make a purchase over $25 at your local WP store during February to qualify for a $1 donation. So, come refill your jars and do even more good.
The last big lesson for me was the amazing support from our community. There were so many offers of help and others just reaching out to make sure we were okay. In speaking with others that were affected, the overwhelming message was that in times like these people do band together and make it work. They lean on each other and offer what they can.
Please get to know your neighbours, be empathetic when someone is having a bad day, and just smile at people when you are walking by. These little gestures cost nothing but mean the world some days.