January 23, 2020
Back in mid December 2019 the property where Daniel (my brother and Planet Corroboree partner) and I grew up on that boarders Bundjalung National Park was threatened by fires. The local fire service came in and back-burned in the evening when the wind was down and the temperature cooler than the day. The fires stayed low and went out naturally. That was it, and nothing dramatic and drastic followed. A month on and the new growth has emerged with fresh new life. I can imagine that maybe if they hadn't come in and done this, the result of those approaching fires might have had devastating results.
Traditionally, I'm gathering these lands were fire managed by the Indigenous mob as it's a haven for kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, possums, snakes and birds. The land is plentiful and would have been a hunting ground I feel. It's above the swamp line and follows an old route to a very special untouched river system. It's easier to hunt these animals when the bush is more accessible. Makes sense to me!
Through the years being on this land I've noticed when a fire doesn't go through the undergrowth, it gets thick with wattle and other understory plants. This is when the wild, out of control, destructive canopy fires happen, in some of these fires buildings have been lost and people risk their lives to save their homes.
Wildlife definitely declines in these events.
The purpose of back burning is important. Done in the cooler seasons when the fire doesn't reach the canopy, the animals have time to find refuge and only the thick undergrowth burn. Most of the plant species natural to this environment grow back and even thrive afterwards. Once a fire goes through, the cleanse has happened and new beginnings follow.
These fires in the last months that have destroyed many parts of Australia and killed a billion animals have been very painful to watch unfold. The despair felt by many is collective. We all ask ourselves if things could have been different? or why has this happened? I'm sure many of us have answers we feel passionate and researched about. ( I could go into a few reasons I feel strong about but I decided maybe here's not the place )
I feel that Indigenous people from all nations knew how to care for the land to live in harmony the best way possible.
In Australia, in our sometimes harsh environment maybe we can start to adapt more of the practices of the first people, who lived here in union with the land. They knew through thousands of years of experience how to live in balance so all ecosystems benefitted and even thrived together. Let's look to them for their wisdom and knowledge.
The damage has been done and we can't turn back time. I'm so saddened by the trauma so many people and animals have gone through recently. My heart goes out to everyone effected and hope somehow hearts are healed, homes rebuilt and wildlife populations survive.
The world looked on and responded with love and empathy and money. We are all on this planet together. Let's make choices everyday to care for each other, our wildlife and our earth.
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