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On Fire

I haven't discussed the fires on social media for a few reasons. Firstly, I have been busy getting married and travelling and moving house. Secondly, I have been overwhelmed with the articles on social media, and I feel like there is a lot already. But there was one that really stood out to me today about a woman working in the media industry who could not ethically continue to do so because she was having to report on and present views that denied climate change as a contributing factor of the fires.


Now, to be clear, the company she was working for was focusing on the arson issues as opposed to climate change. It is clear that there are many contributing factors that have caused this season to be extremely awful.


The reason why this article resonated with me though was because there are many people out there, including myself, that have felt as though they do not belong in a workplace, or they struggle to be in a workplace because they are either a climate change denying company, they have not done things, or invested in things, or have refused to do things that have ultimately contributed to climate change.


For me it was when the school I was working for brought 11kg of shredded micro-plastics as fake snow for the school musical. I asked if it could be removed for workplace health and safety reasons as well as the impact on the environment, but was denied this because it cost the school $300, and we were a poor school. I really struggled with this, and for a short time it emotionally impacted me. I felt guilty, hopeless, stressed, trapped, something like I used to feel as a whinging teenager when something 'wasn't fair.' I felt like people didn't understand, and I it didn't matter what I said they wouldn't understand. They tried to justify it with 'it is made from recycled plastic' and 'the PDS says that it is safe to use,' despite it obviously impacting our students as they were coughing and getting it in their eyes and mouths, and 'we will sweep it all up and use it at another time.' I still feel guilty that I couldn't stop a lot of the plastic from getting into the gardens and the drains as people walked it out of the space.


When I am trying to explain here is that, many people experience frustration in their workplaces as a result of actions of their workplaces, and at the moment, a lot of people in Australia are feeling that same frustration towards the government. But teaching has taught me a lot about why people get frustrated like this.


At school, kids depend on teachers to teach them. It is their job to learn and the teachers job to teach. A lot of teaching is modelling behaviours and actions that we expect to see in our students. In Australia, Australians depend on the government to make good choices for Australians. It is our job to do the right thing and it is the governments job to ensure that infrastructure is in place to make sure we can to the right thing. But at the moment, we are lacking the modelling and infrastructure to be able to do the right thing. This includes most methods of being able to reduce global warming (waste management, renewable technologies, reducing deforestation, water management). As individuals we can do as much as possible within our means, but unless the culture and infrastructure and industries change, we will continue to see this type of devastation, as well as worse cyclones etc.


Another thing that has come out of the bushfires that frustrates me is the apparent need for a royal commission.... seriously.... just do the right thing according to scientists, and we wont need one... Royal commissions lasts for years and by the time that it is done, it will be way too late. If we put the money, time and effort in now, we can do a royal commission later to blame all of the people that should have done things earlier.


I hope this has summarised some peoples frustrations.

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  © Alice Carwardine 2020 from Overturn the Tables.