The Cairns Post
HARSH LESSONS FORGED IN FIRE
THE Badga Forest fire churned into a mini tornado that ripped without mercy through the valley and ridgelines, annihilating everything in its path.
This firestorm was a mad beast that was so large it was creating its own weather patterns. It roared and howled, and it picked up everything we had built with our bare hands, swallowed it up, and threw it around.
Seeing the once pristine and lush landscape’s ecology, inhabitants and wildlife completely savaged is heartbreaking. It now sits eerily silent, raped and desolate.
Wandella was a place full of life where we have grown living things for 20 years.
We built our home and business from scratch – with no money, no buildings, and no power or water at the outset. But it had soul.
Our team loved working there in a workplace that was like no other.
Our kids and friends had fantastic adventures playing along the creek, swimming in the dam, building cubbies, getting dirty, making art from found objects, and breathing in real life in nature.
Our totally self-sustaining property was completely off the grid and we had dedicated our business to making a positive impact on the planet, practising what we preach in our own back yard, and making efforts to minimise our carbon footprint.
It’s not so much the buildings and “stuff” that is painful to lose. It’s the dreams and experiences that we created there. So now we are back to where we started – with no power, water, phone, internet, buildings or facilities.
Working on and in the landscape in the ACT and NSW for the past 30 years means that we have become palpably aware of a changed and changing climate.
This raging inferno was of proportions unexpected, and it’s critical to rethink how we individually and collectively deal with these new and destructive forces of nature.
Our team have been facing horrendous weather conditions working on project sites, and it’s time we – the public, the designers, and the government – think more cleverly about how we work and the work that we are doing.
We must plan and construct buildings and landscapes more appropriately, as current practice will not be future-proof.
We must restore our landscapes and make smarter choices about how we treat and use our planet’s natural resources.
We must take personal responsibility for our part in all this and take action in our own lives. And we must speak up about our changed climate and why these fires were so ferocious – because the science doesn’t lie.
Lisa Roberts is a bushfire survivor whose home and business in the Bega Valley was wiped out by the Black Summer fires of 2019-20