Australian land-lesbians reporting in from the fires

The following is an email I received from Jae at Maize Magazine. It it an email from lesbians living in Australia and going through the devastating fires. The writer, Chris, refers to it as: “their Katrina.”
Today btw, was the first day there that fatalities didn’t go up. What has happened is horrendous and climate change has created an environment of extreme conditions. From Chris’s email it sounds like even Australian politicians are coming to understand what this global warming means. Global warming is too mild a term for what we all will be facing in our lifetime. -val

Thanks, Chris, and we are all relieved for you. We also heard from Carole. Our hearts are with you, your lands and everyone there confronting this terrible tragedy.

Love to you all,
Jae

— On Tue, 2/10/09, Chris Sitka wrote:

From: Chris Sitka

To update you on the Australian fires.
Mahlandia is West of Melb. Not in the NE area where wild fires are still
burning.
All is quiet on the western front for now.
However She-La lesbian land is in Warburton and is almost surrounded by
fires which are threatening to join up into an even bigger fire. As I
write She-La is not under threat – only on alert. Sharon and Carole
evacuated in the evening of the conflaguration day and I have been
unable to reach them the last couple of days. I have heard that they may
have gone home for now. However they will be constantly on alert and
ready to go if the fires close in as they are located in a highly
forested and hilly area where fires are impossible to fight.
I have several other lesbians in other areas who also remain on alert
and in possible danger in the next days or weeks.
We are blessed with a respite in weather. It has gone cold (for summer)
and has even been drizzling rain for a bit (our first for 2 months). The
humidity helps. the fires burn on irregardless – but at a slower pace.
The ramifications are huge as it seems at least 200 people died.
Possibly many more. Thousands are now homeless. Hundreds injured.
We still have several months of summer to get through. We are very
nervous because the fires we had were like no other before. We had the
highest temperature ever in this state. We had a row of days of extreme
temps. This was a temperate climate and now we have summer temps more
usual in a desert. Up to 120 degrees F.
You should see everyone’s gardens. Burnt and shriveled. Even those of
people who have water.

The implications for us all are huge. It is fast becoming obvious that
we are already in extreme climate change conditions. Even the Premier of
our State keeps saying that in his speeches. like us he is saying people
living in the country now need to have bunkers on their property to
retreat into on extreme fire danger days. Previous fire survival options
have to be abandoned as on such days houses explode, cars melt and fires
move so fast they can come up on you before you know it. That has been
the experience of those who were caught.

I have been saying for a while that we need an underground shelter.
However being able to summon up the time, energy and money to create an
underground refuge is not so easy. We have to come up with a new fire
plan – because we no longer feel safe with our previous plan. We are all
facing this conundrum.
Even evacuation is problematic. You have to be able to leave early
enough and with fires moving at the speed of a jet plane and spotting
embers 15 miles ahead of themselves no where is safe. previously we
might have been able to shelter in a town. In these fires whole towns
and suburbs of big towns and a huge city were on fire. So underground
looks like the best survival option.

If the extreme heat, zero humidity and gale force wind conditions on Sat
7th Feb had gone on for several days our whole state might have been
burnt out.

People realise this and a huge community effort is under way to support
the people burnt out. This is our Hurricane Katrina – only the
authorities seem to have responded much better than Bush and co did.
Fire fighters are coming from everywhere (including USA) to help and
no-one has been burned out for the last couple of days. Though many
thousands of people remain under threat.

If monitoring our fires please respect request not to go onto the
official fire notification sites as those in danger are having trouble
getting onto the web site to check up what danger they are in. the web
site keeps crashing.

There are positives coming out of this. There are moves to re-build
people’s homes in fire safe and environmental friendly forms. Also the
wrath of the fierce Mother has impressed on people (judging from their
comments) that man is not the master of nature.

Our state seems to have transformed from a conglomeration of
disconnected consumers to a real community spirit. Instead of buying
people are giving and giving and giving. Every organisation, group,
club, govt department, neighbourhood, trade union, etc. etc. is rallying
with practical support.

When one of the refuges of evacuees in the hills asks for say toothpaste
– a truckload of toothpaste arrives there shortly after. Millions of
dollars have been donated. People have been giving away cars, mobile
homes, trucks of feed, etc, etc.

We live in changing times and may have to adapt fast.

Chris Sitka


JAE HAGGARD
Woman, Earth and Spirit, Inc ~ Administrator
Maize Magazine ~ Editor
PO BOX 130 SERAFINA, NM 87569

http://www.WomanEarthandSpirit.org
includes links to all Projects
www.MaizeMagazine.org
http://www.NMWomensRetreat.org

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