What will the floods be like for my kids? What will the fires and the droughts look like for them?
My name’s Ellie. I live in Perth, Western Australia. I moved over here from Sydney just before the pandemic began. I’m working as a lawyer in a community legal centre. I have two kids, a two year old and a four year old.
Since living in Western Australia we’ve had a lot of unseasonable weather. Last winter we had record rainfall. A lot of people I know who were born and raised in Western Australia said that they hadn’t seen this sort of rain since the eighties. That it was unseasonable or unprecedented.
The summer before, it basically didn’t rain at all. For a week – even at night – it didn’t go below 30. We broke records for the most consecutive days above 35 and 40 degrees. People said it was unusually hot, even for Perth.
I work with people up in Karratha, the largest town of the Pilbara region. In Karratha there was a week where temperatures hit 50 degrees during the day. People I work with who live in that region said they would have to consider whether they could do another summer there – because 50 degrees is completely unprecedented. At least one person told me they were considering whether to leave all together.
This kind of heat isn’t something I’m used to. Prior to moving here, air conditioning was something I would never use. I’m used to using a pedestal fan, maybe, but never air conditioning. But to be confronted by this nighttime heat, you had to use air conditioning just to be comfortable. It was on all night so the kids and I could sleep.
When I think about my kids, my biggest concern for them is the uncertainty. What will the floods be like? What will the fires and the droughts look like for them? I’m always outdoors with my children and it’s made me a lot more conscious about how I teach them about the natural environment. I tell them about how everything is interconnected and everything is in a delicate balance. I try to keep it simple for them. Humans have done a lot to hurt the planet and we owe it to all the plants and animals to fix it.
For our generation and for my kids, I think a big change will be reconsidering how we contribute to the world. I hope there’s a change in our values, and a concern for how we leave the world for future generations. I hope that’s what we see more of.
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