As parents trying to keep our kids safe for the future, how do we prepare for this to happen again and again and again?
I’m Rose Ricketson, I live in Braidwood NSW and I’m a community organiser, birth worker and mother. I’ve lived in Braidwood for ten years on and off. It’s a brilliant community. People look after one another here. The environment is precious and unique. I love this place.
I had my daughter in February 2019. It was summer that year when we saw the impact of months of drought.
Water is a big part of my life. I grew up on the coast where summers were always about going to the beach. In Braidwood, I’m all about going to the river. So when the water in the river got lower and lower I really felt it. A lot of people were pretty worried.
Then the fires came and they didn’t leave for a long time. It was an intense wake up call. In the face of a climate related disaster a lot of climate denialism in the community burnt away. We knew we needed to do what we could to make sure that we were safe. That we had enough water and enough food.
All the roads in and out of Braidwood were closed. It was scary as a parent not knowing where our food was coming from, or when a truck was going to be able to get in. We couldn’t get out to buy supplies. Water was running really low.
I was living in Majors Creek at the time. We had to evacuate with the baby. Everyone was on high alert. Everyone was stressed out. Everyone’s nervous systems were frazzled.
Having a baby meant my husband and I couldn’t get out on the frontlines and help. So we did our best in the community. We went out with our kid and delivered food, hay and water. It wasn’t firefighting but it was something we could do.
We still felt a bit useless. We were stuck in the town with our kids, taping up our windows with masking tape so the smoke wouldn’t come in. You couldn’t go to the local pool or the river or the park because the kids couldn’t breathe. We were trapped inside.
There was a big rise in anxiety around keeping children safe. It’s still there. It really informs my parenting decisions knowing the world they’re inheriting is going to be a lot more unstable than the world I grew up in.
I’m passionate about raising my children to be resilient in the face of uncertainty. I don’t want them to be stressed out about the future but to feel empowered to make change. To look after country and look after community.
The government absolutely has a responsibility to turn things around. I believe better decisions need to be made. But we can’t just wait for that. We also need to make changes in our communities.
As parents trying to keep our kids safe for the future, that’s what we’re thinking about. How do we prepare for this to happen again and again and again? How are we going to support each other to get through the next crisis? What will the future look like for our children?
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