When I went back to school, everyone was talking about the fires. A girl in my year lost her house. We were all very scarred.
South Coast, NSW
My name is Tyler. I’m 14 years old and live on the south coast of New South Wales.
The first time I learned about climate change I was in year 5. I’ve always wanted to help the environment. When I lived in WA, my friend and I were always researching endangered animals. I’ve joined a local environmental group that my science teacher told me about – it makes me feel better and less anxious to be doing something.
I moved back to NSW at the start of 2020, when the bushfires were happening. It was a scary three months. I feel really anxious thinking about it.
Even before we’d moved here, I remember my dad telling me that there were fires near our new place and he’d had to drive around to avoid them.
The fires were just up the street from us. I could see really big fires out the back of the house, and fire trucks driving past. One day my dad and brother and I were walking down the street and saw embers and rushed back to the house. We had to pack up and leave and I just broke down crying.
My friend had to go back to her place and protect their house from the fires. Her family had to sleep in the shed because it was too dangerous to be in the house.
When I went back to school, everyone was talking about the fires. A girl in my year lost her house. We were all very scarred. One of my teachers had to go away for a year because he had intense damage to his lungs from the smoke. He has only come back this year.
A lot of kids in my year are still talking about the fires – it’s still scary to this day. It’s really hard to talk about it. The smell of smoke still scares me sometimes. It brings it all back.
This area has been flooded as well. It didn’t really affect me – I had a few days off school because the roads were blocked, but friends of mine had their farms flooded. I remember seeing a dead cow with its feet up floating in the river, which was grim.
I feel very scared about the future. I worry that it’s way too late already and we should have started ages ago. I can’t stand the idea of growing up in a world where there’s no plants and no nature.
There’s always been wildfires, but it gets to a point and you know it’s climate change. We need to treat climate change like an emergency. The government should have acted way before – it’s their responsibility and they should have a plan. They need to act now.
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