We are on holiday in South America and Australia is burning.
An area greater than Belgium has been consumed by fire and smoke covers much of the country. Summer has just begun and like many Australian’s I’m scared there will be more to come. The air quality in Sydney and Canberra is amongst the worst in the world and babies have been delivered in smoke filled rooms. Firefighters and others have died, hundreds have lost homes. The enormous consequences of smoke damage to buildings, the devastation to communities and the impact of damaged and now dangerous forests is yet to be realised. The loss of wildlife, flora and fauna is unimaginable, and perhaps irreplaceable.
While all this was occurring, our days in Chile and Peru were filled with the majesty of this world. Our eyes and hearts were flooded with the wonder of this earth.
We experienced the rugged volcanic landscape of the Maipo Canyon.
The towering sand dunes of the Paracas Natural Reserve.
And the timeless grandeur of Machu Picchu.
Pachamama – our Mother Earth
We listened as Peruvian guides recounted stories of ancient pre Inca communities who venerated Pachamama – Mother Earth, the goddess of fertility. The flora and fauna is Pachamama’s flesh, the rocks and minerals her bones and water is her life blood. All that she provides must be honoured, respected and cared for. Take only what you need from Pachamama. Pachamama has the power to sustain or destroy life on earth.
At night we returned to our hotel room and frantically searched for updates on the Australian fires. Horrified we discovered that the Shoalhaven, where we had started our holiday and spent Christmas with family was under threat.
Our beloved Coolendel, where we had swum in the river and searched out wombats on 23 December 2019, was attacked by fire. My parents-in-law are part owners of this property, thankfully buildings are all standing, but trees have been burnt and the full damage is yet to be assessed. This bush land will be rejuvenated, but first the site needs to be made safe so the eco friendly camp can continue to flourish. Half burnt trees may need to be cleared.
Care for Pachamama in 2020
So my wish for 2020 is that we all care for Pachamama, as she is crying out for us to do so. Let us all be more than the disgusting label of “consumer”. Why are we always expected to want more? This is a rampant exaltation of greed. Humanity is more noble than this, as we have seen through the heroic actions of the firefighters and the Australian community who has responded to help those impacted by the fires.
Let’s stop pillaging Pachamama as if she is an endless supply – the earth mother is being depleted. We are creating a planet akin to a smouldering garbage dump where we will be unable to live.
In 2020 let us be nurturers of Pachamama. For 2020 I will continue to advocate for Australia to address climate change and continue to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle.
You can donate to Australian bushfire relief through the Red Cross here.
Visit Coolendel, and other devastated communities once they are open, as this is one of the best ways to support them.