Perspective: Our Loss

Jan 13, 2020

Several decades ago, I was staying at my sister’s when her house caught fire, a harrowing experience that left a deep imprint. Now my adoptive country is an inferno, and I can’t fathom the news and what I'm hearing from my friends there. 



I lived in Australia for seven years until the end of 2001. Although I was working, I had the sense of being on perpetual holiday -- the flora and fauna so diverse and colorful; the rainbow lorikeets and crimson rosellas; eucalypti, like the brilliant ghost gum trees; rainforests that sometimes lead right onto breathtaking beaches; and the majestic kangaroos, pudgy wombats and elusive koalas. 


Although I’ve been back in the U.S. nearly 20 years, Australia occupies a prominent presence in my psyche. I feel a spiritual connection to this part of Gondwana, the “land where time began,” and the accumulating devastation of lives and habitats is heart breaking on a personal level and truly a global tragedy. 


Yet the current Australian government persists not only with their denial, but also with their industry-supported fossil fuel agenda. Prime Minister Morrison spins it as just another disaster through which Australians will persevere, and to suggest otherwise would be unpatriotic, indeed un-Australian, as Lenore Taylor wrote in The Guardian. 


It’s as if the fires have erupted from the gross ignorance and greed both of my countries have succumbed to. 


I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.