To hell with New Year's Resolutions, our planet is burning

As we welcome the new year, even one of such graceful symmetry, it is hard to be excited about much of what it might bring.

Our environment is teetering on the brink of disaster.

In Australia (home to the team behind focus booster) specifically, our sunburnt country is burning. A total of 6,500,000 hectares have been left blackened and singed by ferocious fires.

Climate change protest our planet is on fire
Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

We are only just through our first month of summer.

Drought has left so much of our wide brown land dry and desolate. On Tuesday 16 December we hit a record average of 40.9°C across the entire continent. The very next day it was broken by a whole degree, 41.9°C, for those who speak Fahrenheit that is over 107°F. Fahren HOT.

Heat and an abundance of dry fuel, pressurised by high and changing winds have created the perfect storm and the fires that have raged for months. They leave in their wake hundreds of thousands of dead and injured livestock and wild animals, at least 25 humans have lost their lives, 2500+ homes, businesses and buildings have been destroyed. Those numbers are sadly growing as the fires continue to burn. Uncontrollable.

The aftermath is yet to be understood but we know it won't be good.

Trees burning with smoke in bushfire
Credit: Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

Millions of Australian's watch and listen to the news with tears in their eyes. We do what we can to help our country's people but the fires steal more than the well-meaning donations can replace. From the victim's hands they rip lives, dear friends, beloved pets, livestock and livelihood and the sanctuaries people have built for themselves, the homes they have made their memories in.

Australians are angry. We could endure season after season of devastating bushfires but our government does not have a plan - not for fighting fires but, perhaps more frighteningly - not for tackling the record heat, the intense drought, the sporadic weather extremes... our climate in wrack and ruin.

Trees burning in Australia
Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

As our beautiful planet crumbles around us, many of us look to the New Year and how we can improve ourselves. Our silly self-centred resolutions.

What about our sweeping plains, our ragged mountain ranges, our far horizons, our jewel-sea? Who will save them?

If we wait for government or big business - we will have a front-row seat to watch our planet die.

A better (re)solution

The most common New Year's resolutions are always health and money based;

  1. Eat healthier
  2. Exercise more
  3. Save money

What use is it being fitter, if the air is so polluted you can't go outside to enjoy it?

What is the point of trying to eat healthily if you can't maintain it with fresh food because it is too hot and dry to grow anything?

What is the point of losing weight to fit in your bathers if you can't swim in the oceans because they are so hot that jellyfish are everywhere?

What use of saving money to buy a house if our world is not going to be liveable for the children you want to raise in it?

I know all of this is terribly pessimistic. At focus booster we do encourage you to be the best person you can be but, what if you could use your resolution to make life better for everyone? To heal the world.

So this year - and for every year that follows - resolve to do something that will save our beautiful home.

Out with the self-centred, ill-planned, doomed to fail resolutions. This year, make a change you will be proud of, choose to stand-up and do better. We will not save our planet by maintaining all the bad habits that currently serve to destroy it. We can only improve it, one person at a time. As individuals, we can hope to gather force to bring the rest of society with us, the non-believers, the governments, the corporates.

Ready to make a difference?

Climate change protest what can we do for our planet
Credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Here are some changes you can make to improve the future of Earth and life for generations to come;

  1. Reduce plastic consumption, even if it isn't single-use, it isn't made to last forever - bags, cutlery, bottles, kitchen utensils, clothes are made from plastic because it is cheap but we have great long-lasting alternatives. Ten tips to help you here.
  2. Don't bury your head in the sand when it comes to recycling - it has to go somewhere and it needs resources to be processed - refusing or reusing is always better.
  3. If you drink coffee in takeaway cups and haven't already, get a reusable coffee cup. Do it right now.
  4. Use cars less - catch public transport or even better, walk or ride a bike.
  5. Stop needlessly upgrading - whether it be phones, computers, shoes, cars, crockery sets, clothes. If it works, keep using it. When it no longer works, dispose of it properly. If still required, replace it with the best quality you can afford.
  6. Use less water - have shorter showers, turning taps off when you aren't using the water directly (e.g. no running water while you brush your teeth or lather your face), capture run-off when waiting for hot water and use it on the plants, only wash clothes when they are dirty - more water-saving tips here.
  7. Choose energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs when replacing old ones.
  8. Join the library instead of buying books.
  9. Buy local, seasonal produce - make it organic too if you can. Even better, grow it yourself.
  10. Educate - without smooshing their faces in it, if people want to know more about what you are doing, take the time to explain what you do and why you do it. If you have children, work out ways to get them on board and make these healthy changes fun for them - they are the future.

Climate change protest our planet is on fire
Credit: Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Here are some more tips to help you save the planet if you haven't found the perfect resolution yet.

All good

It is worth mentioning here that everything that is good for Earth is good for you. Not just in a clean air, survivable temperature kind of way but also in a feel great, I can make a difference kind of way. Surprisingly it has other benefits too, ones you might have been considering as your resolution directly;

  • Less plastic and recyclable packaging means less processed food and beverage, which means less sugar, salt, fat, artificial stuff and preservatives = healthier body and money saved.
  • Walking, riding or using public transport over driving = healthier body and money saved.
  • Growing your own fruit, vegetables or herbs = healthier body and money saved.

You get the idea. Good for the planet = good for you.

My Country

Thank you Dorothea Mackellar, your beautiful poem My Country was in the front of my mind as I wrote this. It has haunted me from the day I was too upset to read it at my Grandad's funeral as a child. I am glad to take inspiration from it now. It encapsulates Australia perfectly.

Dorothea, who was born in 1885, would be appalled at what we have let our home become. As would my Grandad. Resolve to repair it.

Let 2020 be the year you took action.

Looking for other ways to help? Please donate to the Red Cross to assist with disaster relief and recovery in the aftermath of the devastating Australian fires - may it be over soon.

My country poem by Doretha Mackellar

Let it rain.