We are all in the same boat

We are all in the same boat. This is what the world is telling us. That boat is called Good Ship Climate Chaos.

There is barely anyone in the world today who hasn’t been touched or doesn’t know someone who has been severely impacted by a changing climate. After a devastating 2021 filled with fires and floods, any hope for 2022 sailing calmer waters is dashed. Already this year, extensive flooding has touched the lives of thousands of people on the East Coast of Australia.

As Stormbird Press knows after having been destroyed in the Black Summer fires, climate-change-driven disasters are long-lasting: clean-up missions, repairing property, loss of income, prolonged stress and tension, and deep emotional trauma filled with sadness, depression, frustration and anxiety.

Today we are very sorry to say that another member of our close-knit Stormbird family has been impacted. Donna Mulvenna, our commissioning editor, has witnessed a two-metre wall of flood water completely destroy her sister’s home and business. Leisa Russell, an internationally renowned artist who has walked the red carpet with Australian icons including Sigrid Thornton and Deborah Mailman, and her dog Gidget was dramatically pulled to safety from a window of her house on Monday morning.   

Leisa Russell in her Lismore art gallery

At 4.30am, Leisa phoned to tell me the river’s levy bank hadn’t held,” said Donna. “Less than two hours later, with the Emergency Services completely overwhelmed, she was able to flag down a good Samaritan in a fishing boat who helped her.

If it wasn’t for that fast-thinking person, Leisa would have joined the hundreds of others who became trapped inside their ceilings and on roof tops while dozens of boats continued to drive up and down heavily flooded roads to undertake life-threatening rescues.

Leisa isn’t a stranger to floods. She lives in a flood prone area. Her house was built well above any previous flood level. But the intensity of this flood blindsided everybody.

Flash floods from high intensity rainfall are already Australia’s most expensive disasters, averaging $8.8 billion per year, and this is set to increase, says a recent United Nations report.

Unfortunately, the flood in Lismore proves yet again that Australia’s efforts to adapt to warming are not keeping up with the changes.

Almost half of us are now living in the danger zone of extreme weather events.

The Stormbird Community helped us get through our rebuild after the devastating Black Summer fires. If you would like to help Donna and Leisa in the massive clean-up ahead of them, a GoFundMe page has been set up for this purpose.

To all those currently suffering from the crippling impact of climate chaos, we are with you!

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