This image held up such a mirror for me, it’s like the images playing through my mind of my own home, how the still life of preciously placed things would have been hungrily consumed by the fire. And how easily your home sanctuary can be reduced to rubble and ash. And now hundreds and hundreds of others are homeless like us, more climate change refugees, and yet most don’t have the same support system we do. Climate change is….more drought and more fires and extreme weather. Sound like Cape Town right now? Argus cancelled, normal is over. And climate change effects the most vulnerable first. It is NOT okay that people are living in homes that are so susceptible to extreme weather and fires with infrastructure that doesn’t allow emergency vehicles easy access. It’s just not okay. And yes our beloved government should be doing more to change this, but in truth we all need to question what part we play in it. The wealth of a few still rides on the poverty of many, the salaries of most people in this country are completely ridiculous and enable a lifestyle for some that is not possible for all. And while all the donations flooding into Hout Bay are really helpful right now and will make the fire victims lives more liveable at this moment, there is deep systemic change that needs to come from all us to ensure these tragedies don’t keep happening. Everybody should have the right to the means to build a climate resilient home. And we all need to take responsibility and make better choices so we can turn this beast called climate change around. Normal is so over.
Rhian Berning, March 2017
Photo copyright Sullivan Photography