In Australia, the year 2020 began with every state and territory in our country alight in the most terrifying of circumstances. Between November 2019 and March 2020, it is estimated 18 million hectares have burned throughout the country. The impact of these fires is far-reaching. From smoke filled cities, towns, beachside communities and beyond, thousands of people had their health compromised due to the heavy levels of smoke penetrating far beyond the areas of the fires, causing anxiety, fear and genuine health concerns. It is estimated that over 1 billion animals were killed, almost 3,000 homes were destroyed and at least 34 people were killed as a direct result of the fires. 

Prior to the bushfires, Australia was already battling growing drought conditions, which undoubtedly added to the ferocity and lethal consequences of the fires that tripped into the drought affected landscape. On the back of the bushfires, Australia, along with the rest of the world, grappled with a pandemic, unlike anything that we have experienced for generations. 

If climate change was a remote, random nightmare before the fires, these events have certainly sharpened the focus of our plight, bringing the reality of our predicament into perfect view. 

How do we respond to what we are seeing and experiencing in relation to our environment? This factsheet provides tips into how manage ecological grief.