Since massive wildfires began burning in eastern Australia in September, 24 people have been killed, thousands of homes have vanished in flames, and almost 25 million acres have burned.
It is estimated that a billion animals have lost their lives. This enormous loss is tragic not only because koalas, cockatoos, bees, wombats, butterflies, blue wrens, kangaroos, and tiny endangered mouselike dunnarts have died, but also because many of these species are found nowhere else in the world. Their death has made the threat of extinction even more immediate and alarming.
And yet, even as we try to hold this reality in our brains and this immense sadness in our hearts, we can also gasp in astonishment at how quickly the Earth rallies.
Glenn Albrecht, the renowned philosopher, activist, and author of Earth Emotions, who coined the term solastalgia, the pain one feels when the place where one lives and that one loves is under assault, lives in New South Wales, one of the states hardest hit by the fires. On January 17, he posted the photo above and message on Facebook:
I cannot declare our drought over yet as only 20mm has fallen and the ground is wet for only a centimetre or so. However, life returns very fast in some areas. The rock flows were barren only days ago, now moss and lichen create new mini-landscapes.
We are honored that Glenn has long been a friend of Radical Joy for Hard Times and has participated in the Global Earth Exchange every year. His message reminds us that, as we face the crisis of climate change and its repercussions, we must be opening to finding and making beauty wherever and whenever we can. Otherwise, how can we possibly stay sane?

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

Image Credit:

  • Albrecht Land: Glenn Albrecht: Antipodean Notes (Facebook)

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