I posted a photo yesterday that briefly touched on one of the most pressing difficulties that I, and the rest of not only my generation but surrounding ones are dealing with right now: media fatigue. I knew I wanted to address this topic in a more extensive way, and discuss not only the issues at hand but put forth some potential resolutions that I, and we, can hopefully work towards as a community.
Firstly, what is media fatigue? I would define it as the incredible overwhelm felt by many due to high amounts of content we consume constantly via social media and various other news outlets. The news notifications we all receive most pressingly usually contain bad news. Or, on the other hand, media that is NOT as important is pushed at us to deter our attention away from real issues. I feel as though this brings me to my point: the state of the beautiful country Australia. I feel concerned in both the lack of attention towards this issue as well as doubt that surrounds the donation sites; for, how can we ever trust the information to be true? What if I donate and it makes no difference? Or worse, goes to someone that spends it selfishly?
Furthermore, I do not have the money nor resources to make the kind of impact needed to make a dent in the debt that has already built up to fight these fires. I barely have enough to keep my own self afloat - however, I have donated what I can, and plan to continue opening dialogues via social media outlets to hopefully bring about more widespread awareness. Now, I know what you are thinking, because I often think the same thing! How does a social media post, or a blog post, or any kind of writing about an issue really make a difference? Aren't you just being annoying or trendy or wasting your time? Guys, I'm not gonna lie. I totally have made these snap judgments before! It is so ridiculous and unfair! I don't have funds, I don't have influence, but I do have an ability to write at least with some sense of coherency, so I wish to use that to express my feelings. And truth be told, I feel the fear and the overwhelm of these events, and I live an ocean away.
Now, I know that this is one of many tragedies that is happening in the world right now. But it is safe to say that my heart is breaking for every single living thing that has been hurt in the face of these fires. It is very easy to stand by and be apathetic. If you deem that the appropriate response for yourself I send you no judgment but only love. I do however challenge you to consider something that is almost too cliche to include, and that is the recommendation to put yourself in the shoes of an Australian right now. Whether it be a firefighter, a medic, a volunteer, a zoologist, a parent, a child, a mother, a father, a grandparent, or a nineteen year old girl writing a blog post begging for someone in power to please pay attention. This earth is the only home we have, at least in this dimension and existence. We all need to make a more conscious effort to stay awake, stay aware, and fight apathy.
Our blank faced stares have become the norm in terms of reaction to tragedy. It is very easy to place a wall between us and reality, because one has been built via blue-light screen. It is an important distinction to make when consuming real-life information through this medium, because real-life information requires a real-life response. Which is hard to muster when your brain is plugged in to a virtual reality of sorts. What I mean is, though the amount of terrible events is seemingly high, we cannot allow apathy to win out. If we do, who will be left fighting the fights on this level? Many say that we do not have a say in matters this large, and that may be reasonable to a degree, but I do not agree. If we continue to sit back and allow things to happen to our own fellow humans without any attempts for change, soon that will be the new normal. It will become the baseline for existence. You may think this is over-dramatic but it is not. We are all stuck in the human condition together, let us not forget that. Every person, animal, and even plant is here in the same conditions that we are. I will not let myself stay quiet or unfazed because that's just "how it is."
I may not be able to save anyone or anything in Australia. I know that. But I can at the very least become more informed, educated, and aware going forward in my life. I believe in the power of thought, and that is the only power I have in the present moment.
In my bed I have a stuffed animal koala that I have had since I was a child. I still to this day take a great deal of comfort in cuddling with this precious koala. You want to know why? Because it is a constant reminder of my to-this-day bucket list item: to visit Australia and be able to interact with real koalas and other beautiful animal inhabitants that are particular to the area. I cannot tell you in words or other medium form how much my heart aches for the people I cannot help. It truly does. All I can do is create conversation and pray for comfort to the hurting. The rest will come. We must not abandon nor overlook the age old word: hope.
Information about credible places to donate and learn more about Australia:
*There is also a donation page on Australia's .gov website that is specific to firefighters, which goes directly to the firefighters.