Born in the ice age, humankind now faces the age of fire – and Australia is on the frontline | Tom Griffiths


The bushfires and the plague are symptoms of something momentous unfolding on Earth – an acceleration of our impact on nature

  • This is part of a series of essays by Australian writers responding to the challenges of 2020

What has been the most shocking event of 2020? Was it awakening on New Year’s Day to more news of terror in Australia’s southern forests, to the realisation that the future was suddenly here, that this spring and summer of relentless bushfire was a planetary event? Was it the silent transmission of Covid-19, already on the loose and soon to overwhelm the world and change the very fabric of daily life everywhere at once? Or was it the surging race riots and protests, especially across America, where police brutality triggered grief, anger and outrage about the inequality and injustice still faced by black people? Could we even distinguish them from each other, this overlapping sequence of horrors?

Related: The great unravelling: ‘I never thought I’d live to see the horror of planetary collapse’ | Joelle Gergis

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