Focus – Fireworks and Farmers!

I’ve been noticing that in our local community newspapers, school newsletters and on our community Facebook page there has been a general call out for fundraiser committee members and sponsors.  As the new year begins, so do the new round of Fete & Fair organising committee meetings.  My thoughts immediately returned to a debate that has been going on here in Australia since New Years Eve celebrations shared the news with a continuing crippling drought on New Years Day.  I’m sure the discussion was happening before that, but maybe I wasn’t aware of it.

“This county is in another year of drought. Many of the farmers who put food on your table and clothes on your back are facing losing everything. Some have been farming for generations. Their struggle is manifesting in despair, depression, suicide, poverty and worse. In many cases all they can do is watch the sky in desperation as their crops don’t take and their livestock perish, while they remain powerless. How can we sit back on New Year’s Eve and watch millions of dollars literally go up in smoke for a few minutes of our viewing pleasure when this money could do so much toward helping these farmers, the backbone of our county, live to fight another day?”

These are the words of the founder of the petition on change.org  Lisa Nicholls – Donate Australia’s New Year’s Eve fireworks money to our struggling farmers.

Drought

“Watching the news this morning of “The best fireworks ever” for each capital city, 10tons of fireworks in Brisbane, over $7mill in Sydney, god knows how much in Melbourne and Adelaide….. Well people I hope you enjoyed them while these poor bastards watched their mates and babies die as there is no feed…. Money could have been much better spent in 1-2 mins of fireworks(not 16mins in Sydney alone) and the rest donated to struggling farmers in drought and fire effected areas.”

And these words by Jo Morgan have been shared on Facebook more than 26,795 times since she posted them on New Years Day.

The words above are just two of many opinions expressed in the newspapers and on social media.  Many readers will know of my feelings and thoughts about our farmers from my previous post Breaking The Drought With a Net!  Once again, my heart bleeds … surely we need to give this issue of fireworks and farmers,  our full attention.

side-show1

Imagine –  every fair, fete or celebration organising committee could be heroes, if they donated the money spent on fireworks, to the backbone of our land!  What a great lesson for our children!  A lesson of care for and connection and solidarity with those suffering in our own backyard.  By announcing why there were no fireworks (or less if none is too hard), at your event, what great publicity for Sponsors!

The possibilities  for connection between schools, communities, churches and businesses and the families on the land are endless.

Adult hands underneath child's hands holding gold coins

Thoughts?

 

 

Mandy

Hi, I'm Mandy! Wandering my way through life using words. Family and friends. Connection and community. I care. I write. I share. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and if you'd like receive updates via email please click HERE.

2 Comments
  1. It has been my observation in life Mandy, that giving is something we do out of our what is left rather than from our very beginning in a budgeting process when priorities are set. I have listened to lots of people over the years trying to change those priorities in others through words that speak guilt and fear at the listener.

    I tend to give to that which i am passionate about or love. So what if this became the extension of a love story for ourselves and others. We learn about the ones we love. We act with respect toward them and consider their needs. What if we love our landscape and all that it is, not just the beaches and cities? What if it is simply something we do out of love because it is right and not to be a hero and save someone, but simply out of respect for their need?

    The people who are most outraged by the cost of the fireworks have obviously felt the injustice, but why do others have to spend their money a certain way if we as individuals do not. I don’t get to judge the person who paid for the fireworks. Perhaps they give or gave a similar sum of money to help the drought. The question is only what can i do. Others will do that which they want. It is the way of things. What i know is that if you want others to give up the money it should already be coming out of your own pocket. It is too easy to want to tell others how to do charity and feel righteous about the words, when charity, all it is personal responsiblity, love that is an action, a thought in deed.

    My thoughts on the fireworks. They are done now so it doesn’t matter what could have been. Joy and celebration are needed for the farmers and families living in drought too. Maybe it is taking our hands and hearts and working a weekend for them to help mend fences etc. Maybe it is listening, and maybe it is buying a bale of hay a week like we would buy loaves of bread…. we will always have money for fireworks in the same way we will always have money for that nail appointment because we want it. So could it be about both? Making hay a necessity means an every week expense that is a given. Making celebration maybe measured int he joy and inspiration it brings rather than dollars like we measure all worth cynically in our society. Maybe…. it could be that simple.

    hmmmmmm maybe we could tell the stories of the farmers rather than fireworks.

  2. Sandy, thanks so much for your thoughtful observations on my post.

    I agree with many of your points, but wouldn’t it be nice to think that giving could be something we prioritise in our planning and budgeting processes? Unfortunately, I agree that we mostly, give to things that we are passionate about or have been affected by or love but in my opinion, if we wait for everyone to join us – it will be way too late for our farming families and their plight. Our farmers and their hell, already affects us – everyone of us! So, maybe we need to be talking and thinking and doing more, by direction?

    Maybe online discussions on social media will come up with a solution? It may not be the end of fireworks but something else. I’m sure I remember the laws surrounding the mass release of balloons at sporting functions, like the AFL Grand Final, were changed, due to a young girl bringing to attention the dangers to wildlife a few years ago.

    Discussion at any level – online, one on one, in committee meetings, in the classroom or in the home – can only be good!

    And yes, the New Year fireworks are done for 2015/16 – but my point was that the “other” firework celebrations are being organised now. I am sorry if you felt that my suggestion, of having a discussion about alternatives, is a way of pouring guilt and fear at the listeners. This was not my intent.

    Finally, I will never see the lives of our farmers as doing charity! Surely, it is as you say, a personal responsibility but in my mind it is more than that … it is a community responsibility and one that needs the community to stand together, in as many different ways as necessary to solve the crisis!

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