A week into 2020 and many fear the future

THE very first week of 2020 is done and dusted and parents everywhere are wondering what is coming next.

During the celebratory atmosphere of the festive season, it usually seems like anything is possible but many will be suffering New Year regret by now, having already broken their New Year's resolutions.

This year there was something else to feel bad about.

The promise of a brand new year for many Australians was tinged with sorrow, considering much of the country was burning, firefighters were putting their lives on the line and thousands of people were forced to seek refuge from advancing fires by gathering on beaches.

It was all over our TV and computer screens, apocalyptic scenes of red skies, toppled fire trucks and exhausted firefighters.

For Queenslanders, the devastation impacting communities along the east coast in NSW and Victoria was familiar, with many cognisant of the noise, heat and fear that comes with an out-of-control bushfire.

Australia is in the midst of what experts are calling the worst bushfire season ever before seen, and while some argue that it is part and parcel of living in Australia, others are convinced that climate change effects herald the beginning of the new normal.

Citizens who are not struggling to survive or figure out how to recover from the fires are wondering if they can ever be certain of a safe future and worrying that their town could be next.

For many regional and rural Queenslanders 2019 was a year of dealing with the impacts of a devastating drought, which devastated the farmers who grow our food. This year more communities face formal water restrictions, so 2020 might be the year a dusty car or dirty driveway becomes a badge of civic responsibility.

Many insist we are victims of politicians, mining companies and Mother Nature herself. Some have even placed the blame squarely on our willingness to accept same sex marriage and abortion laws.

One thing front and centre of the bushfire crisis has been the Aussie spirit of mateship and resilience, with neighbours and volunteers rushing in to help even in the most dangerous of circumstances.

But if we accept that the situation we are facing is far from normal, we should all consider what we can learn from this brutal summer and how we can ditch complacency to minimise the chances of more to come.