Thursday, 31 January 2013

My Country: Our World

My Country: Our World

‘We are in a tiny town on Tasmania's east coast, Coles Bay, about 3 o'clock from Launceston on the Freycinet Penninsula.

There is only one road in and out. We are surrounded by National Park. The road was closed, and the fires were being driven by a very strong NE wind. They got to about 5kms away, so you can imagine the smoke. Everything was tinder dry after no rain for six weeks, a big build-up of fuel after a wet spring, a 40 degree Celsius day and zero humidity.

As a fire can move quickly, even 25 km per hour we were very close to disaster.  We were on one hour evacuation standby, with the only exit by boat. Fortunately the fire was contained by back burning.

I did say goodbye to the house, but, miraculously no loss of life or property here. South and east of Hobart was a different story, and then it cooled off and the Australian danger moved to Victoria and NSW. You will of course be aware of Coonabarraban.’

I received this email from a friend as I arrived back from a hot and dry Australian Christmas to a wet and cold day in Dublin having flown over the pleasant and serene emerald fields of Ireland. And in the week since my return, floods have once more risen over much of the east coast Australia and huge seas have swept beaches away.

In her iconic poem, My Country, Australian poet, Dorothea McKellar  describes such contrasting environments as follows:

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies –
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

McKellar spoke in the same poem of Australia’s: flood and fire and famine.

And it is true. I have fought a bushfire, had one threaten my home to the point of evacuation, like my friend who describes his plight above, and I have had floodwaters through my home.

Nature throws up different joys and different challenges wherever we choose to live in the world. However, the resilience we show as a people, wherever we are and whatever the challenges, is the same the world over.

And, as the world becomes more ‘connected’, or global, if you like, we are increasingly learning from one another and commonly and often collaboratively, addressing the various challenges that face us'.

The global financial crisis could not have occurred in years past; economies weren’t so connected and interdependent. It used to be the investment mantra that one hedged one’s investments by holding a range of investments in a range of economies around the world. This doesn’t work so well anymore. It used to be that disease could be more or less contained within a region, contained by isolation, geography, lack of movement by populations. Today disease is increasingly global.

Accordingly, global solutions are needed to what are becoming global problems.

With 70 countries represented in our membership and some 8000 individuals and organisations with whom we interact ISQua has a ‘box seat’ when it comes to observing the global safety and quality healthcare scene. We are able to bring this international perspective to bear on all we do to enhance quality and improve safety. ISQua is holding a regional meeting in Ghana this month along with URC and WHO with delegates from some 12 African countries in attendance. Our delegation will bring experts from Europe and North America to share their knowledge with and to learn from these African nations. In April we are meeting with Chinese healthcare leaders where a similar exchange will occur.

So, while nature might still differentiate, giving us the ‘droughts and flooding rains’ of Australia and the cold wet climes of Ireland, for good or for evil and whether we like it or not, otherwise the world now shares pretty much everything. 

No comments:

Post a Comment