A red light to the world

A red light to the world

A personal take by A Rocha UK’s CEO, Andy Atkins, who spent his childhood in far north Queensland and returned at the height of last year’s bushfires.

I woke feeling refreshed. From the pleasant smoky smell my first thought was that my wife was cooking bacon and eggs for our breakfast. Then I realised she was sound asleep beside me, it was pitch black outside and, according to my phone, 2 am in the morning. It was November 19. We had arrived in Sydney from the UK about 18 hours earlier and my body clock was upside down. But what on earth was that smell?

I stood on the roof terrace of our AirBnB apartment and looked about; but instead of lights twinkling around the iconic harbour, I could see – nothing. We seemed to be enveloped in a thick fog reminiscent of a wet British winter; yet this was summer in Australia – not at all how I remembered it from childhood. Then the penny dropped. It wasn’t fog but smoke. The smell was not wood-smoked bacon but the actual forests of Australia g...

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