“Now, as before the fire, it is a constant shift of focus from wide view to detailed view. The details are just differently focused. How to hold the longer story in view while attending to the immediate. How to be patient and understanding in the face of so many differing emotions, energies and approaches. How to read the land and its critters and respond accordingly.”

– Julie Vulcan January 5th 2020


In Australia, the new year has been ushered in with unprecedented and terrifying bushfires. Millions of lives have been lost and many water- and landscapes ravaged. So much loss. While COMPOSTING Feminisms is still making plans for 2020, let’s gather, now, again: let’s gather, take stock, share care and anger, and discuss what to do.

In this spirit, we invite you to a 2-part emergency COMPOSTING meeting on Friday 17 January:


Led by Dr Blanche Verlie

Despite being explicitly predicted, the bushfire crisis in south eastern Australia is incredibly shocking. Perhaps you experienced the fires firsthand, but even if you didn’t, perhaps you know someone who did, or perhaps you don’t but you have watched the traumatic news coverage for hours. These fires epitomise the fears many of us hold about a changing climate and can affect us in many ways. This short workshop is intended as a space where you can come along and take some time to think about how the fires have affected you, and begin to process and respond to them. You won’t have to share anything with anyone if you don’t want to but you will be welcome to. The workshop will be facilitated by Blanche Verlie whose research and teaching explores and responds to people’s emotional experiences of climate change. It is not a substitute for professional psychological support, but will hopefully help you begin to, or continue to, manage the challenging emotions that climate change and disasters can create. You don’t need to do anything to prepare or to bring anything, and everyone is welcome. Please let Blanche know if you intend to come via

Where: Seminar Room S226 in John Woolley Building, University of Sydney
When: 10am – 12 pm, Friday 17th January


During this session we will share ideas for rebuilding our worlds. All ideas welcome! We will bring butcher’s paper, textas, and other craft supplies; we will share ideas for fundraisers and direct actions; we will think about how we – artists, activists, scholars, community members – can contribute to addressing how we got here, and building other kinds of futures.


BYOM (bring your own mug) and we will have tea and snacks. Brings snacks to share. Bring your knitting. Bring your sketch book. It’s time to get free.


Since this is a reading group, afterall, we invite you to read through any of the below for ideas, inspire, and action – this is just a short selection of all the many things we are reading. These readings can be touchstones for our discussions.

Blanche Verlie, Now Australian Cities are Choking on Smoke

Brigid Delaney, The Apocalyptic Australian Summer is our Sandy Hook moment

Dany Celermajer, The tragedy of two Australias: A lament for New Year’s Eve and Omnicide: Who is responsible for the gravest of all crimes?

Sophie Chao, A World of Ashes

As well as this, written almost a decade ago now:

Alexis Wright, Deep Weather

or just under a year ago: Alexis Wright, We all smell the smoke, we all feel the heat

And finally, perhaps we could revisit the poem we read at our COMPOSTING meeting in Brisbane in December 2019:

Audre Lorde, A Litany for Survival

Where: Seminar Room S226 in John Woolley Building, University of Sydney
When: 1 pm – 3 pm, Friday 17th January


This is a Sydney-based meet-up. If you want us to organise a similar meeting over ZOOM, let us know and we will do that too!


Image by: Julie Vulcan, before and after the fires at her home. As many of you know Julie is a longstanding contributor to Composting Feminisms and has given so much to this group, so on Friday let’s also talk about what we can do for her, for the land and multispecies communities that inhabit this land.



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