15 Jan Australian Bushfires and Climate Change – A Relationship We Cannot Ignore
Image Source – Reuters
From military evacuations, ringing in the New Years with red skies and extreme loss; loss of homes, loss of land, loss of lives- animal and human- the devastation that the Australian bushfires have caused this season so far is catastrophic and horrifying. Australian’s are no stranger to bushfire season, but fires like these are unprecedented.
Getting these fires under control and dealing with the current carnage is the main objective but as Australia burns, the glaring consequence of inaction on climate change is staring us in the face. In statistics reported by The Guardian* and 1Million Women*,since July the 1st over 5 million hectares of land has succumbed to the fires, 27 people have died with more still missing, and it is estimated that over 1 Billion animals have perished.
It is important to note as well, that fire season can last all the way up to April and due to overall rising temperatures, experts fear it may only get worse from here.
Bushfires and Climate Change
As the fires burn and communities that have lost everything are scrambling to put their lives together, residents of the smoke covered cities are banding together to demand action.
While we cannot blame climate change for the bushfires, as this is something that has also been part of the Australian environment, the effects of climate change are being felt throughout the land and inaction is taking its toll.
The burning of coal, oil and gas is driving up global temperatures, leading to hotter Australian conditions. Since the mid-1990s, southeast Australia has experienced a 15% decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall and a 25% decline in average rainfall in April and May. Across Australia average temperature has increased leading to more record breaking hot weather. Extreme fire danger days have increased.
So How Can You Help?
What Australian is crying out for right now is relief. While donations of food and clothes are accepted, monetary donations are preferred as it allows charities and organisations to use the money how and where it is needed.
Organisations/Charities taking monetary donations are:
– Disaster relief organisations like the Red Cross are on the ground when disaster strikes, running evacuation centres, providing emergency grants and access to resources for those affected. You can donate through the link below.
– A donation to a fire service, whether it be NSW, Victoria or another state, would also go along way. Run mainly by volunteers, rural fire services are underfunded and in this devastating time, are overworked and lacking in resources. Look up your states rural fire service to see how you can donate today.
-While larger organisations and charities have a lot of donations coming in, considering donating to a smaller organisation. Specific organisations and fundraising can help in a more direct and grassroots way. Fundraising for First Nation’s People displaced by the fires, animal and wildlife charities and specific community-based charities are on the ground providing direct action as well.
Hotter and drier summers have led to conditions that are conducive to catastrophic fire risk, with warnings coming out as early as November 2019. It is time as policymakers, companies and citizens to really start taking climate change seriously and every little bit helps.
From rallying for change by writing to your members of parliament to implementing sustainable living practises at home; every little bit counts towards reversing the damage that has been done to our planet.
Aside from donating for immediate relief, this is where climate action and preventative measures should be put in place. Getting involved politically by voting or campaigning to your local members of parliament, voting with your dollars by only using companies that promote sustainability and eco-friendly practices as well as making sustainable living a habit in your home are just some ways you can take action on climate change.