Australia on Fire

Stephanie Antonio, Staff Writer

 

27 million acres. 3,000 homes. 31 lives. The deadly months-long wildfire currently consuming Australia has claimed 12.35 acres, 3,000 homes, and 31 lives, and blackened an area nearly the size of Portugal. 

 

Currently, the fire is mostly contained. However, several other places in the states of New South Wales and Victoria are still burning out of control. And with the windy weather coming up soon, conditions are likely to only get worse. 

 

But, how did these fires occur in the first place? 

 

A majority of the Australian fires have been immediately caused by lightning strikes. However, many believe that climate change has played a role in the severity and longevity of these fires. While many argue that climate change has played no part in the current nationwide drought, it has been proven that warming temperatures has at least worsened the situation. 

 

Despite this, the Australian government has rejected demands to take stronger steps to curb Carbon Dioxide emissions, regardless of strong criticism from the citizens of Australia. Because Australia relies heavily on the coal industry (it being one of the country’s biggest export earners) these steps towards reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions are not likely to occur anytime soon. 

 

This devastating consequences this disaster are not just limited to humans, staggering estimates ranging from 480 million to 1.25 billion animals are believed to have perished in these fires. Also concerning is the fact that Australia is home to some of the world’s highest biodiversity, with many animals who were already endangered before the fires began. 

 

Other efforts have been made to help Australian citizens including a $1.4 billion recovery fund meant to provide aid. Additionally, many nations around the world such as America have pledged volunteers to help fight these fires. 

 

These fires have shown the true severity of Climate Change, and although they have been other factors that led to this natural disaster, Australian’s position on climate change will hurt their ability to combat events like this in the future. Other nations around the world must look to Australia to see why climate change reforms have become an absolute necessity.