Since September 2019, in Southeast Australia, there are a total of 146 fires burning across the state. The fires have been so intense that Victoria has declared a state of disaster, and New South Wales has declared a state of emergency, which allows them additional government aid to tackle the fires. In addition, Australians currently living in the state have been pleading for help on social media with pictures of blazing orange skies, and animals clinging for their life (there is an estimate of half a billion animals gone). And Australians are trying to evacuate while fighting to save their homes.
As mentioned earlier, these bushfires have been going on since September. So, why are we just hearing about it now? Last April, senior emergency leaders from each Australian state tried to warn the government that climate change was going to increase bushfires in a way that they could not contain. But the government dismissed these warnings, and the people of Australia are now suffering from these consequences. With the increasing threat posed by climate change, we cannot keep ignoring the warnings of harm to the planet. How many states of emergency must be declared before world leaders learn to believe that climate change cannot be ignored? The sad realization of why people and leaders don’t support climate change is that they will not care unless it is affecting them. Because if it is not affecting them directly, why should they care? A solution to increase awareness is by first recognizing the long term effect of ignoring climate change, which is extinction. Even just a one-degree Celsius rise in the planet’s temperature increases the extreme of putting lives at risk, which is why the raging bushfires have been out of control.
Currently, we can help manage the crisis by supporting emergency services to respond to these climate emergencies. As well as treating this crisis as the climate change emergency it is. To prevent the worsening of this crisis, as well as further bushfires, we can start decreasing our carbon footprint by reducing the burning of fossil fuels. Some ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are to recycle, take public transport instead of driving, reduce electricity usage by switching off lights and unplugging, plant trees, and encourage your peers to do the same! In this day and age, renewable energy should no longer be an option when we know it can contribute to a thriving society, in which we put people ahead of profits.