Australia is witnessing the most monstrous forest fire in decades, which started in July 2019, during the annual ‘fire season’ and it shows no signs of stopping.
According to a report by CNN, 24 people died in the state of New South Wales, and approximately 2,000 houses have been damaged. Australia is always prone to bushfires due to its climate conditions; usually, there are heat waves and dry weather, making a blaze easy in the bushes.
This time was no exception, until the fire gripped the suburban cities, affecting Melbourne and Sydney, with the smoke blanketing the sky and air quality deteriorating; it measured 11 times higher than what is considered a ‘hazardous’ level.
These Australian bushfires are an alarming sign of the changing climatic conditions, to which, many global leaders are indifferent. It seems like only yesterday, that 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg gave her speech at the UN climate summit, on the changing climate condition.
Her campaign, which still continues, was covered worldwide, and people (especially teenagers) came together to support her. However, leaders, be it Trump or Putin, have mocked her and played the politics of hatred around the issue. This depicts how much the administration around the world is worried about climate change, and its dangerous effects on civilians.
According to a report by BBC World, on Australia’s climate change policy, the UN found that “there has been no improvement in Australia’s climate policy since 2017 and emission levels for 2030 are projected to be well above the target.”
In the same report, it mentions that Australia ranks last, among 57 countries in the climate change performance index, and is responsible for 90% of the greenhouse gas emission.
However, recently, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that “Our climate policy settings are to meet and beat the emissions reduction targets” for the 2030 agenda commitment. Australia has targeted to decrease 26-28% of the carbon emissions by 2030, as per the Paris agreement, which has been criticised by many experts, as it is inadequate for the G20 country.
Even though countries should adopt specific policies, and stick to cutting carbon emissions, one should be aware of there responsibilities as a citizen. Many examples of people helping affected animals in Australia circulated on social media platforms, where people were seen helping Koalas and Kangaroos.
The fire affected the wildlife of the region and some reports claim at least a billion animals have been killed, and 30% of Koalas’ habitats have been destroyed. The Koalas and Kangaroos drinking water from bottles, after being rescued, has gone viral on social media.
The Australia wildfire has not only affected the wildlife but also the Australian economy – an insurance claim of A$297 million has been lodge. On the other hand, Sydney’s economy loses as much as $50 million each day due to the toxic hazy weather.
Climate change is the key factor responsible for the fire; and it was noticed by NSW police, that some people deliberately started bushfires, and 24 have been detained in connection with this.
This incident teaches us that people need to be conscious of the worsening effects of climate change. Everyone must give a thought to the apocalypse we are inviting on ourselves and the generations to come. One should take responsibility to tackle the problems of climate change, on an individual level or community level, instead of relying on leaders.
As the quote suggests: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” – Margaret J. Wheatley.