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What Are The Four Deadly Forest Fires Of 2019 And 2020?

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The aftermath of widespread fires can trigger climate change by leading to erosion, heavy flood, landslides, loss of vegetation and water shortage.

Wildfire has now become a common phenomenon. Every year we hear about this manmade or natural disaster that signifies to us the urgency of climate change. We should consider this alarming situation and start working on it, if not, then we all know the future of the planet earth is extinction. The cause behind half of the forest fires remains unanswered while the other half is because of natural and manmade reasons. Natural causes include lightning, wild bushes, leaves and some trees can also lead to the fire. On the other hand, man-made disasters are mainly due to fuel leakages, smoke, sparks from machines and vehicles, campfires, fireworks, and so on.

Did you know that the vastness of forest fires is more when it is generated by human-made causes than the natural ones? The aftermath of the widespread fires can trigger climate change by leading to erosion, heavy flood, landslides, loss of vegetation and water shortage. Also, the death of animals pushing so many species to the verge of extinction and loss of human lives and homes are problems that take a substantial time to deal with.

Now let us take a look at the wildfires around the world in the last two years. More than 10 major forest fires have been reported in the past couple of years, including the catastrophic forest fire in the Amazon rainforest, Brazil. Here we discuss the four major forest fires of the twenty-first century.

Amazon Rainforest Fire 2019

Last year’s tropical dry season came with deadly forest fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Last year’s tropical dry season came with deadly forest fires in the Amazon rainforest, a huge part of which is located in the territory of Brazil. Home to several million species of insects and animals, the Amazon is considered the lungs of the earth for its abundant vegetation and biodiversity. Human activities for exploitation are banned in the region but alleged reports of violations are often found. The rainforest faces a forever threat during the tropical dry seasons as it has a high probability of leading to forest fires. However, the reason behind the 2019 Amazon wildfires is widespread deforestation. The inactive disaster management process led by the Brazilian government added to the problem.  Forestlands of hectares were on fires, killing the vegetation of the rainforest. Anyway, plants are grown by indigenous communities with the support of governments and international organisations.

Australia Bushfire 2019-20

In the years 2019 and 2020, Australia had faced a series of wildfires during the bushfire season widely known as the black Summer. The country has a vast forest area and is the habitat for various animal species. Climate change is considered the reason behind the bushfire spread by several environmentalists and they demanded the Australian government to take immediate measures to tackle the crisis.

However, the common understanding of the cause is that the bushfire happened because of lighting in isolated dry areas and then spread to other parts of the country. A further result of the bushfire disaster was severe health issues for humans like asthma and lung problems, death of animals, and loss of vegetation. This makes it clear how important it is to keep the vegetation and keep up with the reforestation.

Siberian Wildfire 2019

Starting in July 2019, the Siberian wildfire had spread to more than two million hectares of land and is one of the biggest fires of the decade causing the loss of a large area of forest. Also, the fire caused a spike in air pollution due to the smoke in all those affected areas including big cities. Greenpeace International had reported that the fire started due to some campfires held near river banks. At the same time, some other studies had a different finding: they said that the wildfire was caused by lightning.

It has been said that this forest fire has long-term effects on the environment. Erosion, loss of forestry and a high amount of greenhouse gas emissions are some of the consequences of the wildfire. Hectares of lands, forests and human residence were lost and thousands of people were displaced.

The Siberian wildfire had spread to more than 2 million hectares of land.

California Wildfires 2020

In the year 2020, California faced the largest forest fire in history, burning millions of acres of land. The wildfire displaced a huge number of people and caused a temporary mass migration. This wildland fire is mainly due to climate change and suppression of fires for a considerably long time. Ashes and smoke from the fire are spreading toxic air in the area and increasing air pollution to an immeasurable level. A plethora of homes have been destroyed by fire; animals, trees and other species have been affected too. Also, human health is at risk ,both short term and long term.

Climate change is the real reason behind wildland fires and it is urging us to take action to fight for a better environment. Increased dryness and drought, which are some common reasons behind the fires, can be stopped to an extent by planting trees and saving water, thereby we can prevent air pollution, health issues, and the threat of extinction of the entire living beings.

About the author: Nivya Jayan is a passionate writer and graduate in economics. She is a reader for life and interested in politics and diplomacy.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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