Australia’s burning, here’s what you need to know

28 deaths and thousands of homes damaged as Australia continues to battle wildfires

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Australia’s burning, here’s what you need to know

Fires terrorize Australia, causing severe damage and trauma

Fires terrorize Australia, causing severe damage and trauma

Courtesy of Google Creative Commons

Fires terrorize Australia, causing severe damage and trauma

Courtesy of Google Creative Commons

Courtesy of Google Creative Commons

Fires terrorize Australia, causing severe damage and trauma

Nicole Campbell, Contributing Writer

What started as a series of typical bush fires for Australia has turned into a month long wildfire, spreading over six million hectares. The fires started Sept. 2019 and are expected to continue burning for weeks or months to come. Bush and grass fires are typical during the summer months of December through February, but recent droughts have worsened the situation. 

These fires have caused 28 casualties and thousands of homes and establishments have been destroyed. The wildlife in Australia has also been devastatingly affected. Over half a billion plants and animals have been killed and more are starving or dealing with severe burns. On Jan. 12 the government dropped 4,000 pounds of food from helicopters, in an attempt to help feed the animals. Still, the drastic loss of animals as well as their habitats will have a great effect on Australia’s ecosystem and environment that could take many years to recover from. The process of succession after the massive burning of trees and plants could take thousands of years to complete. Rebuilding will be a long and tough process to go through as well. As of right now, the plan is to stop the fires, which are still at large.  

 However, many people are displeased with how the government is handling the situation. Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has been ridiculed for overlooking the seriousness of the situation. While people were suffering in December, he went on family vacation, causing much controversy among citizens. There have been protests in Sydney to spread awareness about climate change, despite the government evading the topic of climate change and failing to make conscious decisions to acknowledge it. Last year, Australia had record high carbon emissions, which are profoundly damaging to the environment, and a big factor to climate change. Protesters urge politicians to slowly stop the usage of fossil fuels, which is unlikely, because the economy relies heavily on fossil fuels such as coal. The government ignoring the root of the cause is not helping the issue at hand and only further damaging the ecosystem and the lives of their people and wildlife. 

Many celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Ellen Degeneres, and Leonardo Dicaprio have been making donations and working to help and spread awareness. Many social media influencers and others with platforms have been using them to encourage those who can to help as well as help spread more knowledge about what is happening.  

High school students can play their part by educating themselves on what’s happening and being aware. If they have family or friends living in Australia, see if they are able to volunteer and encourage them to do their own research about how to help their country. Signing petitions to aid Australia’s firefighters, residents and animals would be another way to help. Australia’s emergency is not getting any better, this will affect the country for many years to come, from rebuilding all that was destroyed to dealing with the extensive loss of animals and greenery and waiting for the smoke to clear. This doesn’t just affect Australia, the smoke will spread around the world, causing pollution and potential health hazards. So, help in any form is appreciated.

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