The Australian Bushfires, Climate Change and What We Can Do About It
The Australian Bushfires,
Climate Change and What We Can Do About It
Over the past weeks and months, the world has watched one of the most horrific natural disasters that has been recorded in modern history – the Australian bushfires. Largely due to it has devastated the lives of thousands of Australians and destroyed the beautiful and unique flora and fauna of this great continent and country. As of this date
- 24 people have lost their lives with this number expected to rise
- 2000 homes have been lost
- an estimated 480 million animals have been killed (some sources that are reporting over a billion) including 1/3 of the koala population with the possible extinction of certain species
- around 12 million acres of land have been burned
For me, Australia is a very special place. I lived there for the majority of my 20’s and I consider it my second home. Australia has such a beautiful landscape – unbelievable coastlines, the best beaches in the world (in my opinion), incredible, lush forests that I have spent a lot of time in not to mention some of the most interesting and charismatic animals on the planet. And it’s all burning.
Watching this exquisite part of the world fall victim to rampant flames,largly escalated by climate change, while the true heroes of Australia, the Australian Fire Brigade, fight this seemingly impossible fight of fire, day in and day out is absolutely heartbreaking. The feeling of helplessness throughout the globe is obvious, with many people donating what they can to assist with the fires; we have no choice but to truly come together to support Australia in this time of need.
The donations and volunteer efforts are generous and effective for now. Click here for a list of organizations and please donate what you can. Australia is in desperate need of assistance now and after the bush fires eventually cease. However, what we really need is to comprehend the reason why these fires got so out of control and understand what we can do to prevent such devastation to our planet in future.
Quick Facts about Climate Change
- Our summers will continue to get warmer globally. This will perpetuate the hot, dry conditions that create and fuel wildfires.
- Our winters will continue to get warmer globally, creating a rise in sea levels which has devastating effects on wildlife and their habitats, increases the severity of typhoons and will force people to move inland and off islands entirely, as continents lose mass.
Check out this interactive map of the projection of land loss by 2050. Is your city still there? Mine isn’t.
- Wildlife populations have decreased by 60% in the past 40 years.
- 66% of the natural disasters in the past 20 years have been mad made and completely preventable.
- Scientists believe if we continue in this manner, we will reach a human existential crisis by the year 2050.
These are just a few of the devastating facts. I if you would like to learn more check out this article from NASA.
Climate Change is scientifically indisputably man-made and collectively we are the only ones that can reverse its effects.
What are the biggest contributors to climate change?
According to the European Commission, the main contributor of climate change is the emission of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. CO2 is the most common man-made greenhouse gas and is attributed to 64% of global warming. There is currently 40% more CO2 in the air than the start of the industrial revolution.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency the greatest global contributors of emissions are:
Electricity and Heat Production – 25%
The combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, to produce electricity contribute to the second largest portion of CO2 emissions.
What can you do?
- Switch to a Green Energy Provider
- Here is a good article on energy providers. There are different providers for different countries and regions so you will have to do a little research.
- Petition your government to demand cleaner energy sources.
Agriculture – 24%
This includes crop and livestock production for food and deforestation.
What can you do?
- Eat Green. The less meat and the more fruits and vegetables you eat the better for the environment. There is mounting evidence that if you eat green your health will be affected in a positive way.
- Reduce single-use products.
- Go paperless in the office.
- Only use recycled paper products and then recycle again.
- Reduce, re-use, recycle and repurpose.
- Use less plastic.
Industrial – 21%
Manufacturing contributes to a large amount of emissions. From burning fuel and fossil fuels to create electricity, power and heat to the chemical reactions required to create plastic.
What can you do?
- Buy less stuff! Only purchase the necessities.
- Don’t use plastic.
- Lobby the government and large organizations about the materials used to produce goods and services. Does everything in the grocery store really need to be wrapped in plastic?
Commercial and Residential – 12%
This includes the fuels we need to provide electricity and heat to residential and commercial structures.
What can you do?
- Turn off lights and unplug appliances when not needed.
- Properly insulate your house.
- Turn down the heat when it’s not needed, reducing the thermostat but a couple of degrees can make a big difference over time and you’re unlikely to feel a difference.
Transportation – 14%
Cars, trucks, trains, ships, airplanes, and other vehicles contribute a large amount of these emissions.
What Can You Do?
- Travel by foot, by bike or by public transit instead of your vehicle. Great for the environment, your wallet and waistline!
- Sign up for a car-sharing service.
- Take fewer flights and take the train when possible.
We need to make a change now, before it’s too late!
Given the state of our planet, with natural disasters increasing and future projection looking incredibly bleak, there is no reason we all can’t make some of these simple changes. Think of the future of youth and where we might leave the next generation if action isn’t taken now. Most of us desperately need to do better, I certainly know I do. If we all make the effort to play our part to help the environment, the future will look a lot brighter and we won’t have to watch hopelessly as disasters like the Australian Bush Fires engulf the beautiful planet upon which we reside.
What changes will you make to do your part for the environment? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!