episode 3 devastating australian bushfires

Episode #3 – Devastating Australian Bushfires

Today we’re talking about the devastating Australian bushfires and how that is impacting the country.

– There have been fires in every Australian state, but New South Wales has been hardest hit.

Effects:
– 28 people have died (including volunteer firefighters)
>1 billion animals killed
>3,000 homes just in NSW destroyed
– 24 million acres burned since September 2019 (Amazon in 2019 burned 17m acres)

Air Quality:
– Earlier in December, the smoke was so bad in Sydney that air quality measured 11 times the “hazardous” level.
– Smoke is circumnavigating the planet, showing up in South America

Firefighting Effort
– Been going for months
– A state of emergency was declared in three states at some point already (QLD, NSW, Vic) granting additional funding
– Defense Force and Reserves called up to help operational assistance and evacuations
– International firefighters from US, Canada, NZ

Causes:
– One of its worst droughts in decades (Bureau of Meteorology said in December that last spring was the driest on record).
– Heatwave in December breaking records for the highest average temperatures
– 2019 hottest and driest year on record
– Strong winds have also made the fires and smoke spread more rapidly, and have led to fatalities
– Experts say climate change has worsened the scope and impact of natural disasters like fires and floods, weather conditions are growing more extreme, and for years, the fires have been starting earlier in the season and spreading with greater intensity
– Dry lightning (lightning from thunderstorms that don’t produce rain) most prominent cause. Some fires have gotten so large, they create their own weather and lightning further creating more fires

Controversy:
– Disinformation
   – ISIS terrorist plan
   – High speed rail plan
   – China trying to clear path for new cities
   – Climate activists intentionally lighting fires to force action on climate change
   – Greenies fault
      – Hazard reduction burning (difficult due to intense wet and dry seasons, shrinking weather of opportunity, limited resources. Even so, these fires have grown so large that even in places where reduction burns were completed, they’ve just jumped over them) – Greens actually support these policies
   – Arson (not 200 arsonists, but 183 legal actions for fire related offenses. 24 facing criminal charges across 3 months, the rest were less serious, some even for improperly discarding cigarettes, or not following proper procedure with machinery. Keep in mind, there have been thousands of individual fires across the country in this time, so arsonists physically couldn’t have started every fire
– ScoMo holiday in Hawaii
– Government Response
   – Slow, uninspired, lacking in empathy, Scotty from Marketing, refusal to honestly link it to climate change

How are we supposed to feel about this crisis?
– Amazing to see international donations
   – Celeste Barber raised over $46m from 1.3m donors
   – Huge number of independent fundraisers have occured
– $1b raised for cathedral in Paris
– “However, I am uneasy about the surge in overseas celebrities donating enormous amounts of money. I know thy have the best intentions, and once again we should be grateful, but I wonder if there would be as much international generosity if this crisis were happening in a less developed, and let’s be blunt, less white country.” – Geoff Goldrick (Source: The Guardian, Jan 12). 
– “Sadly, many of us have been ashamed to be Australian for far longer than Scott Morrison has been PM (Letters, 6 January), since both parties chose to keep genuine refugees in despair on Manus and Nauru. We’re just catching up with their despair.” – Suzan Piper (Source: The Guardian, Jan 12). 

How you can help:

  • If you’re in Australia, Givit has a list of specific items needed by people and organizations affected by the bushfires.
  • People with emergency response training can sign up to volunteer in Queensland.
  • The World Wildlife Fund is collecting donations to restore habitats for koalas impacted by the fires.
  • You can donate to the Australian Red Cross’s fire recovery and relief fund.

You can also donate directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, the Country Fire Service Foundation in South Australia, and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.

 

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