Our bushfire crisis

A smokey city

The bushfires ravaging Australia are beyond catastrophic.

A significant portion of the country is on fire and the Australian community is rallying together to do what we can. Whether it’s donating food, money or helping out in the devastated regions, there are a lot of people out there striving to make a difference.

On Tuesday 6th January I went to work in Melbourne CBD and as soon as I stepped off the train, I was hit by the coat of smoke that covered the city. I walked through it on my way to work, and on my lunch break I watched a violinist play passionately, with an almost colourless backdrop. As the afternoon went on, I noticed the cloud of smoke gathering around my building, slowly closing us in.

The people

Firefighters and residents alike are experiencing the trauma first-hand. These people are in the front line, defending their land against notorious flames. Firefighters from all over have come together to save our soil.

After learning from the unfortunate events of Black Saturday back in 2009, residents seem to understand the severity of these fires and the likelihood of beating them. People are being told to evacuate, it is not safe to stay, and, in most cases, they are doing just that.

The animals

The loss of native Australian fauna is absolutely devastating. Our koala population has reduced to 5%, which leaves me lost for words. The animals have a very low chance of survival, and those that have been burned are likely to be euthanised. There are not enough resources to cope.

I saw a headline about the Mallacoota fires recently, that described the events of December 30, the sound the koalas made as they burned. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought of these beautiful creatures suffering.

The rest of Australia

If you can donate, please do – places like the Red Cross and the CFA need as much support as they can get. You can also donate directly to the World Wildlife Foundation – Australia, where proceeds will be put towards re-homing animals affected by the fires.

We can hope with all our might that the fires are over soon, but it is only just the start of summer.

Our “leaders” really need to face the facts and think about what they aren’t doing to save our country at the expense of our environment, our people and our livelihoods.

I read a powerful article yesterday that called out the need for Australia’s climate change policies to change urgently, labelling the Government’s position as a ‘destructive stance’. I couldn’t agree more.

The country is devastated. Coming back from this won’t be an easy feat. In a couple of days, the heat is expected to hit us again, and there is a high chance that some of the biggest fires will merge. There are leaders at state level doing as much as they can in providing support to communities who need it. But what is missing is a national strategy to work towards the prevention of events like this, instead of solutions for the damages that the lack of prevention has caused.

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