SYDNEY: The catastrophic fires, which initially started in September, have since ravaged over 5 million hectares of land, taking with them over 20 human lives, 1,500 homes and a whopping 480 million animal lives.
8,000 koalas have been confirmed dead as a result of the fires, with the actual numbers expected to be significantly higher as Australia’s most popular animal resides in trees and would have a lower chance of outrunning the flames as opposed to larger animals such as emus and kangaroos.
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Australia is on fire. And the summer there has only just begun. 2019 was a year of record heat and record drought. Today the temperature outside Sydney was 48,9°C. 500 million (!!) animals are estimated dead because of the bushfires. Over 20 people have died and thousands of homes have burned to ground. The fires have spewed 2/3 of the nations national annual CO2 emissions, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The smoke has covered glaciers in distant New Zealand (!) making them warm and melt faster because of the albedo effect. And yet. All of this still has not resulted in any political action. Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires That has to change. And it has to change now. My thoughts are with the people of Australia and those affected by these devastating fires.
Already a gravely endangered species, the fires have pushed koalas into the functionally extinct category, meaning that their numbers have declined to the point where they are no longer able to play a significant role within their ecosystem.
Perhaps it’s the koalas and the fact that so many people have been displaced, or perhaps that the size of one of the fires in Victoria is the size of Manhattan and that the high winds and soaring temperatures are exacerbating the problem, but the world is jumping to help Australia tackle their national crisis.
Award-winning singer Pink has donated $500,000, as has Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman. Aussie label Bec + Bridge is donating 100% of their profits from today to the rescue efforts and even Buckingham Palace has put out an official statement with regards to the fires. Numerous others have used their social platforms to spread awareness for the crisis.