Australia’s Bushfire Crisis and the Climate Change Discussion

Australia’s Bushfire Crisis and the Climate Change Discussion

Note: This letter from the editor was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.

Hey guys,

While I was in Melbourne to see my family and attend a school reunion I learned about the NSW bushfires from our Sydney-based writer Sara Pull who had been travelling back home from a trip and had been delayed due to the fires.

Over the weekend, I learned that Ben’s cousin had been evacuated and that she was close to losing her property (thank goodness she didn’t) and that family of extended family in NSW has been evacuated from their home too.

And last night, back at the farm, we were notified that the QLD fires have come up North, some 40 kms away from our farm which has forced us to review our fire evacuation and emergency plans once again (last year, fires burned just 20 kms from our property so we are no strangers to bushfire season and are always on high alert).

Photo: NASA.

Now in our communities, the blame game is already happening, with frustrations and tensions running high after lives have been lost, properties destroyed and communities evacuated.

Australia voted in a conservative government in this year’s election and we environmentalists knew what that meant from a climate action perspective – slow action to inaction, basically. It has also been infuriating to learn that former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders have been raising warnings about the upcoming bushfire season. Feeling worried that the country is underprepared for what was to come, in April they had requested urgent meetings with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to discuss funding for firefighting and action to address climate change. They continued with their meeting requests in May and again in September with no results.

Now here we are, dealing with ‘unprecedented’ bushfires, the inaction costing lives, properties and communities. And it’s only Spring; we haven’t even hit Summer yet. This, mind you, is on top of our nationwide drought woes.

To make matters worse, many politicians don’t want to talk about the bushfires and links to climate change because they think it’s an insult to affected communities and victims (a “bloody disgrace” some called it). Furthermore, just hours ago, we learned that NSW public officials attending a recent conference on climate change adaptation were directed not to discuss the link between climate change and bushfires.

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After the Amazon fires and the California wildfires I didn’t think I could feel any more frustrated, angry and helpless. But I’ve been proven wrong.

If you’re reading this and feeling sad, you can channel that energy towards action. Please read this post to learn more about the situation and what you can do to help. Any attention, any exposure, any donation, and social media pressure on our politicians you can offer will be very welcome (thank you in advance).

Anyway, here’s what I’m reading, watching and listening to:

Podcast Shows / Films:

Will Extinction Rebellion succeed where others have failed?Big Ideas. 

Does Hollywood Still Have a Princess Problem?Freakonomics. A podcast about the gender disparity on and off the screen.

Leaving the FaithMaking Sense with Sam Harris. The philosopher and neuroscientist chats to Yasmin Mohammed about the double standards that Western liberals use when thinking about Muslim women, the general state of feminism and the validity of criticising other cultures.


Becoming by Michelle Obama. 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. A hilarious, profanity-laced read, full of no-BS advice, challenging the “let’s-all-feel-good mindset” infecting our societies.

Articles / Posts:

Prada is first to take out sustainability loan worth €50 millionEuronews

Venice declares state of emergency after near-record tide and floodsBloomberg

We’ve been in a bushfire hell in Glen Innes– and the scientists knew it was coming, The Guardian

More than 200 GoFundMe pages have been created to support victims of the Queensland and New South Wales bushfiresBusiness Insider

Cyclone Bulbul kills 20 as millions are evacuated in India, BangladeshABC News

Murder of two journalists leads to arrest of Indonesian palm oil bossThe Guardian

And that’s all from me for this week. Thinking of everyone affected by the bushfires and if you live near a bushfire hotspot, I hope that you stay safe and are on high alert.

Peace, love and all that jazz,

Editor Jen xx

p.s. If you’re sick and tired of waiting for our conservative government to use our tax money to fund climate policies instead of fossil fuel subsidies, you can still use your private money to accelerate climate action and make a difference. Read this opinion piece on ethical banking I wrote for The Guardian and Bank Australia if you’re keen to learn more.

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Recommending reading:

Feature image of bushfire via Flickr.

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