This bushfire session has seen hundreds of fires raging across Australia since August 2019.
Those bushfires have destroyed 6,500+ buildings (including 2,779 homes), caused 34 deaths, more than 1 billion animal deaths (at a conservative estimate), approximately 18.6 million hectares have been burned, and NASA data from 2 January estimates the bush fires had expelled more than 306 million tonnes of C02 into the atmosphere. The exact vegetation that would have worked towards absorbing the C02 is being burnt to the ground.
What does this have to do with climate change?
The 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review predicted that by 2020, bushfires in Australia, as a result of climate change, would “start earlier, end slightly later, and generally be more intense”.
Australia needs to act now to slow down the rate of global warming. The consequences if we do not will be increased temperatures, more radical weather systems, and a countless human and animal lives lost. The ecosystem of the environment will be under tremendous strain to renew, with some scientists speculating that it may be too late to stop the extinction of certain flora and fauna.
So why have we not made significant changes?
One of the biggest barriers to entry for people to change their behaviours is government incentive. But, with the government preoccupied by the coal industry and generally dismissing climate change issues, residents and organisations of Australia have to take matters into their own hands.
How can we play our part?
Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, and the sun is one of the best sources of natural energy organisations can utilise.
Commercial and Industrial solar has grown exponentially over the past few years, the decreasing cost of solar and the increase of PPA availability is helping to encourage the uptake of these projects. Now, after seeing the devastating effects of the bushfires, it’s more crucial than ever to make a change.
Organisations can play their part and reduce their contributions towards global warming. Installing solar on their roofs and land, is just one action they can take. Organisations which benefit the most from solar installations are those which draw power during the day, for example, schools, government, retail, agriculture and manufacturing.
There are many other ways everyone can reduce carbon emissions and our impact on the environment:
- Drive cars less often – invest in a bicycle, use public transport or share rides to work or school with friends or colleagues.
- Invest in companies which are investing for our future. Superannuation schemes like Future Super work in support of renewable projects and enable the forward transition to protect our future.
- Buy sustainable style as opposed to fast fashion. Reduce the number of items that go to the landfill (big contributors to CO2 emissions) by buying quality products that endure seasons.
- Plant trees, or gardens in back yards. Search for plants which are great for CO2 absorption.
Now is the time to protect our future.
Noble, Freya (14 January 2020). “Government set to revise total number of hectares destroyed during bushfire season to 17 million”. 9NEWS. Australia.
Green, Matthew (14 January 2020). “Australia’s massive fires could become routine, climate scientists warn”. Reuters.
Henriques-Gomes, Luke (24 January 2020). “Bushfires death toll rises to 33 after body found in burnt out house near Moruya”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
Readfearn, Graham (3 January 2020). “‘Silent death’: Australia’s bushfires push countless species to extinction”. Guardian Australia.
Lee, Heesu (24 December 2019). “Bushfires Release Over Half Australia’s Annual Carbon Emissions”.