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Australian Forests Burn in 2020 Wildfires

As of Jan. 10, 2020, 25 people have died, well over 1,400 houses have been destroyed, temperatures are nearing 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), roads are melting, skies are hues of orange, red, and black, over 12 million acres of land (almost the size of England) have been burned.

Over one billion animals have died in the bushfires including up to 30% of the koala population dying. Harrowing images have seen skies engulfed in red, orange, and black due to the massive fires and smoke. In fact, areas miles away that are not on fire are still very much affected by smoke. 

On top of this, the bushfires are also particularly hurting the indigenous communities of Australia, as many of the fires are concentrated in New South Wales, a place that has the highest number of indigenous people in the country. Many of their cultural sites are being destroyed by the bushfires, with scorched earth taking their places.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, is under fire for his lack of action in the face of a national crisis. The Australia Bushfires have been raging on since July 2019, and in that time Scott Morrison took vacations to both New York and Hawaii. However, just recently Morrison has committed $2 billion to pay for the government’s emergency and disaster payments, financial support for volunteer firefighters, families, farmers, and businesses affected by the bushfires. 

While the recent committal of funds is a positive for the Australian people, Morrison’s delay in action on the bushfires has caused an eight-point drop in his approval rating since Dec. 8, 2019.

Around the world, many are making donations to help Australia in these trying times. Celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Ellen DeGenerous, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elton John, and many many more have all raised funds upwards of one million dollars each. 

They all have also used their platforms to raise awareness of the bushfires and convince their fans to donate to the cause. New Zealand, Canada, and the United States have also sent firefighters over in an attempt to curb the incessant bushfires.

Almost all have blamed climate change for the deadly bushfires. While it is not uncommon for there to be fires during Australia’s dry season, the temperatures are record-breaking and the fires are the worst they’ve been in decades, much due to climate change and drought. 

However, many climate change deniers, including Donald Trump Jr. and Sean Hannity, have tried to pin the blame of the bushfires on arsonists, which has been proven to be false.

Sophomore Connor Croft said on the arsonist theory, “These beliefs about climate change are very harmful because we can not solve the problems that we need to solve.”

Climate change has been an incessant issue in this day and age, with 2019 being the second-hottest year on record and the 2010s being the hottest decade in history. 

This has caused many of the polar ice caps to melt at an alarming rate, causing sea levels to rise. Climate change has also caused a spike in worse natural disasters, now making them all the more commonplace in today’s day and age. 

This has made many people today are very worried about climate change, and the presence of the Australia Bushfires has exacerbated that fear. 

Jamal Lawrence said, “If we keep doing the things we’re doing, including using stuff that uses gas and emits carbon, the world’s going to end.”

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