My friends, myself and my wild koala family are currently safe in Victoria, but at this moment Australia is in a catastrophic fire emergency.
Unprecedented bushfires are burning along the coast and ranges of New South Wales and Queensland. They are caused by climate change. The area has been suffering terrible drought for 18 months, and extreme heat for months.
Carol Sparks, the Mayor of Glen Innes Severn, NSW, a community that have lost 2 people and countless homes, farms and wildlife to these fires, said:
“The anger is real. The anger is justified. Because this disaster was all foreseen and predicted. For decades the link between a hotter, drier climate, land-clearing, excessive irrigation and increased fire risk have all been attested in scientific papers.”
I’ve compiled some maps to show the extent of the crisis.
UPDATE 12 January 2020: It got worse. Since this post bushfires raged through East Gippsland Victoria and Kangaroo Island, SA and the Adelaide Hills, SA (see map below).
Below are two maps showing the vast size of recent fires compared to the size of the UK and eastern states of the USA.
For koalas, this is a tragedy. The fires are burning in prime koala habitat, in areas where koala populations are already threatened. The map below shows koala habitat in northern New South Wales.
This map shows the same area, and how much country has been burnt in these fires.
What can you do? Sadly, there’s nothing you can do to stop this right now. Fire professionals are fighting hard. Australians are digging deep to support wildlife rescue organisations. The few animals that have survived will be very well cared for.
But you might be able to stop it happening again, and again, and again. Support climate action. Support Greta Thunberg and climate strikes around the world. Support the NGOs who are fighting with all their might to stop the fossil fuel criminals destroying our world and our wildlife:
Get Up: https://www.getup.org.au/
Australian Conservation Foundation https://www.acf.org.au/
BirdLife Australia: https://birdlife.org.au/
Climate Action Network Australia: https://www.cana.net.au/
The Climate Council: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/
Farmers for Climate Action: https://www.farmersforclimateaction.org.au/
Extinction Rebellion: https://ausrebellion.earth/
(Yes, I know they are big organisations and you might wonder whether your support is getting to where its needed. It is. We need to fight this on every level – at the local and grass-roots, and the big international level. It takes big organisations to fight big polluters and governments. We can’t do this without them.)
Whenever you can remove your support from the climate criminals: Exxon-Mobil, BP, Chevron, Shell, BHP, Rio Tinto. Because just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of the emissions that are killing koalas right now.
These criminals not only cause the emissions, they have been throwing billions into stopping renewables and climate-saving technology since the 1970’s. So even though you, the people, have been trying to limit your emissions, these criminals have been undoing all your good work.
And please, please, please think about this next time you vote.
NOTES & REFERENCES: