Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Australia and those living in New South Wales and Victoria, states that are facing a calamity of wildfires. Already, there are more than a thousand fires burning, the official death toll of 24 is set to rise and many endangered species face an uncertain future as their habitats are destroyed. Many thousands of residents face an uncertain future as their communities face bush fires unprecedented in modern times.
We can only hope that the Australian severe summer temperatures finally let up and allow authorities and emergency service workers every opportunity to gain control of the very dangerous situation.
There has been criticism of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for initially being on holidays in Hawaii when the fires broke out and choosing to remain there before the situation deteriorated and necessitated his return to Canberra. Critics too have taken him to task for not altering Australia’s environment policies right away.
The wildfires scorching the homes and towns of New South Wales and Victoria are years in the making. So too the extreme hurricanes that batter North America, the cyclones that ravage Africa and Asia, the rising flood waters that threaten our coasting cities and one sixth of the world’s population who live there.
In fairness, altering those policies right now will not immediately help authorities fight the wildfires and quell their immediate threat to life and property. Putting out the fires, gaining control of the situation, and protecting people in the very short term are the upmost priorities.
But things have to change. We cannot ignore the dangers of a planet that is getting warmer by the day. We must ensure we take action now to preserve this planet during our present stewardship for every future generation.
Yes, Australia needs to change its environmental outlook — just as we all need to. We must reduce our carbon footprint, choose renewable over convenience, putting the planet not our person first. Last month, representatives from governments who signed on to the Paris climate accord targets failed to approve any meaningful mechanisms to ensure that we collectively act to save the future of this planet.
The wildfires scorching the homes and towns of New South Wales and Victoria are years in the making. So too the extreme hurricanes that batter North America, the cyclones that ravage Africa and Asia, the rising flood waters that threaten our coastal cities and one sixth of the world’s population who live there.
The worsening of weather events, the heightened toll taken by storms and fires, hurricanes and cyclones, the pollution that fills the lungs of those living in large cities and conurbations — these are all largely of our doing. Only we can change that now.