We’re one month into 2020 and temperatures are already far above the average for this time of year. In 2019 we watched in horror as wildfires engulfed the Amazon and a heat wave hit Europe, with temperatures rising to 46 degrees in some areas.
Now we are faced with another new nightmare and one equally as deadly. Australia has been on fire since September 2019 and is still continuing to struggle with these massive bushfires today. 18.6 million hectares of land have burned, habitats and homes lost, billions of animals have perished in the flames and 27 people have died. Clearing for animal agriculture and logging are just some of the causes, but the real catalyst is climate change. Months of severe drought and an extreme climate phenomenon made worse by a rise in greenhouse gas emissions have created a ‘mega blaze’ that will in turn become a large source of pollution and carbon emissions itself. We must remember that once a forest is lost, it is likely lost forever.
These fires happen because of our pursuit of short-term individual gain over long-term common good. What natural resources we have left should not be used as an exploitable opportunity. A very different approach is needed, one that values our planet as essential for the existence of life.
The heartbreaking images we’re seeing at the start of 2020 will not end with just one country unless we see a combined global effort coupled with a push to change our lifestyles.
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