Australia Fires: A Cause to Action
Natural disasters grip this world with no clear solution or avoidance in its path of destruction. As the inhabitants of this world, the best we can do is protect ourselves and let it run its course. Natural disasters have become more devastating as the years progress due to climate change. We must commit to bettering our practices to help slow the rate of climate change.
In January 2020, fires raged throughout Australia destroying millions of acres, killing both people and Australian wildlife. According to BBC, “Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fueled a series of massive bushfires across Australia.” Looking back at 2020 and the many historic (if not memorable) events that happened, this is one I will remember courtesy of a few photos in particular.
These photos circulated through my Twitter feed for weeks; constantly reminding me of the wildlife population being decimated. Let’s take a deeper dive into the photos. All of the photos that were taken during the event had a dark orange or yellow hue (which was natural to the scene at hand), which showed the seriousness and reality of the situation. These photos were not photoshopped — something hard to find in the Social Media age. International News stations were reporting the devastating events of this bushfire; concerns over the survival of endangered species, farm animals being killed, and houses and land utterly destroyed. It seemed there would be no hope for Australia and we had to search for any positive stories relating to the fires. Every news channel shared the narrative of tapping into your emotions.
“Not all heroes wear capes,” a line that was repeatedly tweeted with the photo above of a woman going into the fires to rescue a badly burned koala bear with only the shirt on her back. This woman put herself in harm's way with the hopes of saving this defenseless animal. I was speechless.
I have always been passionate about protecting animals and the environment. Growing up on a farm, I was accustomed to living with the land and coincide with the animals that inhabited it. I have always considered myself to be an empath, especially for animals who do not have the voice or ability to help themselves in harmful situations such as these. To say the least, the chosen photos and videos covered for this new story pulled on my heartstrings. Seeing the animals fleeing, bystanders saving animals, and the efforts by firefighters to subdue the fires that raged the continent. These were all the center of attention of every news outlet and represented them dramatically to show how serious this environmental disaster was.
I, like many others on this planet, understand the severity of these types of natural disasters and what they could mean for the future of our environment. The story of the woman selflessly rescuing the koala and the photos of the destruction caused me to donate to Australian wildlife foundations and commit to lifestyle practices that would decrease my carbon footprint. Now I consistently use reusable bags, reduce plastic waste with reusable water bottles, bar soaps, and recycle daily. This event showed me how fragile our environment is, and that we must do everything in our power to protect it.