Australia Wildfires: Everything You Need to Know

In September 2019, a brush fire set ablaze the most catastrophic wildfire to date. It’s now January and the damage persists.

At least 25 people pronounced dead

2,000 homes burnt down

15 million acres decimated across the country (the size of West Virginia)

480 million animals deceased

Australia wildfires

The damage is said to upend life as Australians know it. For the rest of us around the world, the catastrophe is far enough to ease concern through cognitive dissonance. While these results of climate change may not be in our backyard, it’s critical to acknowledge and become aware that no place on the planet is safe from climate change. The solution is in understanding the problems.

Australia wildfires

Problem 1: Fossil Fuel Emissions

"There is no explanation for this – none – that makes sense besides emissions of heat-trapping gases,"  tweeted Columbia University climate scientist Kate Marvel.

These heat-trapping gases, also known as Greenhouse Gases, are de-stabilizing ecosystems that we depend on for human and animal welfare.

For simplicity, we can consider fossil fuel emissions ground zero for many of the subsequent problems we face.

Problem 2: Heat

Wildfires will become a more common occurrence as temperatures continue to rise, increasing the amount of fuel (dried vegetation) available and reducing water availability because of higher evaporation, according to Climate Signals.

"Australia has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since records began in 1910," Marvel said. "This makes heat waves and fires more likely. It's not the sun. It's not volcanoes. It's not 'natural cycles.'" The cause that Kate Marvel cites is carbon emissions.

Problem 3: Drought

"There are many drivers of wildfires, but its increasingly clear that hotter, drier conditions play a big role in making them worse," said Zeke Hausfather, a climate scientist at Berkeley Earth, a climate research organization.

While Australia is no stranger to drought, climate change has exacerbated drought conditions so that when droughts occur, the conditions are in a much hotter climate and, in some cases, with lower precipitation, according to Climate Signals. 

The Climate Reality Project reports that making the connection between global temperature rise and wildfires is also pretty simple science: Droughts dry out the land, killing plant life – which then also dries out itself, becoming far easier to ignite.

In Summary

Carbon Emissions are heat-trapping gases which trap heat in our atmosphere, which in turn ignites an existential domino effect:

  • Heat and dry environments
    • Wildfires
    • Lowered crop yields
    • Dust storms
    • Fresh water shortages
  • Sea level rise
    • Receding coast lines
    • Flooding
    • Release of permafrost in the Arctic (Anthrax)
    • Drowned cities
    • Extreme weather
    • Storm surges
    • Expensive infrastructure remediation
    • Economic collapse
  • Human and animal welfare
    • Decrease in cognitive performance
    • Heat exhaustion
    • Respiratory aggravation
    • Increased crime rates
    • Forced migration
    • Food insecurity
    • Re-emergence of ancient diseases
    • Death

The above reflects both what is to come in addition to what's currently happening. But while the situation appears grim, we believe in our ability to reverse engineering our way out of the grips of climate changes by relieving our reliance on petroleum as fuel and materials for products, or turning off the carbon emissions tap.

Planet Pods is working to solve this crisis through carbon minimized manufacturing and products. You can support our effort to alleviate our reliance on pollution by purchasing our products available now for purchase. Our goods degrade without harm to the environment (compostable ingredients and packaging) as well as lowered carbon output in product. Join us in being a part of the solution in 2020, before it's too late.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal

USA Today

The Uninhabitable Earth - David Wallace Wells

NPR

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