Australia bush fires: Horrifying! Climate change adaptation essential on emergency footing

Swapna Raghu Sanand
When bushfires break out during holidays, this complicates emergency management. (AP Photo)

Climate change adaptation is no longer a fancy theory across the globe but a necessity for human populations to prepare for. A closer study of Australia’s devastating bushfires bring valuable insights on the urgency of putting into place a doable, time bound road map for climate change adaptation. To think that these bushfires have destroyed around 5.8 million hectares of the country’s bush, also destroying its flora and fauna requires us to take climate change adaptation on an emergency footing.

David Bowman, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science at University of Tasmania penned his insights on some notable aspects of Australia’s devastating bush fires. Penning his thoughts in ‘The Conversation’, Bowman made a significant point about Australia’s fires are occurring during a holiday period.

When bushfires break out during holidays, this complicates emergency management.

According to David Bowman, the small pool of firefighters are not only forced to stem fires out but they also have to manage the local population evacuation and account for their dispersal as part of an emergency evacuation. To ensure effective emergency management, David Bowman argues that climate adaptation is the need of the hour and requires taking steps that are painful such as shifting the Australian holiday season to cooler months.

Why is Kangaroo Island famous?

For instance, Australia’s Kangaroo Islands is home to many native animals and threatened species. Following the bushfires that ravaged the landscape, wildlife experts are concerned that many of the rare species of animals and birds such as the tailed dunnart, Kangaroo Island’s glossy black cockatoos and Liguarian honeybees may have been wiped out completely.

Given that the Liguarian honey is used in a wide range of beauty and skincare products on the island, this also implies significant economic losses for the local population.

It is a known fact that about 50,000 koalas live on the island but now there are concerns about how many of these koalas have survived the bushfires.

Local news reports cite that many Australians are volunteering to save koalas by opening their homes to clean their burns, treat them to prevent infection and letting their burnt paws recover. As most animal lovers know, infection poses the biggest threat to koalas. In most places, special mittens are made to cover their burnt paws.

READ | Australia Bushfire Crisis: National Bushfire Recovery Agency announced to rebuild communities

ABC News reported that John Woinarski, professor at Charles Darwin University, termed the Australian bushfires as ‘holocaust of destruction’ for wildlife. Simply put, the world cannot sit back and be witnesses to such devastation nor let it happen again.

As Russell Crowe rightly summed up in his message to those attending the Golden Globes 2020, Australia’s tragedy is climate change-based. In the actor’s words, "We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the amazing place that it is."