The horrifying bushfires across many parts of Australia in 2019 (and it’s hardly even summer yet) are a dreadful reminder of how vulnerable our amazing wildlife is to the changes happening all over the continent. We must never forget how extraordinary Australia is. Isolated from evolutionary pressures which created the creatures of Europe and Asia (and much of the Americas) life here was able to sustain itself in so many unique and wonderful forms, which do not exist anywhere else in the known universe. Yet uncontrolled population growth, land clearing, forest destruction and “development” have affected all but the most remote parts of the country. Now climate change is creating wildfires which are ripping through what used to be wet rainforests and across national parks, annihilating whole populations of animals, birds and plants in its path.
After the bushfires, people reported hearing the utterly horrendous sounds of burnt creatures, crying out, abandoned to their agony. Great efforts are being made to find and save burnt koalas from their rare bushland habitats, and people have given generously to the Koala Hospital. You can visit their website here. Donations are still being received by the Hospital, which hopes to use the funds for a long-term survival and support program. If you can help, go to the donation page.
But it is a drop in the bucket. As the heat increases, the land and plants dry out, and fires are uncontainable. What is worse is that some are deliberately lit. It is awful that people lose their homes and possessions, some even lose their lives, but consider the fate of the animals and birds abandoned in the midst of raging fires which nobody even tries to contain, since all their efforts are directed at helping the human victims. Steps must be taken to develop better fire retardants, and to be able to deliver them in bushland areas as soon as any fire is detected, instead of waiting until the fires are completely out of control and approaching “inhabited” areas. The bushland is inhabited too! Please help raise awareness of the impact of climate change on our wildlife, and try to find ways to help in whatever way you can.
Governments and industry are in some places trying to work towards helping avoid the apocalyptic scenarios we are so rightly afraid of. Anyone caught anywhere near the bushfires in Eastern Australia recently will know just how totally terrifying these fires are, beyond anything people have lived through in the past. There are so many reasons for this, but the main one has to be the reliance on fossil fuels and the entire economic system with its remorseless demand for “growth” and ever-greater levels of consumption. It may well be too late to avoid some pretty catastrophic outcomes in the next twenty or so years, but every effort should be made to do whatever we can to change things. But some governments appear completely unable to even see the problem. Some prominent people simply deny there IS a problem! While I care about people, I care as much (sometimes more) about the wild creatures we share this planet with, rare and amazing survivors through countless aeons. How dare we paltry humans, who have only been around for 200,000 years or so, threaten the existence of life forms already millions of years old!
If you care about the survival of wild creatures under this threatened planetary catastrophe, find ways to let people know and do something about it. Write letters, join with others, help rescue and care for injured wildlife, leave water out for animals and birds in the horribly hot weather, consider what you are doing and how you are living, and ask whether you are entitled to exist at the expense of all other forms of natural life on the planet. Get ready for change, which is coming, and try to find ways to sustain the life of the dear creatures we share our existence with.