The images from Australia are truly shocking. Much of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria states have been reduced to cinders. Volunteer firemen and others have succumbed to smoke and flames. Many people have lost their homes; entire towns have burned to the ground.
As bad as the situation is for humans, it’s worse for plants and animals. Animals who survive their burns and loss of habitat face death by starvation as their food sources are temporarily wiped out.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a climate change denier. He appears to argue that climate change doesn’t exist because it’s not the sole cause of the fires. I’m not sneering at Mr. Morrison. The U.S. has politicians just as breathtakingly stubborn about denying climate change.
The American west faces a fire threat of Australian proportions thanks to climate deniers. Beginning with Ronald Reagan’s administration, our government has persistently underfunded the controlled burn program in the American west, meaning that our “fire season” is now longer and more devastating.
The underfunding meant much of Yellowstone National Park burned to the ground in 1988. It’s only gotten worse as weather patterns have changed in recent years. Yet like their Australian mates, U.S. climate change deniers insist that since it’s not the sole cause of western wildfires, climate change must be a myth.
But amid all the willfully ignorant blather from politicians, there is a ray of sunshine. Ordinary people understand what is at stake and are taking action. Volunteer firemen across southern Australia have put their lives and livelihoods in jeopardy to fight the fires and save lives.
Craft guilds around the world support local Australian guilds that are knitting, crocheting and sewing pouches for injured animals. Orphaned baby bats, koalas, and kangaroos (and many other species) have a chance at life thanks to the surrogate pouches and the volunteers nursing them back to health.
Ordinary people also understand that there are few sole causes to any natural or human-made disaster. They understand that it’s about admitting that our activities affect our world and its natural resources including the climate.
About Norma Shirk
My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers (with up to 50 employees) to create human resources policies and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the employer’s size and budget. The goal is to help small companies grow by creating the necessary back office administrative structure while avoiding the dead weight of a bureaucracy. To read my musings on the wacky world of human resources, see the HR Compliance Jungle (www.hrcompliancejungle.com) which alternates on Wednesday mornings with my history blog, History By Norma, (available at http://www.normashirk.com). To read my musings on a variety of topics, see my posts on Her Savvy (www.hersavvy.com).
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