Bushfires in Australia: Some info and ranting
From our Australian correspondent Daniel GT
Australia is no stranger to bushfires, it’s literally a season down there much the same way winter is a season up here. Fun fact, there are species of tree that need fire for the seeds to drop. Fires have been occurring for millennia, but as all of us woke students know, our global climate is undergoing drastic changes. Fires have broken out across the country with the state of New South Wales (NSW) being the most heavily affected. To put things into perspective, I’m sure everyone remembers the Amazon fires, a catastrophic event which saw the destruction of 125,000 hectares of rainforest. Australia has lost over 1 million hectares of forest and bushland to the fires already and the advance of the flames has barely slowed down. Firefighters and fire management officers have stated on multiple occasions that these fires have the potential to be the worst in Australia’s history. Rainforests which have never seen fires in millennia are burning. Sydney for the first time ever was under a catastrophic warning with the fires a mere 15km from the outer suburbs at one point. However, despite the horrible crises, surely the fires would provide an opportunity for the country to unite in collective action. Right?
WRONG! The NSW government, currently led by the Liberal/National coalition party, is staffed by a bunch of climate change deniers. Whether these politicians believe in climate change or not is irrelevant, because, the undeniable fact is, fires in Australia have gotten progressively worse over this last decade. The worst part being that these morally reprehensible cunts thought it was a fine idea to cut 121 million dollars from the National Parks Wildlife Services (NPWS). This is a 25% cut to their budget resulting in the loss of 500 experienced firefighting personnel. This implies that decades of firefighting and fire management experience has been lost, or rather, gone up in smoke.
The most effective way to prevent and manage the effects of the bushfires is to carry out hazard reduction plans in areas with risk (pretty much anywhere that’s dry), usually this means controlled burning. This was practiced by the Aborigines who had 8000 years of experience to cultivate this effectively. However, colonisation has wiped out most of this experience. Due to the budget cuts, areas treated for hazard reduction in NSW have dropped from 208,000 hectares in 2013 to a measly 95,589 hectares last year.
Unfortunately, those fighting the fires on the front lines aren’t the best at communicating the severity and desperation of their situation because understating things is a typical Australian characteristic. Kim de Govrik is a fire management officer. Kim quit his job out of frustration (he’s also quite old so cut him some slack), because, as he stated in an interview: “I was managing 250,000 hectares of National Park, and I only had three rangers, and a handful of field staff so it wasn’t a very big crew.” This is the understatement of the year. With their budget cuts, the government made Kim’s job impossible, and he basically responds with: “Yeah, well, they aren’t making it easy mate”.
Fire management officer is the most vital position for combating bushfires. Under the previous government, NSW had 36 of them. Now, they only have 10. One of the officers has an area the size of Tasmania to manage. This is downright ridiculous as Tasmania has more than one fire management officer and Tasmania, as you may have figured, is the size of Tasmania.
Yet, the shithouse wank-fest that is the NSW government dares to lay the blame at the feet of local Greens councils (the Greens are the political party who advocates for affirmative climate action). Barnaby Joyce blamed it on the bureaucracy’s inability to file paperwork efficiently. I feel like he’s blaming himself as he is in fact a sitting member of the NSW government. That’s bureaucracy, right?
Just to paint a picture of the character of this man, Barnaby Joyce was a politician constantly preaching the importance of family values until it was revealed that he had a secret family. When faced with important questions, the government blatantly avoids significant issues using the tragedy of those killed in the fires. Questions like: “Does the government have a plan to restore NPWS’s budget and perhaps make plans for positive climate action?” “What we have right now is thoughts and prayers for those affected and the firefighters, which I think is the most important thing” is the response of Australia’s current Prime Minister Scott Morrison (ScoMo). The exact same dodging tactic was used last year when Tasmania experienced record-breaking fires.
Make no mistake, these fires are the fault of the government, especially NSW. Thankfully, they have undergone a lot of scrutiny, with NSW governor, Gladys Berejiklian, earning the nickname ‘Koala Killer’. This is because as a result of the fires, 80% of Koala habitats have been destroyed, the species has now been declared functionally extinct. #Koala Killer even became a globally trending hashtag, the first time Berejiklian has ever been globally trending which I think is appropriate. She’s even stopped making online posts because she gets bombarded with this hashtag. Her Wikipedia page was also tampered with, presenting her as ‘The Dishonourable Gladys Koala Killer Berejiklian. Her occupations were listed as: Banker, politician and Koala Killer. Unfortunately, these changes only held up for a few days.
These are steps in the right direction as it’s imperative that these fuckwits don’t get re-elected.
Some extra information on Koala’s
It truly baffles me how this species has managed to survive on the world’s harshest continent. Evolution has not equipped these bastards very well at all. Koala’s have one of the smallest brain-to-body ratios of any mammal on earth. Also, their brains are smooth, heavily restricting the number of neurons that can be present. They have absolutely no capacity for adaptability. If you presented a eucalyptus leaf to a koala on a flat surface as opposed to hanging from a branch, it would not recognise it as food. The koala can literally starve in a room full of potential food. Not to mention their food, the eucalyptus leaf, the only thing they eat, is poisonous. It makes them high and thus they sleep for 80% of their lives. The eucalyptus leaf also has next to no nutritional value and they therefore lack the energy to think. Additionally, many herbivorous mammals have adaptations to cope with the eroding effects of plants on their teeth. For example, rodents have teeth that never stop growing. Koala’s are no exception; their teeth also eventually disintegrate to nothing. They resolve this problem by starving to death. So yeah, the Koala as a species may seem to be deadweight. However, their cuteness levels are astronomical and I believe this reason is sufficient enough for us to try and save them.