Record wildfires in the San Francisco Bay Area have rapidly erupted amid a scorching heat wave – and they are still growing, writes Barry Sheppard.
Bob McIlroy is a small farmer in the Bonang region of East Gippsland, Victoria, with 30 years' experience with the local Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA). He spoke to Green Left about the experience of the giant bushfires and what needs to be done.
The sheer scale of the recent bushfires and their timing (during the summer school holidays) have had a crippling impact on many working people, including small business owners, and put the ongoing sustainability of rural communities at serious risk, writes Graham Matthews.
Climate scientists and other observers often refer to various regions, such as the Arctic, low-lying islands, the Andes and Bangladesh, inhabited by Indigenous and peasant peoples as the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to the adverse impacts of anthropogenic climate change. But Australia is shaping up as one the canaries, writes Hans Baer.
The latest fire emergency in four states has rammed home the meaning of the words “catastrophic climate change” in the minds of most people in Australia. Most now realise that this is a climate emergency and our society should mobilise all its resources to address it.
Looking out my office window in early January, the smoke haze blanketing Melbourne CBD blocked all sight of the city. It made visibility on the roads a problem and venturing outside a dangerous activity.
David Mcevoy, an environment and LGBTI activist, was visiting a friend in Cobargo, NSW, on New Year’s Eve when the catastrophic bushfires hit the historic town. Green Left’s Rachel Evans talked to him about his escape from the firestorm and the community’s resilience.
As the bushfire emergency drags on, with large parts of the country devastated, unions are demanding the government provide greater support for the firefighters, more assistance to the affected communities and to confront the climate change reality.
There are two positive things to come out of the horrific bushfire crisis ripping through our country: recognition of the connection between global warming and more frequent and intense bush fires; and the inspiring courage and generosity of volunteers and emergency service personnel to protect their communities, despite being hugely under-resourced.