Australian Bushfire Crisis & Emergency Information.

Information true at the time of writing (31/01/2019 – 13:00).
*Updated 05/01/2020

Source: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/12/photo-of-koala-and-firefighter-surrounded-by-flames-perfectly-captures-the-climate-emergency/

Now I know most people are usually working on New Year’s Resolutions in January – and I’m sure I will post something about this at a later date.

But right now, I want to take some time out to acknowledge the truly horrific bushfire season Australia is currently suffering from.

Fires of this intensity, size and duration are unprecedented, with Australia already seeing multiple fatalities and homes lost – and we’re only one month into summer.

Due to our record-low rainfall, soil moisture at all-time lows, and dry and windy conditions across the country, Australia is not set for relief any time soon.

At the time of writing (updated 05/01/2020), the losses are as follows:

Source: https://www.qbe.com/au/news/bushfire-danger-ratings-explained
STATEDEATHSMISSINGHOMES LOSTHECTARES (h) BURNED
NSW1701,365+ 3,600,000
ACT1000
QLD0045 220,000
SA4075 155,000
TAS001 24,000
VIC26178 825,000
WA001 283,020
TOTAL:24 61,516+6,300,000
See bottom of page for a list of Sources.

Do You Have A Bushfire Survival Plan?

There are a lot of questions surrounding why Australia is currently experiencing such a horrific bushfire season, and what is going to be done to contain this.

But as the country gears up for what is looking to be like an historic bushfire season, my question to you is this:

Do you have a Bushfire Survival Plan?

All states have a Fire Service with available information regarding Survival Plans – and it is worth being prepared.

Bushfire Warnings:

The best way to keep updated is to follow, subscribe and check your state Fire Service – they will usually have the most up-to-date information available.

You can also find out your area’s ABC radio frequency – ABC is the official emergency broadcaster in South Australia and many other states.

This may help if you don’t have access to your phone or internet.

What Is Being Done:

As of December, Australia has declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in New South Wales, granting powers to the NSW RFS Commissioner – meaning they can now allocate government resources and direct agencies to take immediate action regarding the crisis.

In New South Wales, where the country has been hit the hardest, there are over 2,000 firefighters working to gain control of the fires – along with aid from the US, Canada and New Zealand being sent in.

The Australian Defence Force has also been deployed, including Naval vessels, Airforce crafts and Army personnel to help with search-and-rescue, firefighting and clean-up efforts.

Multiple GoFundMe and Facebook Fundraiser pages have been set up to help ordinary people donate (Megastar P!nk even donated $500,000), including Celeste Barber’s fundraiser, which has raised over $16 million at the time of writing (05/01/2020).

Climate Change & The Bushfire Crisis:

Whether or not you believe in Climate Change or not, I think we can all agree that these bushfires aren’t normal. If you don’t believe in Climate Change, feel free to skip this section – but it is still something I want to touch on.

I thought I would simply share some of the key findings of the Climate Council’s briefing paper, titled ‘This is Not Normal‘ – and you can all do what you like with that information.

NUMBER ONE:

The catastrophic, unprecedented fire conditions currently affecting New South Wales and Queensland have been aggravated by climate change.

Bushfire risk was exacerbated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record breaking heat.

NUMBER TWO:

Bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than in the past.

The risks to people and property have increased and fire seasons have lengthened. It is becoming more dangerous to fight fires in Australia.

NUMBER THREE:

The fire season has lengthened so substantially that it has already reduced opportunities for fuel reduction burning.

This means it is harder to prepare for worsening conditions.

NUMBER FOUR:

The costs of fighting fires are increasing.

Australia relies on resource sharing arrangements between countries and states and territories within Australia.

As seasons overlap and fires become more destructive, governments will be increasingly constrained in their ability to share resources ad the costs of tackling fires will increase.

NUMBER FIVE:

The government must develop an urgent plan to:

(1) prepare Australian communities, health and emergency services for escalating fire danger; and

(2) rapidly phase out the burning of coal and gas which is driving more dangerous fires.

But most importantly:

Please stay safe. Have a plan. Talk to your loved ones about it. Keep your property clear of anything that can fuel a bushfire. Check the warnings and know when to leave, before it’s too late.

Nothing is more important than the lives of you and your family.

Sources For Above Table:

Top Talks (#6): Save the World by Changing the Rules – Greta Thunberg

Welcome to week six of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

Hello there!

Welcome to week six of ‘Top Talks’ – a segment where I do a show-and-tell of my favourite speeches, talks or lectures.

I am a strong believer in continuous improvement – which to me, means finding and listening to people who have an array of different values, beliefs and ideas, and sharing them with others!

So…

WHO IS GRETA THUNBERG?

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish Climate Activist. She is credited with raising Climate Change awareness through her ‘School Strike for the Climate’ demonstrations – which began with her missing school to protest outside the Swedish parliament, before picking up traction in schools around the world.

Greta is 16 years old, and has just finished sailing from Plymouth, England – reaching Manhattan, New York on August 28th on a zero-carbon-emission sailboat to attend a global warming conference.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/28/20837520/greta-thunberg-boat-new-york-city-climate-change

Save the World by Changing the Rules – Greta Thunberg

What I got out of this ‘Top Talk’:

This TED Talk is one of Greta’s first speeches in the larger public arena regarding Climate Change, after deciding to skip school to protest Climate Change on the steps of the Swedish parliament. Since then, Greta has spoken to a number of high-profile political leaders and assemblies, and is known for her blunt, matter-of-fact manner. She gives a great insight into how hard the next generation will have to work to battle against Climate Change ‘non-believers’, politics, poor leadership and out-dated rules in order to secure the planet’s future.

Brown and White Signage

HOW COULD WE LET THIS HAPPEN?

In her talk, Greta speaks about how she first came to learn of Climate Change at the age of 8. She says she was skeptical at first, because if this was happening, surely it would be all over the headlines, leaders would be doing something and there would be public outcry…

‘…why are we not reducing our emissions? Why are they in fact still increasing? Are we knowingly causing a mass extinction? Are we evil?’

Greta soon realized that there was a crisis looming that no-one seemed to be taking seriously. She stopped eating, stopped talking and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome with selected mutism.

Greta was depressed. Depressed that we, as humans, could allow this to happen to our home, right in front of us. And it is an important thing to think about. We need to be accountable for our actions.

We need to start having frank conversations, changing our thinking and living in a sustainable way. It is everyone’s business. Without everyday people like Greta Thunberg taking a stand, what will our world look like in 10, 20 or 50 years’ time? And what will it mean for our children, or our children’s children?

THE RULES NEED TO CHANGE

Ice caps are melting, temperatures are rising and forest are being cleared for agriculture. Who is accountable? What is the governments’ stance? Who is becoming richer, while the planet becomes poorer in every way? Why aren’t we acting?

‘People keep doing what they do because the vast majority doesn’t have a clue about the actual consequences of our everyday life.’

In this talk, Greta questions why no one is acting. There are no emergency meetings. No headlines. No policy changes. No meaningful restrictions.

‘Even most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy.’

Greta so rightly says in her talk that we can no longer play by the rules, because the rules themselves need to be changed.

 

And she’s right. How can we expect to tackle this Climate Crisis, when people in huge positions of power like Donald Trump are Climate Change ‘skeptics’? How can we tackle it when there aren’t any headlines, any policy changes or emergency meetings? The rules don’t work. The rules don’t serve to help the planet. They serve to help people. But what happens when there’s no planet for the people?

So we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed. 

Everything needs to change. And it has to start today. 

GRETA THUNBERG

Climate Change Is Changing The Way Young People See Their Future.

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate.

 

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock…

Climate Change is a very real, defining issue of our time. Regardless of whether you live in a place like the United States, where the President denies Climate Change (along with pulling out of the Paris Agreement to curb Carbon Emissions), or somewhere more advanced in its leadership on Climate Change, like France, who’s Prime Minister ended an address on the subject with: ‘Make our planet great again.’ … Boom.

Either way, we all live on the same planet, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to take action on Climate Change if this planet is going to survive even the next 40 years. NASA says the evidence for rapid Climate Change is compelling, noting key indicators, including:

Global Temperature Rises;

Warming Oceans;

Shrinking Ice Sheets;

Glacial Retreats;

Decreased Snow Cover;

Sea Level Rises;

Declining Arctic Sea Ice;

Extreme Weather Events and

Ocean Acidification

Climate Change is affecting the planet in significant, detrimental and soon-to-be irreversible ways. Without drastic action, the planet we know today will be gone, replaced with a landscape characterized catastrophic natural disasters, mass-extinction, global food shortages and increased exposure to conflict.

It’s for this reason that the younger generations are gearing up for a rough ride, and changing the way they see the world, in order to survive the damage our ancestors have inflicted on the planet.

 

 

Young People Don’t Want To Raise Children On A Damaged Planet.

More and more Millenials are becoming concerned with what the future may look like in 10, 20 or even 50 years from now. The phrase ‘I don’t want to bring children into this world’ is something you wouldn’t often have heard someone say 50 years ago. But in this day and age, there is a real, tangible fear of what the future may hold.

Global birth rates are declining, with more people becoming aware of the planet’s situation. The fear of bringing children into a world of uncertainty is a very real issue facing the young people of today. Even as recently as February this year, United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) asked the question ‘Is it still OK to have children?’ on her Instagram Story.

AOC argues that although the answer is not clear-cut, there is a scientific consensus that the lives of future generations will be difficult. And they know it. More and more young people are taking part in Global Climate Change Protests, like those started by Greta Thunberg who recently stated:

‘You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes… We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis…if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then… we should change the system itself.’

– Greta Thunberg

Younger generations are increasingly opting not to have children, with worries of food and water shortages, global unrest, natural disasters and political unrest present themselves as very real threats.

 

 

Young People Have Little Faith In Their Government.

A lot of Millenials are written off as out-of-touch with politics.

But the truth is, Millenials simply have no faith in the people representing them. Evidence of this is in the record number of Australians enrolled to vote this election – 96.8% of the total eligible voting population. This includes a record number of 18-24 year olds.

The world’s leaders have a responsibility to fight against Climate Change. We can only hope that as the older generations die out, they will be replaced with more switched-on individuals, who are dedicated to helping the planet and the people living on it, rather than continuing to be more preoccupied with the 1%:

“That future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once. You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to.”

– Greta Thunberg

A survey carried out by Triple J found that 89% of young Australians believe the politicians in power aren’t working in the best interests of the planet. And guess what? Those same young people voted Environmental Policy and Climate Change as the most important issues to them, come election time.

That’s pretty damning.

 

 

Younger Generations Are Experiencing Higher Rates Of Mental Illnesses Dubbed ‘Eco-Anxiety’ or ‘Ecological Grief’.

The negative impact Climate Change is having on the physical environment poses real risks when it comes to the Mental Health of young people. A sense of doom where the future contains things like poverty, unemployment, natural disasters and resource shortages are very real issues that young people are having to face.

Even as far back as 2012, the National Wildlife Federation reported that over 200 million Americans would be exposed to serious psychological distress from climate related incidents. Of a study done by Millennium Kids Inc., 94.6% of the target demographic felt that Climate Change would be a problem in the future.

In the face of a changing climate, Eco-Anxiety is only going to become more and more apparent, with Mental Health organisations starting to get on board, such as ReachOut, who have a page dedicated to: How to cope with anxiety about climate change.

The page in question lists a variety of reasons young people might feel strained, stressed or anxious about Climate Change, including:

Feeling like planning for the future is pointless and/or hopeless;

Angry that the people around them aren’t doing anything to help;

Frustration at a lack of action they can take to help;

Worrying about whether it’s responsible to have children (see above) and

Feeling like their future is out of their control.

All very valid points. Climate Change is a hugely relevant issue in the world today, and one that deserves to be treated with urgency.

 


HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?

If you are a young person, the future is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. There are lots of ways you can help the environment in meaningful ways, including:

 

Taking part in conversations with others about Climate Change

Joining the Australian Youth Climate Change Coalition

Taking part in School Strike 4 Climate

Joining the Australian Student Environment Network

Finding articles about ways to help the environment at home

Being active on Social Media Platforms

Joining clean up efforts, such as Sea Shepherd’s Marine Debris Campaign

 

 

cropped-cold-smooth-tasty.-2-1.png

Join the conversation at www.theartofoverthinking.com

 

 

 

Why The Planet Needs People Like Greta Thunberg.

Something worth talking about.

I’m sure you would have recently read or heard about the School Strike for Climate – an international movement of students making a decision not to attend their classes to instead take part in demonstrations surrounding Government inaction to prevent Climate Change.

These demonstrations began largely due to the activism of Greta Thunberg, who stood outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading: Skolstrejk för klimatet (‘School Strike for the Climate’) in August 2018. Since Greta’s activism attracted media attention, it is estimated that over 1.4 million students have joined her in demonstrations and protests across the world.

So who is Greta, and why should we care?

Greta Thunberg: Wikipedia Image

Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old climate activist from Sweden.

But don’t let that fool you. Greta is extremely switched on and has a lot to say – and very rightly so.

When she was 8 years old, Greta realised that Climate Change was a real and worrying issue for the planet, and was concerned that there seemed to be next to no real action being taken to prevent it. She has even admitted to insisting her family become vegan and quit flying to reduce their Carbon Footprint.

Greta credits the Parkland School Activists in Florida for giving her the inspiration to begin her School Climate Strike.

Along with her activism outside Parliament, Greta has also spoken to countless groups of people across the world, including at the Houses of Parliament in London, The United Nations at their Climate Change Summit and TEDxStockholm.

Greta concluded her TEDx talk by saying:

‘We can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.’

Greta has won countless awards since beginning her activism journey, including being nominated by three members of the Norwegian Parliament as a candidate for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize. Time Magazine named Greta one of the 25 most influential young people in 2018, and has also received the German Goldene Kamera ‘Special Climate Protection’ award.

Greta’s activism has also been widely accepted and endorsed by the United Nations, with General Secretary Anotonio Guterres admitting:

‘My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.’

Climate Change is very real, and has already caused irreparable damage to the planet. Some scientists go as far as to say the planet only has 12 years left before we hit the tipping point in global temperature rises.

Climate Change isn’t some far-fetched theory, but a solid, evidence-based fact. NASA has stated:

‘Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.’

Regardless, there are still some Global Leaders that prove difficult, with Donald Trump insisting: ‘…the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.’ Trump also backed up his well-publicized skepticism by pulling America out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, Greta Thunberg has, with the support of the scientific community, brought the issue of Climate Change into the spotlight, and young people are aware – now more than ever – of the impact of their predecessors, whether those predecessors choose to admit it or not.

Climate Change isn’t going away, and in the words of Science Magazine:

‘The enormous grassroots mobilization of the youth climate movement … shows that young people understand the situation. We approve and support their demand for rapid and forceful action … Only if humanity acts quickly can we limit global warming, halt the ongoing mass extinction of animal and plant species, and preserve the natural basis for the food supply and well-being of present and future generations.’

We need people like Greta Thunberg, now more than ever. The planet only has so much time left to act, and in her words:

‘I want you to act as if the house is on fire.’

The next major climate strike to take place globally is scheduled for the 24th of May 2019.

See what the world is saying about Greta Thunberg:

Watch Greta’s TEDx Talk here.

Find out how you can help the environment without breaking a sweat:

http://theartofoverthinking.com/2019/04/10/5-easy-ways-to-help-the-environment/