After a spate of rainstorms, officials announced that over 60 bushfires have been contained in Australia’s state of New South Wales since September. However, this relief is only temporary, and not just because the state must now deal with flooding because of the downpour. The raging fires took the lives of people and thousands of animals, destroying natural landscapes, homes, and businesses in their fake. Rebuilding will take years and an incredible amount of money to complete; the Australian way of life has been irrevocably altered. And some are quick to point the role that climate change has played in all of this.
Residents are concerned over the failure of the government, especially Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to take a stance against climate change, which they believe had led to the hotter and dryer conditions that have allowed dozens of bushfires to consume the country. They want action from their leadership to potentially mitigate the impact of future natural disasters that could be caused or exacerbated by climate change.
But even if the country’s leadership heed those concerns, life for Australians would still change. The country would likely move away from fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change, and this would impact the country’s largest export and a major source of jobs: coal. Furthermore, farmers should reconsider crops such as cotton or rice that require a lot of moisture, and building regulations should adapt to protect against future fires. And all of this may have to happen with diminished tourism profits.
With Australia’s temperate climate a thing of the past, residents and tourists alike have to curtail the sorts of outdoor activities that the country is known for. Sydney alone experienced 81 days of dangerous air quality over the last year, mostly a result of the bushfires. The wildlife that has always been a draw has greatly perished, but it’s not just tourism that will suffer. Australia’s agricultural industry can only hope to successfully adapt and minimize profit shrinkage in the aftermath of the bushfires and in the impending face of further climate change.
For now, residents must cobble the pieces of their lives back together as much as possible while urging their government to stop downplaying the impact of climate change.