English version by Lara Gastaldi
After the disaster that destroyed the Amazon forest a few months ago, it is the Australian continent the new sufferer. Heavy damage was caused by fires and animals paid the highest price; the number of victims among Australian species is immeasurable.
The fires which have been affecting Australia for weeks have now reached a relevant amount; these are far more than the burnings which have hit other regions of the world in the past such as California, Siberia or the Amazon forest. Fires in the Australian bush represent a natural and physiological factor for this biome, where the burning of shrubs and brushwood is certainly not an extraordinary event. However, the scale and intensity of the fires that this country has faced in the past recent weeks are extraordinary, which have been intensified by the influence of humans’ irresponsible and business-centric actions.
Although the fire issue is – at the moment – slightly diminished thanks to the rains which hit the country, the damage is immeasurable. In addition to the wrecked buildings and houses, the cost of fires is tremendously high, not only for human beings but also for animals.
The University of Sydney has estimated that about 480 million animals died in 2019 due to Australian fires. Because of the most recent wave of flames, however, about 8.000 koalas have already deceased, while Kangaroo Island, the island of the kangaroos, has been evacuated.
Animals’ deaths occurred not only by the hand of the fire but also due to the progressive transformation into ash of the eucalyptus forests, which are the fundamental food sources for koalas. Moreover, the forest areas are necessary for the survival of other Australian animal species, such as opossums, wombats, wallabies or platypuses.
The terrible consequences of the fires debated and the reasons behind them have been abundantly discussed. Global warming is the great culprit, which has triggered a series of collateral issues, such as winds and droughts – which massively contribute to intensifying the extent of burnings.
In this situation, it would seem no longer sufficient to contain the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 ° by 2050, as settled by the Paris agreements. Nonetheless, governments are doing very little or nothing at all to keep their commitment – and the Australian government is one of them. Indeed, the Australian economy is still strongly connected to coal, whose industry is supported and promoted by the current government. Moreover, the Australian conservative government strongly disapproves a national economy’s decarbonisation.