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Opinion| The Problem Will Not Stop at Australia


Caleb Wood
Senior Staff Columnist


Over 25 million acres of land have already burned across the Australian continent. It is a destructive, once in a lifetime sort of event that resembles a plague more than a traditional fire season. Unfortunately, it also looks like it may become the new normal.


These fires, and other catastrophic weather events, like the fires in the Amazon and the torrential downpours in cities like Houston and Miami, arebecoming significantly more common as wedirectly feel the impact of climate change.


As the world’s climate changes, the effects of traditional weather are exacerbated. It is not the sole reason that Australia is burning, – Australian bushfires are a frequent occurrence during their summers but climate change has made the situation so much worse.


To help combat the disaster, money has flowed into Australia en masseIt’s not just millionaires giving, either. Millions have poured in from regular people across the globe.


And while the outpouring of support is great, the response to such a disaster should not have to come from everyday citizens. The possible impact that we can make as an individual is minimal. 


It is often preached that every person must do as much as they possibly can to reduce their carbon footprint. Online, you can find any number of listicles promising better living and a better planet with a few simple practices.


The reality is more complicated.The average person is not creating a large enough carbon footprint where reducing it would even make a difference. Reducing your personal carbon footprint can ease people of their conscience, but shorter showers and skipping straws can only do so much. 


Governments must be the ones to lead action on climate change. And they need to do it before disaster strikes. In Australia, experts warned of increasingly dangerous fire seasons as early as 2008. Waiting until an emergency arises to start helping battle the effects of climate change does little to prevent the next one.


The response to such natural disasters, however, should not and cannot start after they have occurred. Leaders across the world must be the first to lead action against climate change. Their responses must come before these major events occur.Even now Australia’s prime minister will not commit to making reductions in the nation’s carbon emissions and invest in more renewable energy sources.


These dramatic changes in the world’s climate will not always occur in far-away nations. In Alabama, climate change is expected to bring more severe droughts and harsher flooding. And we need our leaders at home to make moves to lessen climate change’s effects. Green energy, cleaner transportation and better preparation for disaster are necessary to survive in this new world. We just need the people with the power to build these to step up.


Today, it is Australia facing disasterIf our leaders don’t act, tomorrow it could beus. 





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