Our land is our life. If it dies, we die.
We need to heal our land.
GHG & Wildfires
If you could take all the cars off the road in Australia for 2 years, or prevent a repeat of the black Summer fires of 2019-2020, it would have the same GHG benefit. (Bushfire CO2 emissions were between 830 million and 1.2 billion tonnes in three months. Source: Future Directions International https://apo.org.au/node/308453)
If you could prevent this, what would be your reasoning?
Our first C4C project is directly funding Indigenous ranger fire training to stop extreme fires.
2019-2020 black summer fires impact by the numbers
- An estimated 6 million hectares were burned. That is burning an area bigger than Ireland plus over 80 other countries!!!
- Almost 3 billion creatures were killed or displaced – It is the worst single event for wildlife in Australia, among the worst in the world and is likely to push some species into extinction, according to the study, funded by WWF Australia. University of Sydney Prof Chris Dickman, who coordinated the study, said that figure was a conservative estimate.
- 11 types of bees close to extinction – bees are vital to functioning ecosystems, since about 88% of flowering plants need some form of pollination https://www.ari.vic.gov.au/research/fire/bushfire-response-2020-impacts-on-native-bees
- Over 5,900 buildings were destroyed. (Many people are still waiting for their homes to be rebuilt 2 years later)
- At least 34 people were killed during the fires.
- Another 450 people died from the smoke.
- The CO2 emissions were double those from all human sources in 2019.
- Consequently, health and environmental impacts were felt in multiple other countries.
- The 2019-20 Black Summer Fires cost $103 billion in property damage and economic losses making it Australia’s costliest natural disaster to date.
- Tourism sector was set to lose at least $4.5billion due to the Black Summer fires. https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Crisis-Summer-Report-200311.pdf
- Bushfires produce fine particulate air pollution, which can threaten human health even during relatively short exposures. As a result of intense smoke and air pollution from the fires Canberra and Sydney saw levels of particulate matter 12 to 23 times higher than the levels considered hazardous.
- Smoke from the Australian bushfires also drifted across the Pacific Ocean, leading to hazardous air quality in not only major cities in Australia, but also New Zealand and even Argentina and Chile. https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/9ebbe1b54dc847f2a7dd01917c9f3071
- Breathing and heart problems surged during the Black Summer bushfire season, causing researchers to warn climate change requires better fire-prevention strategies to reduce health problems. https://7news.com.au/news/bushfires/black-summer-led-to-large-health-burden-c-5019136
What are the direct health costs and resultant economic cost of having a mega fire happen every 5 to 10 years?
Australia is among the most fire-prone countries in the world. In fact, bushfires increased in frequency by 40% in the five years to 2016.
It can take 10 – 15 years to reabsorb carbon from a bushfire season.
Our forests are not getting the chance to regenerate before the next onslaught.
The 2019-2020 summer fires impacted more plant species in a single fire season than anything since European settlement Recovery will never be 100% – the landscape simply can’t keep up. The cost of the loss of natural wealth is another important aspect which is sometimes overlooked.
Economically and environmentally, can we afford to do same old same old?
The control and reduction of bushfires is significant to the GHG equation for three reasons:
- Globally, bushfires will produce huge volumes of GHG which, from the most conservative estimates, will remain in the atmosphere for seven months contributing to global warming.
- The theory that the CO2 produced by bushfires is ultimately GHG neutral is no longer correct. bushfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, producing greater volumes of CO2 in the atmosphere, while reducing regrowth and hence the capacity to sequester carbon back into vegetation.
- By preventing bushfires, and enhancing the growth of stable vegetation, carbon is drawn out of the atmosphere and stored organically by photosynthesis. This actively reduces GHG in the atmosphere.
Source: Christopher Johns – Future Directions International https://apo.org.au/node/308453
Recommendation 18 from the 2020 Royal Commission
This is recommendation 18 from the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. https://naturaldisaster.royalcommission.gov.au/publications
Recommendation 18.1 Indigenous land and fire management and natural disaster resilience
All levels of government “should engage further with Traditional Owners to explore the relationship between Indigenous land and fire management and natural disaster resilience”.
Recommendation 18.2 Indigenous land and fire management and public land management
All levels of government “should explore further opportunities to leverage Indigenous land and fire management insights, in the development, planning and execution of public land management activities”.