Bushfires and Climate Change by Kerry Knights

Letter in the Bairnsdale Advertiser 24.6

The past can’t be undone, but the future can be shaped. And what’s so very obvious is that Climate Change is shaping our present. And the future. A succession of esteemed and expert witnesses at the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Management have reiterated that Climate Change is what we are living with right now. It was here before Covid-19, and will be continuing on long after the Covid-19 crisis has abated. 

Unlike Covid-19 where a vaccine is still to be developed and tested, there is absolute clarity around what we can and should do now to mitigate ongoing natural disasters, due to Climate Change. At the Royal Commission hearing, Bureau of Meteorology’s head of Climate Monitoring, Karl Braganza presented to the inquiry in some detail the extent of carbon polluting in Australia and how it has changed our climate.

And how much worse it will get if there is no direct action. Right now. Already he said, the fire season is starting three months earlier in much of south-east Australia. Fire index readings that, in the past we would have seen at the beginning of Summer, we are now seeing at the beginning of Spring. Temperatures are higher, rainfall and humidity lower, soil and vegetation drier and westerly winds blowing from the arid centre of the continent are more frequent.

With memories of the horrific summer months fresh in the minds of all Gippsland residents and beyond, complacency has no place in our present as we shape the future. 

We, as a community, must insist that East Gippsland Shire Council takes this crisis seriously and acts decisively to protect us. Our lives depend on it.