Hopefully you have already heard about what is going on in Australia right now. If not, we are here to shed some light on the situation. Australia usually goes through a drought season which involve bush fires, but at the end of last year around September, the Australia fires became more serious than ever before. Many have to leave their homes and animals are dying.
Following a prolonged drought from 2017, every state in Australia has reached temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius which is equal to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. There have been at least 25 deaths, approximately 1 billion animals have been killed, over 2000 homes have been ruined and more than 15.6 million acres of burned land. From bushes, to forests, to park's, they have been burned. There are more than 100 wildfires up the southeast coast. New South Wales and Victoria have been hit the hardest.
Many are wondering how this is happening. Experts are saying the Australia fires are a result of humans causing the climate change. Human caused climate change is indeed a big factor in this crisis Australia is facing. It lengthens the fire season, increases the everyday temperature and decreases the precipitation. The climate pattern that seems to be influencing the drought is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). The IOD is usually the cause of droughts, bush fires and heavy floods.
What is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)?
By definition the IOD is the difference in sea surface temperature between two areas – a western pole in the Arabian Sea (western Indian Ocean) and an eastern pole in the eastern Indian Ocean south of Indonesia. As a result of this dipole, there has been an extremely high rainfall, which has resulted to floods in eastern Africa and droughts in southeast Asia and Australia.
This has been one of the strongest Indian Ocean dipole events in history. There are two types of events when discussing the IOD. You have a positive event and and negative event. The positive event is what Australia is facing currently. A positive event is when there is less rainfall across the southern part of Australia and the top end, warmer sea surface temperatures in the western part of the Indian ocean in relation to the eastern side and winds are more eastern causing less clouds over Australia. A negative event is pretty much the opposite; coolers sea surface temperatures in the west, more rainfall and winds are more on the western side causing more clouds.
As of Wednesday January 8, the Indian Ocean Dipole has returned to neutral. So what does this mean exactly? This means that Australia's annual monsoon will soon arrive. The IOD is expected to remain neutral in the coming months, having little influence on the Australian and global climate.
How can we help those of the Australia fires?
First things first, dig deeper into what is happening in Australia. More news has been arising everyday since the end of last year. Their normal bush fire season is from December - March, but with human caused climate change it has become insanely catastrophic this time of year.
There are a number of ways to help those who have lost, but before you give make sure it is a reliable organization.
Fire Departments - You can make a donation to the NSW Rural Fire Service or a local fire brigade by clicking here. Victoria was hit hard along side New South Wales; donating directly to the state fire authorities helps tremendously to both areas of Australia. The donations also help those families of volunteer firefighters who may have lost their life while on duty fighting these fires.
Australian Red Cross - Donations to the Red Cross help give people the support they need to get back up on their feet and to get through the disaster they are facing. The donations help support people at evacuation centers and recovery hubs. It also supports the volunteers, provides emergency assistance and help families and communities prepare for disasters.
GIVIT - This Australian nonprofit is currently supporting a number of campaigns. These campaigns include the Queensland (QLD) fires, the NSW fires and a number of drought relief campaigns. The funds received through donations to this organization will go toward buying essential items that people need to get by.
How can we help the animals?
An estimate of 1 billion animals have been killed from the Australia fires. As the fires continue the numbers keep increasing. At least 8000 koalas have been burned to death by the fires. Many organizations are coming together to rescue and rehabilitate the animals found in the fires. There are a few organizations you can look into to help this cause.
WIRES Wildlife Rescue - The largest wildlife rescue organization in Australia. They mainly run in New South Wales (NSW), but have been partnering up with organizations in response to the fires. The are accepting donations to go towards their emergency fund. This fund will help rescue and care for those affected by the drought and the fires. If you live in the area and cant donate, they are accepting volunteers as well.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - This hospital is located in NSW and is the worlds first rehabilitation facility. They focus on the care and upholding the life of wild koalas. The donations received will help them rescue and treat the koalas. In an effort to potentially get them back out into their natural habitat, they need help. Donations also help provide more information for research on how to treat them.
If it is not this tragic event then it is another. Global warming and climate change as we have been seeing over the years is real. If we do not change our ways, while bringing up our little ones to live more consciously, we can end up without a place to call home. Our mission is one small step among many that we have to face. We all live on this planet and it is good to help each other out. Be the change you wish to see.