These images were taken in Canberra during the height of the Australian bushfires over the 2019-2020 summer. Shrouded in smoke, Canberra – “The Bush Capital,” was lucky to avoid the devastation felt elsewhere, but certainly didn’t get off scot-free. Although Canberra itself was untouched by the flames, more than a third of our summer had hazardous air quality and for a number of days had the worst air quality in the world. We didn’t need a Covid-19 pandemic to introduce business closures, stay-at-home orders, and social isolation; the climate crisis and the now-named ‘Black Summer’ fires had given us that already.
Changes in Australia’s climate policies and strategies
Honestly, everything needs to change. We need to agree to the international targets and then put policies in place to exceed them. Incentives, training and support for workers in environmentally harmful industries to retrain and transition to environmentally friendly employment. Pass laws that no more fossil fuel or gas mining sites be approved, and those that exist already need to wind down and close. Invest in sustainable energy and other technology and research so that Australia can become a world leader, draw in investment and talent, and reduce and then end our economy’s reliance on fossil fuels and minerals. Programs to end deforestation, stop farmers damaging our land and water supplies, and protect World Heritage Listed sites; noting that we should be increasing the number of Heritage listed sites. Less roads, more trains. Subsidise and support infrastructure, manufacturing and purchase of electric vehicles, solar power and home battery storage, along with other environmentally friendly changes around the home. Vastly improve our recycling capabilities as a nation, while introducing laws to reduce single use plastics and harmful products in general. Force companies to remove the ‘green tax’ on vegan produce/products so that it is an affordable and viable option for all, not just the wealthy. Make all businesses accountable for their environmental impact, while offering support to small businesses to reduce their impact as market prices adjust to reflect an eco-friendly society.
We need our politicians to think beyond their short term in power and think about the longevity of life for all living things in this country specifically and on this planet generally. We need to end oppositional politics about whether the climate crisis exists, the extent of its impact, and whether it is caused by humans. We need bipartisan politics where debate is on how best to achieve targets, not whether the targets should be met at all. We need the ‘leaders’ of our country to stop Australia from becoming an international joke and completely isolated economically as other nations refuse to trade with polluters.