Articles on bushfires 2020

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Industrial activities like mining, fossil fuel combustion, and cement production release mercury into the environment. Shutterstock

Plants safely store toxic mercury. Bushfires and climate change bring it back into our environment

Plants can store mercury and keep it from contaminating waterways, air and soils. Unfortunately, that mercury is released when plants burn.
When bushfires break out anywhere across Australia, a new national bushfire defence force – like army reservists – could be deployed. AAP/DFES Lewis van Bommel

Australia needs a national fire inquiry – these are the 3 key areas it should deliver in

There is a real risk a national inquiry could get bogged down in politics, or not lead to real change. But we need more federal action on bushfires. Our old approaches are broken.
About 195,000 Australians volunteer with the nation’s bushfire services. The NSW Rural Fire Service is the biggest, with more than 71,000 volunteers. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Value beyond money: Australia’s special dependence on volunteer firefighters

Australia's rural firefighting organisations hold a special place in the nation's heart. Part of what makes them so interesting is how they are organised and funded.
The United Nations predicts the world will be home to nearly 10 billion people by 2050 – making global greenhouse emission cuts ever more urgent. NASA/Joshua Stevens

As Earth’s population heads to 10 billion, does anything Australians do on climate change matter?

To be clear, I'm not advocating compulsory population control, here or anywhere. But we do need to consider a future with billions more people, many of them aspiring to live as Australians do now.
Young people, like teen activist Izzy Raj-Seppings, have directly participated in prevention and emergency relief efforts this bushfire season. Joel Carrett/AAP

Bushfire education is too abstract. We need to get children into the real world

One problem with the Australian Curriculum bushfire content statements is that they are relatively abstract and detached from children’s lived experiences.
Glossy black cockatoo populations on Kangaroo Island have been decimated. But a few precious survivors remain. Flickr

Conservation scientists are grieving after the bushfires – but we must not give up

The destruction of recent fires is challenging our belief that with enough time, love and money, every threatened species can be saved. But there is plenty we can, and must, now do.
Actor Russell Crowe, who lives in Nana Glen, in northeast New South Wales, with neighbours. The area was hit by bushfires in early November 2019. Russell Crowe/Twitter

Celebrity concern about bushfires could do more harm than good. To help they need to put boots on the ground

For attracting attention and money to a cause, celebrity-driven attention is hard to beat. But there's also a downside.
At least 250 threatened species have had their habitat hit by fires. Gena Dray

Six million hectares of threatened species habitat up in smoke

Approximately 70 nationally threatened species have had at least 50% of their range burnt, while nearly 160 threatened species have had more than 20% burnt.

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