For the past week, every social media site has been rightfully flooded with posts about the tragic fires in Australia. Celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and P!nk have all donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to aid efforts and many other celebrities have encouraged their fans to do the same. People all over the world have donated money, and there are countless posts about how to make "kangaroo pouches" to assist injured animals.
These devastating fires have claimed the lives of 25 people and 500 million animals. The Australian fire seasons, usually running from December to March, have been getting progressively worse as global warming increasingly affects extreme weather. While the fires seem incredibly far from the United States, they are stunningly similar to the fires California experiences, which similarly are experiencing the same increased effects of global warming. The fires in Australia are a global call to action to do more than simply donate money: to vote for politicians who plan to combat climate change.
We live in a world that has been forced to rely upon the wealth of multi-millionaire celebrities in an effort to protect the lives of human beings and animals across the globe. It is unjust that citizens can no longer depend on their elected government officials to safeguard lives or the earth. While the disaster in Australia may seem far away, we live in a world that is increasingly inundated with natural disasters; Puerto Rico just suffered a tragic earthquake, and Jakarta has been battling mass flooding and torrential rains. Global warming doesn't discriminate against what country may face catastrophy next.
Small acts of sustainability and donations to organizations that promote positive change and relief are vital. However, these actions cannot offset the dramatic effects of climate change. It is up to voters to change the law-making body.
The fires in Australia are a disastrous signal of what a world without climate reform looks like. It is the responsibility of government officials to do everything in their power to prevent the harmful and life-threatening effects of global warming. Here in the United States, your vote in local, state, and federal elections can have an irreversible effect on climate change. If you want to prevent more tragedies like the catastrophic Australian fires, voting for politicians who understand the threat of global warming, and intend to work to combat it, is the most comprehensive method.
If you'd like more information about your local elections and candidates, check out VOTE411
If you've heard about these recent global disasters and would like to donate or learn more about them, here are some tools:
Australian Bushfires: Australian Red Cross
Earthquake in Puerto Rico: Hispanic Federation
Floods in Jakarta: Mercy Relief