Every wildfire season, news around the world is filled with the damage that the fires cause to forests and other meagre resources. Each year the fires are bigger and longer, causing both long term and short term damage to the environment. The goal set at the Paris Agreement 2015, to keep the global average temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels seems to be slipping away.
Climate change is caused due to the trapping of heat by greenhouse gases like CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, ozone, etc. in the atmosphere. 100 companies are believed to contribute to 71% of the global pollution.World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF)has recognized climate change as the leading cause behind the increasing and intensifying. The trees, when burning in the forest fires release the same greenhouse gases that have lead them to that point, thus we are stuck in a vicious cycle.
Fires are intensifying and increasing in number with each coming year. Thethreatis not just to the forest land, or biodiversity but also to surrounding settlements, economy, livelihood. The toxic fumes that are generated during the fires can have lasting effects on the health of the surrounding population. Forests in Australia almost saw the extinction of Koala bears along with acute disturbance to the habitat of billion animalsamong which at least a million are estimated to have died in fire. Some wildfires are caused due to natural phenomena but some are caused by humans to clear the forest vegetation. One of its most dangerous fires of 2020 was caused due to a gender reveal.
Due to climate change some forests are becoming more dry, such forests are more prone to catch fire and cause loss of life and resources. California, Amazon, Australia, Indonesia and many more, all see natural fire season; now even a cold place like Russiahas started to experience them. Times have changed and it has not been this clear ever to see what the reason could be. Scientists all around world believe that climate change is the biggest contributing factor.
It is not just an issue for the country that experiences the fires but aglobal problemwhich needs a global solution. Paris Agreement (CoP24) could have been a starter but it has failed to make the impact that it could have as the agreement is not binding and that the participating countries can easily back out. An improvement to the existing plan is needed and the people need to start pressurizing their governments to do more.
Solutions at an individual level are still not to be found but at a bigger scale, it is necessary that the governments around the globe start taking action against the corporations responsible for environmental degradation. It is on us as consumers to be mindful of not using products which are leading to deforestation for eg. palm oil in Indonesia. Moreover, individuals need to also take caution in what they do and the consequences that their actions can have on the nature. Forests are the lungs of the Earth and without them thriving, we will come to a stand still.