The Blue Green Blog

Selected tags

The bushfires are an untold tragedy for millions of Australians, with the loss of land, homes, and animals. Here is a list of the effects of this devastation:

  • Physical, direct impacts: As of mid-January, over 18 million hectares have burned in the Australian bushfire season 2019–2020, destroying over 5,900 buildings including over 2,800 homes, and killing millions of animals as well as humans.
  • Ecological and biodiversity impacts: Ongoing impacts of the bushfires are estimated to kill a billion animals over the coming months, due to lack of food and lost habitat. The world’s terrestrial biodiversity is concentrated in forests, which are the homes to over 80% of all terrestrial animals, plants and insects.
  • Public health: The smoke and air pollution from the fires resulted in Canberra measuring the worst air quality index of any large city in the world. Wildfires produce harmful smoke and fine particle air pollution, both hazardous to human health.
  • Cross-border impacts: According to the World Meteorological Organization, smoke from the Australian bushfires has travelled across the Pacific and may have reached the Antarctic, affecting cities in Australia, New Zealand and South America.
  • Mental health costs: The fires have caused mental trauma for people who experienced emergency evacuation or loss of their homes and loved ones.
  • Economic costs: Damage to infrastructure affects Australian industries, especially farming and tourism.
  • Climate feedback loops: The fires have had a negative impact on climate change. The 2019-2020 bushfires have already emitted 400 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which leads to global warming and make it more likely for more fires to occur.
  • Pollution: Drinking water catchments are vulnerable to bushfire pollution, as are outside areas such as beaches that are collecting ash that is blown there.
  • Agricultural impacts: Pastures, livestock and vineyards have been burned, water resources have been impacted and dairy, meat, wool and honey production are affected.
  • Public attitudes are changing: The United Nations Environment Programme and other members of the UN will continue to share accurate information on climate change, to combat the misleading false campaigns out there.