Political ecology in, and of, the Australian bushfires
Source TitleUndisciplined Environments
University of Melbourne Author/sBatterbury, Simon
AffiliationSchool of Geography
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBatterbury, S. (2020). Political ecology in, and of, the Australian bushfires. Undisciplined Environments
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access URLPublished version
2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year since records began (Bureau of Meteorology, 2020). From November 2019 and into January 2020 we have experienced fires of a new magnitude. There have already been almost 40 lives lost, 6,000 properties burned to the ground, and an area larger than England and Wales has burned across four states. The continent needs a combination of better preparedness, heeding Indigenous tradition and knowledge, pushing those in power to heed the gravity of the emergency, pulling back on fossil fuel exploitation and the hemorrhaging of poorly taxed corporate profits that results from it, and blaming the real culprits. For engaged political ecologists, we have work to do on all of these. We need Federal level recognition and full participation in strong international and national climate actions, assistance to affected communities and households from all three levels of government, listening to and acting with Australian youth who have had enough of climate inaction, and – for some I hope – heeding a degrowth agenda that will really challenge free market corporate greed, and perhaps hasten a sustainability transition. Teaching, and better engagement, could be our own small contribution to a better climate and bushfire political ecology for Australia.
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