Bushfires: Australia issues health warnings as Sydney air quality plummetsBMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6914 (Published 10 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6914
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Large bushfires in Australia, which have been blazing since September, have killed 26 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and scorched an area twice the size of the state of Maryland. They have been fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record and exacerbated by climate change. Large bushfires in Australia have health warnings as Sydney air quality plummets . In the massive bushfire, Australia's wildlife is helpless and populations are being devastated. More than 1 billion animals are now thought to have been killed by the record-breaking wildfires in Australia . The updated figure includes animals killed directly by the fires and those that have already died by indirect causes, such as starvation, dehydration or habitat loss. The estimate includes mammals, birds, and reptiles, but does not include frogs, insects and other invertebrates.
The fires have been devastating for Australia’s wildlife and wild places, as massive areas of native bushland, forests, and parks have been scorched. Australia is home to a rich diversity of animals, including 300 species native to the continent. Scientists are concerned that the wildfires may wipe out entire species, or alter some ecosystems permanently. Approximately 34 species and subspecies of native Australian mammals have become extinct within the last 200 years-the highest extinction rate of any region in the world, according to the University of Sydney.
1. Nogrady, Bianca. "Bushfires: Australia issues health warnings as Sydney air quality plummets." (2019). (accessed January 9, 2019)
2. Over 1 billion animals feared dead in Australian wildfires, experts say. USA Today. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/01/08/australian-fires-ov...) (accessed January 9, 2019)
3. Scientist estimates that more than a billion animals killed by Australian wildfires. NBC News. (https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/more-1-billion-animals-kille...) (accessed January 9, 2019)
Competing interests: No competing interests
Bush fires in Sydney, polar bears visiting supermarkets in northern villages, doom and gloom forecasts, and Greenland disappearing at seven times its previously recorded speed - are snippets of the big picture. Nature strikes back. According to Aristotle knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. Wisdom he opines is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. There was a seismic shift in this vision heralded by Rene Descartes and latterly by Francis Bacon who held that nature is there for the taking and knowledge is power to harness nature among other things.1,2,3
It is no surprise that man's aggression built on the basis of unbridled science and technology ignited by Descartes and Bacon have smashed the friendship of man and nature. It is now no longer mother nature but slave nature. But as many have said (Jerome Lejeune, Pope Francis et al) "God often forgives, man sometimes forgives, but nature never forgives." The mind-set behind climate change is the mind-set of licentious pillaging of nature. It is underpinned by an alienation of nature by man which was caused by Bacon's disparaging encouragement to aggressively exploit nature.
1. Francis Bacon. Meditationes Sacrae. De Haeresibus. 1597 Discours 6.
2. R Descartes. Discours de la methode,texteet commentaire. E Gilson, J Vrin.Paris.
3. Aristotle. Metaphysics. 1553.
Competing interests: No competing interests