At this point in time, multiple bushfires continue to rage through Australia and are showing little sign of smoldering out of existence at this time. These bushfires have drastically grown in magnitude since December of 2019. With the turn of the new year came a lasting and ferocious wildfire from the month prior, one that has grown so large in size in such a small amount of time that it has everyone in disbelief. While these persistent fires have affected the entire nation of Australia, they have struck the region of New South Wales with the most blind fury. These fires have not only ravaged the natural beauty of Australia, such as the Blue Mountains, but have also dealt a considerable amount of damage to the homes of unsuspecting Australians near the major cities of Sydney and Melbourne. In December, the smoke from the fires even led to the air quality in Sydney to increase to eleven times the “hazardous” level.
After hearing just a fraction of the issues that Australia is facing, one may be wondering why they have not been thoroughly informed about this worldwide travesty that is occurring down under—at least compared to another fire that left the world in shock: the Notre Dame de Paris fire.
The Notre Dame fire, which occurred Apr. 15, 2019, led to the near complete decimation of the cathedral’s roof and spire. Other than the burning and collapsing of the roof and the spire, any other major damages to the cathedral cannot be spoken for. The majority of the cathedral’s religious relics were unharmed, only a small number of the stained glass windows saw damage and most of the historical paintings inside the structure were only smoke damaged. So, while the fire that took place within the Notre Dame cathedral was tragic, it can be argued that it was in no way equivalent to the tragedy that we are witnessing in Australia.
So why did a majority of media outlets have hourly “checkups” on the state of the Notre Dame fire, while an individual is forced to search for any stories concerning the South Wales bushfires? Why did so many world powers and billionaires donate to the reconstructing of Notre Dame in such a small amount of time, one billion euros in a week, while Australia has mostly had to combat this ongoing natural disaster using funds coming primarily from Australian natives and their government? As time rushes by, these bushfires continue to show no sign of subsiding, as they have recently conjoined to create one fire along the eastern side of Australia, which has been said to be 1.5 million acres in size—equivalent to the size of the state of Delaware.
Despite Australia being on fire for months now, the country has only recently started receiving donations and other means of funding from foreign contributors. If the Notre Dame fire, which only physically affected the citizens of Paris, received extensive media coverage and a massive influx of donations within days, why have we not seen a similar approach being taken towards an event that has affected more than half of the population of Australia? We as individuals must confront these fires as if we were facing the same problem.
While most aren’t able to donate $690,000 like Amazon, the average American can still donate to the Australian red cross or help raise awareness on the matters taking place. We must come together and do whatever we can to aid Australia in its time of need. We must act now because if we wait any longer, there simply may not be anything left for us to save.
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