The Australia’s Bushfire Crisis

How can we see passed the chaotic discourse of the bushfire crisis and gain some perspective?

The Australia’s Bushfire Crisis

With so much conversation and debate around Australia’s current bushfire crisis, Redhanded thought that it would be appropriate to stop, step back and look at what the biggest learnings from this disaster have been so far, and what these mean for our country going forward. With more fire season to come, it is crucial to maintain perspective on this never before seen global event and remember to consider the long term.

To put some scale to the ‘still out of control’ NSW bushfires, it would take three straight days of consistent rainfall to put out the largest blaze. The scale is quite hard to get your head around.

To try and shed some light on this I have provided an image below showing the current total area burnt across Australia. This currently equates to 10.7million hectares as of the 8th of January. As you can see this is well over half of the entire state of Victoria.

Image and data sourced from The Guardian.

Below is a breakdown of the key takeouts of the bushfire crisis.

Regional unity:

If there was one positive that can come from this, is that the Australian people have stood tall. Despite all the negative commentary on our climate position. The regular, hard-working everyday people of this country have unified and rallied around our regional communities. This is what has and continues to make Australia great. The people who live beyond our city boarders are the epitome of the ANZAC spirit. For those not familiar with these qualities they include endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism, and mateship.

If you don’t believe the ANZAC spirit is alive and well watch this short clip below from US based Australian Actor Ben Lawson.

Brands on the band wagon:

We have seen a lot of major brands making large donations and gestures of goodwill for the bushfire crisis. However, for many brands it should be done with caution. While the intent is fantastic, it can be misconstrued by the public to be ‘taking advantage’ of the situation, in order to elevate their own social purpose. Even with the right intentions, it’s sometimes not the right outcome.

Wildlife the face of disaster:

It’s incredible how the world has been gravitated to images of rescued koalas. This symbol of hope and the bizarre juxtaposition of such devastation has created a movement for quicker and greater action against climate change. Rightly or wrongly the humble Koala has now become the ambassador.

Rural business is getting on with it:

Despite all the unrest and discussion around the negative impact bushfires will have on the Agricultural Industry (Livestock Market), regional and rural businesses are getting on with it. While many major global brands jockey for ‘The Best Samaritan’ title, the world’s largest agricultural businesses are making the most significant impact of all. Investing in supporting regional and rural communities by driving business growth and focusing on what they do best, productivity.

Political unrest:

It’s a shame that such a large-scale disaster is what it takes for much of the Australian public to wake up. The discussion, anger and debate seen in the media is on a scale very rarely seen. What has been interesting is the depth of these complex topics; from climate denial and the Murdoch empire, long-term wildlife impacts, poor political leadership, controlled fuel load burning, Murry Darling Basin water mismanagement, volunteer contribution, fake bushfire charities and the list goes on. The focus however, needs to move from debate to action. With so much conversation, we run the risk of losing sight of the end-game, reducing the impact of climate change.

Like all major disasters there are the good and the bad stories. What has made this different is the global unity that is being created at scale, this is what will drive positive change. To ensure disasters like this don’t continue to happen we need commitment, sacrifice and dedication from everyone. Chin up Australia, we’ve got this.


Written by Stuart Shepherd, Executive Creative Director of Redhanded. 

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