Australia is on fire

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by Peyton Boughner

Australia is on fire.

Since September, the Australian bush fires have been raging and growing in intensity causing massive devastation to the environment, wildlife and people that live there. At one point, the fires are so massive that a red glow could be seen from the International Space Station over Australia. 

Many people have been donating money and manpower to help stop the fires. One of these countries sending help is New Zealand. In September, New Zealand began sending firefighters to Australia, but as the fires quickly began to grow New Zealand had sent a total of 120 firefighters to help Australia. Early in January, another 22 were sent. While this may seem like a small number, countries from around the world, including the United States, have sent similar amounts of firefighters to help combat the deadly fires. 

Many Australians have been physically and emotionally distraught by the fires as they have had to abandon their homes. There have been reports of people leaving their homes only to return to molten piles of steel and ash. 

Goshen resident and paraprofessional at Goshen High School, Lachlan Cavanagh, was born and raised in Australia. He has many family members living there on the east coast where a lot of the fires are raging. 

“The issue is fairly personal to me,” said Cavanagh. “It’s been a little bit since I’ve heard from my family. Only recently have they been able to get a message out to me saying that they were okay. I’ve been using a lot of humor to distract myself from it.”

Many people in Australia haven’t seen sunshine for weeks. This is due to the smoke filling the air, which creates a barrier in the sky that the sun literally cannot shine through. Many animals have died, and some scientists worry that entire species will soon be deemed extinct. Other animals seem to be living together. The wombat, a creature native to Australia that burrows and makes underground homes, has been seen has been seen coaxing other small animals into its burrows to help save them.

Australia has support that they have been receiving from all around the world. 

“It’s breathtaking to see this in humanity,” said Cavanagh. “It’s a testament to the attitudes shown by people, and it’s really a dramatic thing to see.”

Many people in the States, especially in the west, have had experience with forest fires, and can understand the pain, or get an idea of what they feel. 

Upon being asked what it’s like for Cavanagh, he said, “It’s weird, tragic and relieving. [I have] almost a guilty feeling because I’m here. Somewhat of a survivor’s guilt or remorse for lack of a better term.”

Cavanagh shared an anecdote towards the end of the interview about how many people will view problems in life. “Two cars were driving down a highway, and the car out ahead had a man in it who was smoking. The man behind could see this and saw him throw a lit cigarette butt out the window. Eventually the second man) gets the man  ahead of him to pull over, and asks him why he did it. The first man says, “It’s not my problem.””

Even if many people will view a problem as “It’s not my problem” it may one day become your problem, or even other people’s problems.



GHS English Teacher


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