Leo has weighed in on the bushfires ravaging New South Wales right now, and he’s none too impressed with our wildlife conservation record.
He reposted an earlier post by wildlife sanctuary Aussie Ark, saying, “There have already been significant harmful impacts to wildlife, with entire ecosystems up in smoke and individual species affected, including around 350 Koalas presumed dead – all before the fires reach their peak.”
It got worse. “Australia has the worst mammal extinction rate on Earth, and the country is amongst the worst 7 countries worldwide for biodiversity loss. Australian conservation efforts need a radical overhaul. “
He later reposted the World Economic Forum’s post, whose caption included, “Australian bushfires are creating a terrifying weather phenomenon. 3 people have already died.”
The death toll is actually at four now and fire conditions are expected to worsen as Sydney and parts of New South Wales declare a total fire ban.
But government seems determined to keep denying the obvious links between climate change and the devastating fires.
Bureaucrats from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment who were attending the AdaptNSW forum on Tuesday, held specifically to “showcase best practice” in reducing the impacts of climate change on communities, were instructed not to discuss the links between climate change and bushfires.
And Environment Minister Matt Kean tried to downplay the revelation, describing it as a departmental “miscommunication.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to directly address climate change when asked about the issue on Sunday, saying, “My only thoughts today are with those who have lost their lives and their families.”
Leo was recently lucky enough to spend time with environmental crusader Greta Thunberg and they vowed to support each other’s commitment to securing a brighter future for the planet.
It’s a travesty that even when his own country is literally going up in flames in front of him, that Scott Morrison can’t even find the courage to acknowledge the huge part climate change has to play in the current crisis, hiding behind the weak excuse that, “the time to have those policy discussions are not in the middle of an operational response when lives are at risk.”
Between our immigration policies, treatment of our indigenous communities and inaction and denial in regards to climate change, it’s an embarrassing track record, and thanks to the likes of Leo and Greta, will ensure that Australia is in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.