An Ocean Away, Australia Burns

Since Australia’s fire season began in July, the world has witnessed some of Australia’s worst wildfires in decades

Nearly one billion animals have been affected nationwide, approximately 28 people are dead  and thousands of homes are damaged. An ocean away, Australia is on fire.

According to CNN, even though there have been fires in every state, the state of New South Wales has been affected the most. Some of the largest cities in the country, including Sydney and Melbourne, have been hit the hardest. In early December, because of the large amounts of smoke, the air quality in Sydney was 11 times the level that’s considered dangerous. 

Jeffersonville High School student and president of the student council, Amelia Epperson, who is Australian, believes that bushfires are common and that the news coverage should be more focused on the animals affected.

“Every time there’s a bushfire it’s awful,” she said.  “But it’s kind of one of those things where we have them a lot.  But these are pretty bad, these are probably one of our worst ones. Especially with all the animals and stuff. They stem in a rural area so it’s mainly animals as opposed to people dying. I feel like that’s where the lack of coverage comes from because (it’s) animals and not people.”

Jeff High’s Student Council felt that it was needed to have an Academy “Penny War” to raise money for Australia’s animals. The money will be going to Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors Worldwide, which was established by Steve and Terri Irwin in 2002.

 Natalie Bronson, the sponsor of Student Council, explained the fundraiser. 

“The main goal of this fundraiser is twofold…first to raise awareness of an issue happening that is impacting some of our students at Jeff High and secondly, to always be advocates for needs in our community,” Bronson said. “This time, it is just our extended community.”

The Academy “Penny War” will go until Feb. 7, 2020. (Photo by Paige Moore)

“The fires are devastating,” Bronson said. “Droughts are a thing of the past and will be an issue in the future with climate and climate change. The devastating part is that not only are humans displaced and houses destroyed, animals habitats are being destroyed as well as lives being lost. Humans have warnings and are given the opportunity for escape and have shelter locations in stark contrast to animals, who essentially are fighting for their very lives.”

Story by Greta Reel

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