Things That Matter

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words—18 Photos That Show Just How Devastating Australia’s Bushfires Have Been

Bushfires across Australia have shown no sign of slowing down, forcing the evacuation of entire towns and shutting down major highways along the way. At least 17 people have died since the bushfire season began in August and millions of animals have been killed across some 19,300 square miles of devastation. For nearby towns and cities, a toxic cloud of smoke poses an ongoing health threat to residents, forcing many to wear ventilation masks when outdoors. The 2019–2020 Australian bushfire season marks the most destructive and widespread season in the country’s history.

Exhausted firefighters are facing at least two more months on the frontline before the horrific and unprecedented bushfire season shows any sign of letting up. 

Thousands of homes have been lost and authorities estimate at least half a billion animals —whether native Australian or livestock relied on by farmers— have been killed in the fires.

Most of the nation’s cities and towns are also or have been, blanketed in thick, hazardous bushfire smoke.

But words and statistics aside, nothing explains the horror locals and firefighters are dealing with, more poignantly than pictures.To show you just how serious the situation is, we made a list of images that prove that things are absolutely terrifying in the Land Down Under. A warning, some of the following photos are graphic.

Fire fighters are saving people, animals, and homes in Australia

Australia glows like lava after being consumed by bushfire

Over 1 billion animals feared dead in Australian wildfires

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???? Donating to help Australian Wild Life ???? . Hi there!! First of all: I am so sorry for not wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR so far! . The first day of January I was still recovering – I must confess???? – from an amazing night out with friends. The second day I got a message from my friends “down under” aka Australia, saying how bad the situation had become. Ever since, I have been taking a look into it and could not keep my mind off it???? Turtlee Green started because of the beauty Australia showed me ???????? . That is why I decide to DONATE at least 10% of the sales in January of the webshop to the Wildlife Centre of Mallacoota. That story struck me the most: On NYE people had to gather at the beach and had to be evacuated by boat. There was no other way out since all the escape routes had gone up in flames. I cannot imagine how terrifying that must have been. Sadly, the animals did not have the opportunity. If you want to donate yourself: I’ve putted the link up in my bio! Other great organizations to donate to: to support the volunteer firefighters????‍???? My lovely friend @me_and_mrb adopted a Koala for my birthday 2years ago ????they do amazing work in preserving Wildife ???? . Before I forget. 3 virtual kisses to everybody out there that has made Turtlee Green possible, without you I could not be helping right now???????? I wish you all the best in 2020 ???????????? . #australianfires #prayforaustralia???????? #donating #goodcause #turtleegreen #zerowaste #greenmovement

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Last week, an ecologist at the University of Sydney estimated that nearly half a billion animals had been wiped out since Australia’s devastating wildfires started spreading in September. Now, he says that number has soared to over 800 million in New South Wales and over 1 billion nationally. 

A kangaroo that died trying to escape 

A juvenile kangaroo tragically caught on a fence trying to escape the devastating Cudlee Creek fire in South Australia. Locals Terry Reardon and Joan Gibbs managed to save their Fox Creek Rd property although the entire area around was burnt, killing hundreds of native animals. 

Thousands of firefighters are battling fires for hours on end

No filters. Australia is red from wildfires.

You know it’s serious when wild animals ask human for help

Matrix for Daily Mail Australia

The Kangaroo Is Drenched In Water After Approaching A Human For Help

Bushfire evacuation

Thick plumes of smoke rise from bushfires along the coast of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia, on January 4 

Australian Maritime Safety Authority via Reuters

Burned animal carcasses lie along the road 

The New Batlow Hotel via Reuters

After bushfires swept through Batlow, New South Wales, Australia, on January 5, dozens of animals were seen dead along the road. This image is from a video taken through a car window.

A local shelters near a wharf in Mallacoota, Victoria, where horrific bushfires turned the sky blood red. 

The Australia Flag flies under red skies

Getting away from the fires in Mallacoota

Finn Burns, one of the many kids to flee the Mallacoota fires via water. The terrifying photo went global.

Rubble everywhere

The rubble of buildings sits on the ground after they were destroyed by fire, in Cobargo, New South Wales, Australia. 

Cow lies dead in Coogalite

Cars are melting in the fires

Charred cars line the streets of NSW

Like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie

The fires are hot enough to melt vehicles

Molten metal running from a burnt-out car in Victoria.

It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct


It Could Be Time To Say Goodbye To Your Salsa Forever As Tomatoes And Chilies Are In Danger Of Going Extinct


Two of Latin America’s most important ingredients – staples of cuisines across the region – are in danger of possible extinction thanks to climate change. Tomatoes and chilies both make up a huge part of traditional recipes from Mexico to Brazil and Argentina to Cuba – and they’re close to disappearing from grocery stores everywhere.

We know that tomato and chili are two fundamental ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Due to the threats suffered by its main pollinator, the bumblebee, these basic ingredients could disappear forever.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on the planet. But one of the most at-risk species is the humble bumble bee. These often feared insects are a vital source of pollination for thousands of plant and flower species around the world – if they disappear so too do the species of plants that depend on them.

Pollinators are species of great importance for a healthy environment. They are responsible for the the diversity and health of various biomes. Across Latin America, the bumble bee is largely responsible for the pollination of modern agriculture and this could have a major impact on the production of tomatoes and chilis.

Unfortunately, bumblebees are currently threatened, resulting in the possible extinction of different vegetables, including tomatoes and chili.

But why does the tiny bumble bee matter at all?

The bumble bee belongs to the insect family Apidae, which includes hundeds of different species of bumblebees. In fact, the bumble bee can be found on every continent except Antarctica and plays an outsized role in agriculture. The insects are often larger than honey bees, come in black and white varieties and often feature white, yellow, or orange stripes. This genus belongs to the Apidae family that includes different species commonly known as bumblebees. They’re almost entirely covered by very silky hairs. An adult bumblebee reaches 20 millimeters or more and feeds primarily on nectar from flowering plants. A curious fact is that females have the ability to sting, while males do not.

Bumblebees are epic pollinators of the tomato and chili plantS. Together with different species, the bumblebee helps produce many staple foods that are part of healthy diets around the world. If these become extinct the eating habits of all Latinos would suffer drastic changes as several vegetables would disappear.

So why are bumblebees in danger?

The main threat of these insects is the pesticides used in modern agriculture. That is why it is necessary to avoid consuming food produced in this way. We can all help the bumblebee planting plants, protecting native species and especially not damaging their natural environment.

But climate change is also wreaking havoc on the breeding patters of bumblebees – leading to colony collapse. With fewer colonies there is less breeding and therefore fewer bees around the world to pollinate our global crops.

Can you imagine a world without tomatoes or chilies?

Salsa. Moles. Pico de gallo. Ketchup. Chiles rellenos. Picadillo. All of these iconic Latin American dishes would be in danger of going extinct along with the bumblebee – because what’s a mole without the rich, complex flavors of dried chilies?

Several groups are already working hard to help fund programs that would work to conserve the dwindling bumblebee populations. While others are working out solutions that could perhaps allow tomatoes and chilies to self-pollinate – much as other plants already do.

She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

Things That Matter

She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

Markus Shreiber / Associated Press

Racism and white privilege are front and center in the climate change battle thanks to a viral photo of five climate change activists that was cropped to remove the only woman of color. The ‘terrible mistake’ has sparked an outcry among the public and prompted soul-searching at the Associated Press – the organization responsible for erasing the only Black woman in the photo.

The incident highlights the erasure of people of color from activist circles and the silencing of their voices to elevate those of their white peers.

In a photo of five climate activists, the only Black activist was cropped out before publishing.

It all happened at the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland, where the young climate activists were in attendance. A photographer with the Associated Press took a picture of the five activists, including the well-known climate superstar Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Vanessa Nakate. THe photographer cropped it Nakate and sent a photo of the four whit women with a scenic mountain backdrop to editors around the world.

The AP’s initial response to the criticism was that it was done to enable a close-up of Thunberg and to remove a possible distraction in the photo – a building behind Nakate.

Vanessa Nakate told BuzzFeed News she was heartbroken to see websites use a photo featuring four white activists but not her.

In a Twitter DM conversation with Buzzfeed News, Nakate said she was heartbroken when she realized what had been done. She went on to say “I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”

The young climate activist also took to Twitter to share her reaction in an emotional 10-minute-long video discussing her experience at the summit and how it felt being cropped from the photo. She says “it was the first time in my life that I understood the definition of the word ‘racism.'” She said she felt like her story had been erased.

“I don’t feel OK right now,” she said in the video posted on Twitter. “The world is so cruel.”

Thunberg supported her on social media, saying over the weekend that the picture was “totally unacceptable in so many ways. Like Vanessa said herself: ‘You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent.’”

She’s also had to face backlash from people saying if she didn’t want to be cropped out, she should of stood in the middle of the group. Like what the…?

For real. People on Twitter were trying to tell this young African activist that she should of positioned herself in the middle of the photo if she didn’t want to be cropped out. What is wrong with people? How are you going to tell a person of color to be mindful of where they stand simply out of fear of being cropped? That’s not how it should work.

The AP originally said it was done to allow a close-up shot of Greta Thunberg but has since apologized for the incident.

The initial responde from the AP was definitely tone deaf, saying that it was done with the intention to remove a distraction in the photo’s background. Even if that were true, in doing so, you’re literally erasing the only person of color (and her experience) from the photo, the summit, and the cause. That’s not OK.

Recognizing the error in their response, the AP changed course by the weekend.

“My hope is that we can learn from this and be a better news organization going forward,” Sally Buzbee, the news service’s executive editor and senior vice president, said Monday. “I realize I need to make clear from the very top, from me, that diversity and inclusion needs to be one of our highest priorities.”

“This is a very important issue for the AP, and it’s bigger than a bad mistake on one photo,” said Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of the AP, who attended the first meeting. “Our values are to cover the world — not the white world, but the whole world. And we need to do it.”

Being erased from a major moment has led Nakate to lead a mission to fight for more inclusivity in the environmental justice movement.

Speaking up catapulted Nakate into an unfamiliar territory of social activism: calling out anti-black discrimination and racism. After experiencing “the definition of the word” for the first time in her life, she received messages of support. She said she now felt a greater responsibility to “amplify their voices”.

Nakate, an activist since 2018, was inspired by Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda and began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.

She’s made it a point to highlight the climate change issues that affect minority and vulnerable populations around the world. She hopes to remind people, that climate change is affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations already. That for many communities around the world, especially in her native Uganda, there is no time to wait for action.