Short and to the point . . . a brief summary from the Orange U3A Lively Discussion Group when they discussed these subjects this year:
Term 1 topic discussed by the Lively Discussion Group were:
What ‘pluses and minuses’ have resulted from the recent horrendous bushfires?
Q. Can you list as many ‘pluses’ and ‘minuses’ as you can?
A. PLUSES: Community spirit and unity; fund-raising generosity; politicians were obliged to become more active; highlighted value of wildlife and the environment; re-evaluation of where people build homes; for future planning and research . . . back burning, litter reduction, controlled burning, aboriginal input; selfless sacrifice of fire-fighters . . . and so the list goes on.
MINUSES: immense suffering due to loss of life and property; insurance costs will rise; slow response from Federal Government; a billion native animals killed; disruptions to power, communications and water supplies; physical and mental health concerns; shortage of fire-fighting aircraft; significant losses for business owners . . . and so the list goes on.
Q. Should governments do more to help victims of fires? How?
A. YES, but this needs to be balanced with personal responsibility. More government funding is needed for overall bushfire research. Very low interest rate loans for re-stocking, re-building etc, and general support for those needing help. Better, prompt use of armed forces. Large amounts of money have been raised, but very little has been distributed. WHY?
Q. Is there REALLY a link between these fires and climate change?
A. YES!! Our climate is changing at a relatively, fast rate . . . scientists have difficulty keeping up. Thirty or more years ago, extremes of fire, drought, cyclones and temperatures were predicted . . . and were mostly ignored.
CONCLUSION: This topic was seen as large and complex, and one that raised other questions. Our group hopes to discuss it again . . . perhaps when the findings and recommendations of various committees are released.