We’ve been left shocked by the devastation of recent floods in Australia, and all our thoughts are with our pals in Queensland and New South Wales as they try and find a way to get back on their feet.
We bet you’ve been glued to the news just like us and might be wondering how you can help.
What Caused the Floods?
Recent events might be the first you’ve ever witnessed firsthand or in the news – it’s probably left you (and us) with lots of questions about why this has happened and what caused it?
According to a report from the ABC, the record-breaking speed and severity of the floods in northern NSW and south-east Queensland were caused by a “highly unusual” combination of weather events.
Nina Ridder, a researcher from the University of NSW Climate Change Research Centre, advised that the floods have been caused by two consecutive ‘La Niña’ weather systems.
La Niña is a complex weather event caused when water in the Pacific Ocean near Australia heats up, while water in the eastern Pacific near South America is unusually cold. The phenomenon usually causes extreme rainfall – and that’s exactly what’s happened.
5 Careers Helping to Combat Climate Change
Australia is no stranger to floods, but when coupled with other significant environmental catastrophes in recent years (like the 2019-2020 bushfires), it’s hard not to find yourself wondering how much of this is to do with climate change.
We don’t have the answers to this here, but we do have five incredible careers within climate change and environmentalism that are focused on understanding, managing and combating the impacts of climate change in the years ahead – no matter what they are or where they happen.
Climatologists – also referred to as Atmosphere Scientists – study the earth’s climate, weather patterns, and the causes behind them. They tack and analyse developing weather patterns and seek to understand when large-scale environmental situations develop. They use long-term meteorological data such as temperature, wind speed, and precipitation to study trends, understand causes, and make predictions. Climatologists are typically responsible for developing reports and making forecasts about climate change research from their current weather and climate data analyses.
Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the earth, including its composition, structure, and processes, in order to learn about its past, present, and future. Some geoscientists specialise in climate change and seek to understand how changing climates impact various physical aspects of the earth. They tend to work across a mix of fieldwork, gathering samples and data, and laboratory work, where they analyse their findings. The work geoscientists may highlight how climates are changing and impacting different areas of the world, including the oceans, forests, and agriculture.
3. Environmental Lawyer
Environmental lawyers hold large corporations and organisations accountable for how their industry or specific business practices are having a detrimental impact on the earth and climate change. This could be anything from toxic dumping into bodies of water, processes that are damaging to the atmosphere, unsafe agricultural practices, or destruction of natural habitats. They need to conduct research, prepare reports and statements, and prove that individuals, corporations or organisations are responsible and need to be held accountable – either financially or by changing their practices/processes.
4. Renewable Energy Engineer
It’s no secret that we need to find better, more sustainable ways of harnessing energy in order to combat climate change – and this is where Renewable Energy Engineers step in! These engineers work on producing energy from renewable or sustainable sources, including wind, solar and hydro or marine power. Most specialise in one type of energy and will usually work within set industries to help develop sustainable energy practices that support that industry – for example, agriculture.
5. Sustainability Consultant
As more and more companies become conscious about their processes and practices and the more significant impact on the world around us, they’re seeking professional help on how to be more sustainable. Sustainability Consultants are experts on how businesses can adapt to have a lower impact on the climate and environment. They usually conduct a full review of how a business is working, research alternative, greener ways a business can do their work, and make recommendations. They’ll work with companies on a step by step plan to help them action these recommendations and create a better world all around.
How You Can Help Today
We know there’s nothing worse than feeling helpless when others in our communities need help.
Below are a few ways you can help families and individuals impacted by the floods:
- Start a fundraiser: Get some classmates together and see if you can fundraise some money to donate. Every little bit helps: you could try a bake sale, a garage sale, a sponsored swim or walk – whatever you think will help get some funds together! Enlist the help of a teacher or two and see what you can organise.
- Support small business: Supporting small businesses from the areas affected by floods is a great way to show camaraderie during these trying times. If there’s something you need in the coming weeks or months, see if you can find a small business in the flood-affected areas and make your purchases from them.
- Support charities who are helping: Both the Salvation Army and the St Vincent De Paul Society have set up relief fundraising. The organisations advise that just a $50 donation can help provide food for families forced from their homes.
We know a lot is going on in the world right now, and it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to help or act, even when we don’t feel able to.
Remember, it’s okay to take a break from the news and look after yourself so you can come back ready to help in meaningful ways that feel right to you when you can.