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A kangaroo rushes past a burning house in Lake Conjola, Australia, on Dec. 31 2019.

MATTHEW ABBOTT/The New York Times News Service

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Readers react: Mourning a disappearing world as Australia burns

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What a heartbreaking article. –OldBanister


My heart breaks for Australia. Be safe and may decision makers do whatever they can to prevent a fire on this scale from ever recurring. –Mat in Victoria


The change in global weather has been dramatic in the last decade, which, in the life of the planet, is a mere single grain of sand on all our beaches.

The weather has changed dramatically on all continents, from rapidly melting glaciers to more intense hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones, from unimaginable droughts, fires, flooding to loss of many species of wildlife. Our species is littering the planet, our oceans, our space, our land and destroying rainforests at breakneck speed.

To all the climate change deniers, I hope you have prepared answers for your grandchildren who will inevitably ask you “WHY DID YOU ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN”! –TorontoGooner


Beautifully written article that gives a very personal account of what is going on in Australia. Very interested in the Indigenous approach before 1788. Perhaps a lesson for the future? I have been to all those places in the southeast and it is, indeed, a beautiful area. Hope that no more lives are lost and that rains come soon. Be safe, you Aussies, some of my favourite people. –Edgeworth

‘What we desperately need are new ideas, hope and resolve.’ Tackling climate change, plus other letters to the editor

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‘Big Oil seems to have decided Alberta’s males are disposable.’ Readers debate the source of Alberta’s economic downturn

Bushfires burn between the townships of Bemm River and Cann River in eastern Gippsland on Jan. 2, 2020, Australia.

Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Has anyone been to Jasper lately? The trees are all orange and dead because of the pine beetle. When it goes up … it will be Dante’s Inferno. –Klens75

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Natural processes are at work; what has changed is that we now have millions of people in its path as the human population has exploded and expanded its living quarters everywhere.

People are contributing with carbon footprints, but the reality is the human race has been spreading like lemmings and skewing all kinds of what were once gradual shifts and change.

As I have expressed many times, we need to get the human race right-sized for a viable planet Earth. Most of what we are seeing is the average human talking it up but not going to change much else, and politicians saying the necessary words to get re-elected but nobody in the end doing anything that will make a difference. –Bert100


Climate change is happening and we will not be able to stop it. So we should plan for it. Better land and water management. We should stop believing that the politicians around the world will be successful in bringing the global temperature down. –Selandre

A firefighter controls a back burn ahead of a fire front in the New South Wales town of Jerrawangala, on Jan. 1, 2020.

PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

I took a holiday about 10 years ago driving from Sydney to Canberra to Cann River (where folks were told it is too late to evacuate) and thence through much of Gippsland. My heart goes out to these folks.

In Saskatchewan this year, I had hoped to drive to Stanley Mission but was prevented by fire near La Ronge. Then in Alberta we got blocked by fire near High Level. We’d planned to drive to Hay River and Fort Smith but got blocked by smoke and risk. Fort Smith experienced a tornado, rare in the Northwest Territories (“virtually unknown,” according to the Canadian Encyclopedia). We changed our plans to visit places further south in Alberta and had to change our plans yet again because of smoke. And then we were excluded from a number of desired experiences in Waterton Park, which was still recovering from big fires that occurred two years ago. And if we try to go north again, we could get cut off by fire on those very long roads with no alternate routes around. Uncomfortable changes indeed. I’ve gone from just buying carbon offsets for my travel to cutting down on travel because it is a climate emergency and we don’t have time for just doing offsets, which nevertheless we should do. –ProtanopeSJ

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Drive electric. Don’t fly. Don’t eat meat. Don’t use plastic. All changes necessary! –Cynical in Toronto


Personally it seems a little dopey to have the two sides of the climate discussion lob verbal bricks at each other – the real discussion should be about what steps to take to try and prevent them from occurring again on such a massive scale. Any country with large forested areas prone to drought (are you listening, Canada?) should sit up and take notes. Lets face it, no amount of proof by either side will completely convince the other side. What we can all agree on is that a disaster is happening right now and that it has to be addressed before it becomes common place in our own country. –Steve2210


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