Annotated Bibliography

Australian bushfires as viewed from the International Space Station, 4 January 2020, NASA ISS (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Compiled by Jayne Regan

The destructive scale of the 2019-2020 Australian fire season was reported around the world. This multilingual bibliography—collated with the help of RCC associates—offers a sample of online material relating to the fires, published within Australia and without.

For their assistance in collating this bibliography, we would like to thank: Anna Antonova, Anna Barcz, Ayushi Dhawan, Malcolm Ferdinand, Martín Fonck, Sara M. Gregg, Christian Lahnstein, Thomas Lekan, Morgane Llanque, Ajit Menon, Jenia Mukherjee, Killian Quigley, Katie Ritson, Libby Robin, Sofia De La Rosa, Elana Torres Ruiz, and Xiaoping Sun.


ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). “A summer of bushfires and smoke.” no date.

Australia’s ABC News presents a gallery of powerful photographs taken around Australia during the 2019/2020 bushfire season.

Allam, Lorena. “For First Nations people the bushfires bring a particular grief, burning what makes us who we are.” The Guardian (Australia), January 6, 2020.

Lorena Allam, a Gamilaraay and Yawalaraay woman from New South Wales, reflects on the way the 2019/2020 Australian bushfires have further disrupted First Nations people’s connection to place in Australia.

Bardon, Jane. “What can we learn from Indigenous Australians and their 60,000 years caring for country?ABC News (Australia), March 6, 2020.

A visit to the Northern Territory reveals Indigenous communities’ observations of climate change. This video report calls for Australians to recognize and learn from Indigenous people’s deep knowledge of the land and its care, which has been passed down through generations, at the same time as such knowledge is increasingly challenged by a transforming climate.

Bokat-Lindell, Spencer. “The crucial lessons from Australia’s wildfires.” The New York Times, January 7, 2020.

American journalist Spencer Bokat-Lindell collects and synthesizes a range of news reports dealing with the Australian bushfires, especially in relation to the connection between the fires and climate change.

Carbon Brief. “Media Reaction: Australia’s bushfires and climate change.” January 7, 2020.

Carbon Brief provides an extended overview of media coverage of the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season, collating articles on climate change, arson, and criticism of the Australian government’s response to the fires.

Chaku, Natasha. “Australian bushfires partly due to late monsoon ending in India.” The Economic Times, November 11, 2019.

Journalist Natasha Chaku reports from Melbourne for an Indian audience, outlining the links between the delayed retreat of the Indian monsoon and the fires in Australia.

Cushing, Nancy. “Even for an air pollution historian like me, these past weeks have been a shock.” The Conversation, January 13, 2020.

Australian historian Nancy Cushing reflects on smoke across Australian history, and the way bushfire smoke—unlike other forms of air pollution—has escaped legislative attention, as it has been considered natural and unrelated to human activity. Now, given the link between fires and human-induced climate change, Cushing argues that a new approach to air quality legislation is required.

Doogue, Geraldine, Tom Griffiths, and Sophie Cunningham. “Summer of discontent.” ABC Radio National, January 25, 2020.

Australian environmental historian Tom Griffiths and author and literary studies scholar Sophie Cunningham talk to radio host Geraldine Doogue about the 2019/2020 Australian bushfire season.

Droppelman, Veronica A. “Incendios en Australia: estudio estima que al menos 480 millones de animales han fallecido en el Estado de Nueva Gales del Sur.” Landern Sur, January 3, 2020.

Chilean journalist Veronica A. Droppelman reports on animal deaths in the New South Wales bushfires, as estimated by experts at the University of Sydney.

El Espectador. “Incendios en Australia: el fuego ha emitido en tres meses casi el mismo CO2 que el país en un año.” January 10, 2020.

The Colombian newspaper El Espectador reports on the carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution associated with the Australian bushfires.

El Tiempo.Esto es lo que el mundo pierde con el devastador incendio en Australia.” January 11, 2020.

This report from Columbia focuses on the devastating implications of the Australian bushfires for wildlife.

Glowczewski, Barbara. “Australie: les savoir-faire aborigènes, une solution contre les mégafeux.” Reporterre, Jaunary 16, 2020.

In this French-language article, anthropologist Barbara Glowczewski explains that the widespread disruption and elimination of Aboriginal cultural burning practices as a result of colonization are in part to blame for the 2019/2020 mega-fires.

Griffiths, Tom. “Savage summer.” Inside Story, January 8, 2020.

Environmental historian Tom Griffiths argues that although destructive fires have been a key feature of Australia’s past, the scale and intensity of the 2019/20 fire season is unprecedented and undoubtedly a product of climate change.

Koshev, Yordan. “Безпристрастно за пожарите в Австралия.” OffNews Bulgaria, January 24, 2020.

Bulgarian journalist Yordan Koshev offers a public-oriented scientific overview of the history, origins, and effects of the Australian fires. The article explains the history of fire in Australia, predictions associated with climate science, and the 2019-20 fires’ effects on biodiversity. It also delves into a discussion on the politics behind conflicting sources of (mis)information reporting on the fires.

Llanque, Morgane. “Wir wissen am besten, wie man Australien beschützt.” Enorm Magazin, January 17, 2020.

In this German-language article, Morgane Llanque explores Aboriginal cultural burning and the attempts by the NGO Firesticks to teach Aboriginal fire management techniques around the country.

May, Daniel. “To burn or not to burn is not the question.” Inside Story, January 17, 2020.

Daniel May explores debates—past and present—around the use of prescribed burning as a fire reduction technique in Australia.

Moen, Arne Hanto. “Debatt: Norge eksporterer to australske skogbranner i året.” Teknisk Ukeblad, February 21, 2020.

Energy company director Arne Hanto Moen points out that the 2019/2020 bushfires are estimated to have released 306 million tons of CO2, but that Norwegian oil exports lead to 620 million tons of CO2 being released each year. He suggests that Norway, as a country which has become fantastically wealthy by exporting dirty energy, has a moral responsibility in leading the way towards a zero-emission economy.

Naturvernforbandet. Brann i Australia 2019-2020: Klimakaos og Norges ansvar.” no date.

Norwegian Friends of the Earth explains that while the Australian government has been criticized for denying climate change, the Norwegian company Equinor (formerly Statoil, the largely public company in charge of Norwegian oil extraction) also deserves criticism for making plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. It therefore makes the link between Australian mismanagement and Norwegian interests abroad. “Ponad pół miliarda zwierząt zginęło w pożarach Australii. Pożary wyzwoliły tak wysokie temperatury, że powstał mikroklimat.” January 5, 2020.

Polish news website focuses on the microclimates that can be created by large clouds of smoke and present an extensive collection of photographs of the Australian bushfires.

Quigley, Killian. “The End of the beach.” Sydney Environment Institute, February 3, 2020.

Oceanic humanities researcher Killian Quigley considers how the recent bushfires transformed beaches—often considered iconically Australian—into places of retreat from heat and flame.

Rhoades, Gundi. “Cattle have stopped breeding, koalas die of thirst: A vet’s hellish diary of climate change.” Sydney Morning Herald, December 26, 2019.

Climate change has transformed the nature of veterinarian Gundi Rhoades’ work. She describes how extreme heat, drought, and bushfires have turned her rural town of Inverell in New South Wales into a “hell on earth” for animals and humans alike.

Robin, Libby. “Hi-Vis Futures: Art for Climate Justice.” International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations, no date.

Australian environmental historian Libby Robin reflects on the important work art organizations are undertaking in relation to climate change. She argues that Hi-Vis Futures, an exhibition of Art for Climate Justice work at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery, is the “exhibition Australia had been crying out for.”

Van Oldenborgh, Geert Jan et al. “Attribution of the Australian bushfire risk to anthropogenic climate change.” World Weather Attribution, January 10, 2020.

A group of scholars from across the globe analyze the extent to which human-induced climate change influenced the likelihood and intensity of fire weather during the southeastern Australian bushfires in 2019/2020.

Williamson, Bhiamie, Francis Markham, and Jessica Weir. “1 in 10 children affected by bushfires is Indigenous. We’ve been ignoring them for too long.” The Conversation, April 2, 2020.

This article outlines how Aboriginal children have been disproportionately impacted by the Australian bushfires, arguing that Aboriginal voices need to be amplified, especially in the aftermath of fires.

Xin’er, Jiang, Chan Liangxian, and Wang Yasai. “4个月,8万平方公里,澳大利亚林火肆虐背后都发生了什么.” The Paper, January 9, 2020.

In the Chinese online news outlet The Paper, journalists attribute the unprecedented scale of the Australian fires to high temperatures, drought, and the flammability of eucalypts. They reject the accusation that environmentalists are to blame for the bushfires due to their resistance to logging. Instead, the article supports the argument that commercial logging and deforestation reduce the fire-resistance and biodiversity of natural forests.

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