The now infamous photo of a fireman giving water to a koala that survived Australia's wildfire has been seared into my mind. I feel sad for the many human victims of the disaster down under but nothing compares to the anguish I feel for the lost terrain and wildlife.
People have greater chances of survival in such situations. I don't know all the details of this particular travesty, but generally humans have the opportunity to get out of harm's way. Wildfires are a little trickier than some events because they have been known to jump, winds can be less predictable, and people near the initial outbreak are more prone to be caught by surprise. Those that choose to wait until the last possible minute to get out are just asking for trouble and I honestly don't have much patience with them.
Tornadoes, lightning strikes, tsunamis, earthquakes and other sudden events do evoke more sympathetic responses from me so I am not totally brash.
Still, I get the impression that people don't really think about the consequences of disasters as they relate to animals and the environment. While approximately 200 people have perished in Australia, more than 1 million animals have been sacrificed not to mention the charred terrain encompassing an area twice the size of London. What seems to be the act of an arson has completely disrupted the balance of nature on the other side of the world. Trees and plants provide oxygen, the food chain leading up to human needs has been interrupted. In the case of the Koala, eucalyptus forests were destroyed and will limit their grazing territory.
Humans are stewards of the land and animals yet we destroy rain forests and wildlife with the belief there is "plenty to spare." New species have been discovered in South American jungles in the last year. We have no idea what unknown creatures were destroyed in Australia. Animals (including humans) and plant life interact to maintain balance in nature. When there is a major jolt to the system, the balance will fail.
We may not see change right away, but the effects will be felt thanks to a pyromaniac. When watching the news, look beyond the human travesty and take in the whole picture before "ewe" think it only affects another herd.