Bild: Australia’s burning – and Sydney celebrates New Year’s Eve with fireworks., Playing with Fire, Celebrity and Media Edition Bild: leda

Opinion. The wildfires in Australia are the number one topic in the news and (social) media. Everyone has to make a statement about it and talk about the… well… more or less important things.

Australia’s wildfires are spreading. By now you can see the effects in neighbouring islands and countries like New Zealand’s glaciers but also in South America. The impacts on the environment – flora, fauna and people – are fatal. And of course, everyone and their moms comment on it. Celebrities even help by donating – although it is often in amounts that make us question if it is more than just the spare money they could find in the pockets of their pants so that people stop asking them to donate.
‘‘Climate change is real’’, writes Kim Kardashian West in a tweet from the beginning of January and adds some emojis: a broken heart and a globe. Just to get the message across. And all over the world people gasp. Stop driving SUVs. Or flying for short distances. Or going on cruises. (Add about 50 other examples of your choice.) Forget all the scientific proof! Finally, the real(ity) queen gives the deciding input!
Sure, by now Kim claims that she donated money as well – and at least she uses her voice and fame for a good cause. But still. Let us think about the huge amount of money she as well as the rest of her family has and what they could do, if they invested everything they do not need. And while the Kardashian-Jenner clan is – as usual – the prime example to use, they are just that: an example. This goes out to many other celebrities: It’s great to donate some money! It’s even better if you would donate the amount of money you can ACTUALLY afford to donate – AND live in a way that does not harm the environment!

But it’s not just celebrities. The focus of the media seems also questionable. Just look at the German news: one of the central debates regarding Australia is… surprise! About our all-time favourite trash TV show “Ich bin ein Star – holt mich hier raus!’’ But fear not. By now all of Germany can calm down because the TV show has started despite the wildfires. Puh. I guess we just avoided a catastrophe. AND sidenote: Thanks to the ,,Dschungelcamp’’ we all know that it finally rained in Australia, too. Where would we be without our main source of information about Australia?

If you think it is only about media and people who live far away from Australia and are not directly influenced, you are wrong. Because guess what happened in Australia itself on New Year’s Eve? Here’s a little hint: bang. Bang. More fire. More smoke. Got it? Right: Regardless of protests and a huge debate leading up to this, there were still official fireworks in Australian cities. Especially the ‘iconic’ firework-show in Sydney was heavily criticised before, but as we all know from our next-door neighbours and semi-close relatives: one does not simply take away someone’s opportunity to play with fire! After all, we need to have our priorities.
About a week later, Sydney also did a sort of light show to thank the firefighters by illuminating the opera house and projecting pictures and words of gratitude onto it. I could make some joke about the irony, but it is almost too easy.

Fire in Australia is not unusual. However, this amount is. And as with every topic in relation to climate change, it is discussed in ways that almost make us wish it would just be openly satirical instead of pseudo-serious.

:Charleena Schweda


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