The Greece Fires Should Remind Us to Take Action Against Climate Change


Lotus R.

The 2021 Greece wildfires are no new occurrence. In July 2007, multiple wildfires broke out as a result of a heatwave caused by global warming. Photo courtesy by Lotus R.

Beginning early August, over 600 wildfires have rampaged across Greece’s forests, taking two lives and requiring thousands of people to evacuate. According to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, this terrifying devastation would soon become known as “a disaster of unprecedented proportions,” raising countless concerns over what caused it in the first place. The human population is ultimately to blame for this disaster. It should serve as a horrifying reminder that our seemingly harmless actions can amount to catastrophe over time. 

Greece has recently been experiencing one of the most extreme heat waves its seen in decades. The first fires broke out in early August, caused by this particular heatwave that had arrived around the same time. Global warming has caused extreme, record-breaking temperatures all over the globe, and is undoubtedly responsible for this specific heatwave.

Luckily, firefighters have managed to put out most of the fires. However, this devastation should not be looked over as soon as it’s resolved. People need to realize that this event’s cause is rooted to a more significant and global scale issue- climate change.

Time and time again, disasters have occurred due to climate change, yet people still continue to live their lives ignorantly. A disaster as prominent as this one should act as a call to action to many individuals and inspire them to live a more environment-friendly lifestyle. After all, this horrifying event shows how the harmful yet small effects of our daily lives can add up in the long run. Small actions such as consuming red meat, buying from fast fashion businesses such as Shein and Romwe, and excessive usage of power are all ways we as individuals contribute to the climate crisis.

Harmful practices and lack of government environmental policies are a huge factor in how climate change will worsen over the next few years. For example, air pollution, a huge factor in the progression of climate change, is a pressing environmental issue in Greece, mostly caused by transportation and large power plants. We need to remember that our individual actions play a significant role. Everything we do adds up, so if everybody makes a conscious effort to live more environmentally aware, we can avoid disasters like wildfires. Actions such as investing in electric cars, working on minimizing carbon footprints, and buying from local businesses are all examples of what people can do to make a difference.

In response to the vast wildfires, Greece created a ministry directed towards addressing the worldwide crisis of climate change. Former European commissioner Christos Stylianides was appointed as minister due to his experience with humanitarian aid and crisis management. As of now, the main purpose of this ministry is to create policies to help the country adapt to global warming. This was a brilliant step for Greece to take, and everybody else should realize how big of an issue this is as well and make an effort to help combat it in their own way.

We cannot forget this devastation. So much is determined by every individual’s actions, and people must recognize the horrors that can occur as a result. Everybody is responsible, so this event should be a reminder of how our practices can collectively translate to disaster in the future.