WITH FIRES BURNING up the Tasmanian World Heritage highlands; ‘one-in-a- hundred-year’ rainfall stubbornly sticking to Townsville causing widespread flooding to homes, nearby dying reefs; unprecedented heat-waves in parts of south-eastern Australia — including right here in the capital region — the Darling River vomiting dead fish; and farmers everywhere more uncertain than ever about when and how much rain will fall — the omens are not good.
It’s past time to demand action from our politicians and vote out those who don’t get it. Some commentators are starting to publicly call out as criminal the behaviour of those in power — like the present federal government and the NSW government to an unacceptable degree. They continue to wilfully risk society’s chance of staying well.
A reader’s comment (on the thread following a story featuring firefighters dire warnings), put in perspective the government’s frequent rejoinder. They often say well, we are only few and anything we do to fight climate change is a drop in the bucket, so why hurry. Tell that to the ATO, he wrote. I am only a small taxpayer, so I don’t need to do my assessed bit.
In this edition of the Bulletin, we bring you some must-read reports from around the web like novelist Richard Flanagan’s powerful description of what it’s like living in Tasmania this summer, and last summer; and looking at worse in future summers. He reports the destruction of the island’s unique highland rainforests and alpine meadows, ecosystems seen nowhere else in the world.
This is the south’s ‘Great Barrier Reef’, he writes. And it’s burning up. Images replay in his mind of then Treasurer Scott Morrison fondling a lump of coal in federal parliament while the National Party agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce giggles wildly next to him.
Also from Around the Web is a warning from NSW’s former fire and rescue commissioner, Greg Mullins, saying volunteer firefighters are facing blazes of such severity that homes and lives cannot be guaranteed protected.
He takes the federal government to task for failing to connect the dots between extreme weather and disrupted weather; and Australia’s (and others’) excuse-ridden refusal to take meaningful action on emission reduction.
Stop digging up and selling coal overseas would be a meaningful start. The thread on this post adds more voices from firefighters and those who have been affected.
A call to action is happening locally in February with Mike Kelly, our federal Member from Eden-Monaro is hosting a renewable energy forum on the 14th featuring Labor’s engaging Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler.
Kelly calls our region, with its reliance on dependable weather for farming and tourism, the canary in the coal mine of climate disruption. What can we do? Clearly a change of federal government to one pledging remedial action policies starting immediately would help. Read all about it in our top news feature of the week.
A Labor election in NSW in March would also be a vital step away from denial and inaction that has characterised this Coalition government in part and whole.
And, for those who still doubt that Australians and indeed the world have known for more than 20 years the risks, and also the remedies, of continually pumping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere, check out my book Global Warming and Climate Change, what Australia knew and buried and framed a new reality for the public.
It drills into the ideologies, the forces pushing uncertainty, that still hold us immobilised as a nation to our ever greater peril (further details here).
Incidentally, Sue Van Homrigh, my long-time colleague and our talented webmaster holds it all together from Townsville. Sue confirms that she is “soggy, but safe”. So fingers crossed that climate disruption, like the flooding they have been enduring up there, won’t disrupt the Bulletin web postings!
IMAGERY: Background, BOM weather information. Insets, associated events published to Facebook.