The photo below is one that Nigel took of me as we were on our way back from Dunedin on 08 Dec after staying in Dunedin to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I’m relaxed and happy, exploring a riverside location by a bridge we’d just driven across. I blogged about it in Akatore Creek. South Otago, New Zealand.
Those dark clouds now seem like a portent, warning of dark days ahead.
On Thurs 09 Feb 2017, Scott Morrison (then treasurer) famously brandished a lump of coal in parliament at question time and advised his audience “don’t be afraid, don’t be scared”. There’s video footage of his antics at this article in The Guardian.
This tweet that I saw today reminds us not to forget this moment.
On New Years Day 2020 I saw images of people seeking refuge from the approaching fires at the beach at Mallacoota, most eventually evacuated to safety by the navy. And there’s been so much more, so many terrible fires, destruction, deaths of people, livestock and wildlife. And Scott Morrison, now Prime Minister of Australia, comes across as distant and remote, failing at so many levels to show the leadership that’s sorely needed.
Climate scientist Prof. Michael Mann (Penn State University) has recently arrived in Australia on sabbatical and is very forthright about the link between climate change and the unprecedented fires.
Here’s one part from the transcript of a discussion in which he was a participant, via Living on Earth with Steve Curwood. Living on Earth is located at the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts/Boston.
Michael Mann (talking about the people of Australia):
“They get it, they understand that they have a problem, and they’re increasingly frustrated with their leadership, with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, who was vacationing in Hawaii with his family; as Australia was suffering through these deadly unprecedented wildfires and extreme heat, he was off in Hawaii vacationing. His government played a destructive role in the Madrid climate meeting a couple weeks ago, where they basically threw a monkey wrench into the works by arguing that Australia shouldn’t have to meet the commitments that it’s being asked to make in terms of reducing its carbon emissions. And Scott Morrison’s government has doubled down on coal. They have green-lighted the Adani coal mine, this huge prospective coal mine, that if it goes ahead, it will double Australia’s carbon emissions from coal burning. Now, keep in mind that Australia is one of the largest exporters of coal, so you have to look just not at how much fossil fuels they are burning themselves, but how much of this coal they’re shipping off to China and elsewhere, that is being burned and is loading our atmosphere with carbon. And so, Australia, at a time when they need to be joining the rest of the world and dramatically bringing down their carbon emissions, is actually increasing their carbon emissions. And their government is increasingly out of step with their people, the people are calling for action. And so part of my message is to the people of Australia to tell them, look, you need leadership that is going to represent you rather than a few large fossil fuel interests. And the only way to make that happen, of course, is to turn out and vote, and vote for politicians who will represent your interests rather than the special interests.”
TRANSCRIPT LINK: Australia’s Wildfires Point to the Future
No surprise that Scott Morrison’s administration supports Adani coal mine and the controversy is spreading far and wide. Now Siemens in Germany has come under fire for intending to participate in the Adani project. The CEO had a meeting with a climate activist on Friday and is currently reconsidering its involvement in the mine with a final decision to come on Monday. See this article.
Tweet from my Twitter feed, today:
Now demonstrations are taking place in Australia and also in London and Berlin amongst others.
Article about various protests in the Huffington Post.
We should ALL be really concerned about what’s happening in Australia – climate change will impact on us all.
Tonight a tweet in my feed shared more from Prof. Michael Mann, expressing what was on my mind:
LAST MINUTE ADDITION: Damien’s just tweeted a link to an article published in The Irish Times by writer Anne Casey who’s currently living in Sydney and she describes what it’s like living in the smoke-polluted city. Here’s a short excerpt:
“… I told our overseas visitors how lucky they were with their timing as we were having a few clear days. They said their eyes, noses and throats had been burning since they arrived. As we sat down to eat at an indoor cafe under a window cracked slightly open, I hadn’t batted an eyelid as I’d automatically swept the ash residue off the table.”
Australian bushfires: ‘The biggest cloud hanging over us is that there is no end in sight’
Posted by Liz; Exploring Colour (2020)