Tag Archives: bushfires

Our politics is unworthy of us

 

We Australians in this bushfire summer have abundantly demonstrated our courage, resilience and ability to work together to do what needs to be done.

Not just firies on the front line but parents swallowing their own fear as they get their kids to safety, even if it’s only a beach with flames raging close by. Armies of other volunteers feeding and supporting emergency workers. People coping with many weeks of threat and uncertainty, people evacuating two, three, five times, refugees taken in. People piecing their lives back together, others supporting them in whatever way they can, floods of donations. In so many ways we have shown how we work together in adversity. Australians are not unique in this way, most people pull together when times are dire, but it’s a feature of human behaviour that we might be more mindful of.

It would be nice to report also how our parliament quickly put aside rivalries and worked to do whatever it could to support communities and emergency organisations in a time of great need.

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Scott Morrison is utterly incapable of leading us through this crisis

Scott Morrison is quite unable to address our existential crisis because of his political and religious beliefs, his shallow marketing mentality, his ignorance, his sociopathy, his corruption and his colossal incompetence. 

We’ve all seen the ineptitude: a politician, fish out of water, hands in pockets, turning his back on a distressed woman asking for help, reaching awkwardly to try to shake an unwilling fire fighter’s hand, then running from a hail of heckling and driving away from a traumatised community.

But the incapacity of this Prime Minister goes much deeper: through failure to understand, reluctance to acknowledge, outright psychological denial, sociopathy, incompetence, corruption and the near-complete capture of a government by vested interests.

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Exhalation

 

As I write I breathe the nearby forest and its creatures. Except they are no longer trees, or animals, or fungus.

If you take a breath now, you will inhale about fifteen atoms of argon that you exhaled  in a breath a year ago. Atoms from that earlier breath will have spread out from you, eventually drifting all around the world and back to you. You reconnect with yourself. You also connect with everyone else, and everything else, that exhaled a year ago. So said Harlow Shapley, an astronomer with the soul of a poet who thought deeply about his home planet.

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Priorities, delusions and governments’ duty of care

[Published at Independent Australia 7 Dec.]

Over the past few weeks terrorists have killed six Australians and destroyed 673 homes, 1,400 other buildings and vast stretches of unique bushland.

Well no, terrorists did not do that to us. It was bushfires. Mind you some of those fires are alleged to have been deliberately lit by firebugs. Perhaps we should regard firebugs as terrorists.

The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to be very concerned about fires and arsonists, though he does offer thoughts and prayers. On the other hand he indulges his antediluvian obsession of stomping on the last vestiges of union power and his novel Christian approach of holding innocent and sick people hostage indefinitely and watching them slowly die.

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The Forecast, 7-day and 200-year

On Tuesday January 8 Australia’s Bureau of Meterology  released the 7-day projection for the continent shown below (top panel) for Monday January 14.  The purple patch, about 250×350 km, is above 50°C.  It has since been superseded by slightly lower projected temperatures, but the heat wave is continuing, being one of the longest and hottest on record.

The bottom panel is to put this in perspective.  So far we have had about 0.8°C of global warming since 1900.  I can say the climate projections are for 4-6°C of warming, but perhaps the picture brings it home rather more directly than words.

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