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.
Two years ago I posted the latest plot of global temperature, and argued that if trends continue, as they are likely to do, the Great Barrier Reef has little chance of surviving beyond 2030 as more than a sad remnant in its southern reaches. Even if we suddenly got serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions the warming will still continue for 2-4 decades, and the damage would only be deferred.
The greater danger is that the warming will tip into being irreversible if it is not soon reversed. In that case our grandchildren would inherit a very different and hostile world.
There is a climate crisis. Deniers commonly have one or two facts that they claim show the scientists are wrong: the climate has always changed, carbon dioxide is only a tiny fraction of the atmosphere, and so on. They have an endless supply of supposed justifications for doing nothing.
Evidently the deniers imagine the climate scientists never thought of these objections, never investigated them. Well, they did.
I already wrote about the failures of Labor and the Greens and the flagrant partisanship of the media in bringing about Labor’s shock election loss. The trouble is these problems have been evident for a long time (Labor, Greens) and there is little sign anyone in those parties really understands what is necessary.
Nor is there any new party in the offing that might seize the day. The US has Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The UK had Jeremy Corbyn to revive their Labour Party, though he may be sinking into the ancient and corrupt mire of British politics. We have no messiah.
Yet this election has shown us the way forward, if we are open to noticing.
Thanks to The Juice Media for a brilliant summary of this government’s record.
I’ve wanted to list some of their many train wrecks, lies, stuff-ups, corruption, lies, corruption but it seemed too hard to remember and to have to wade through. But TJM have done a more concise job than I ever could.
It’s a measure of our mainstream media that they remind us of none of this. If they covered even a fraction of it, the Coalition would be facing slaughter at the election. (And no I’m not a big fan of Labor.)
So have a look, and if you like it share it as far as you can. It’s the honesty we desperately need.
I still encounter people who say ‘There’s always been climate change’, meaning don’t worry about global warming, it’s not our fault and there’s nothing we can do about it. You hear other excuses too. So should we not worry about the Reef and the rivers, about Townsville, about Tasmania, about the kelp forests and the mangrove forests and the many other symptoms of a climate awry?
Do the ‘sceptics’ think the scientists haven’t thought of all the ‘reasons’ they find to ignore global warming? Evidently so. But of course the scientists aren’t quite that stupid. They have thought of all those possible ways out of the conclusions, and a lot more besides. They’ve checked them all out. They don’t work.
Global warming, caused by us, is still there, pretty much on the course predicted decades ago. Except that it may now be accelerating.
Don’t end the crimes against humanity being committed on Manus and Nauru, don’t bother with a human rights charter for Australia, address the housing bubble through the housing supply rather than the money supply, propose some new (but not too dramatic) policies on inequality and reconciliation, drop a few crumbs to the complainers. Don’t even think of mentioning the highly counter-productive ‘alliance’ with a rogue super-power. Global w– … what?
From the perspective of 2020 it’s a bit hard to recall just how disconnected from its constituents the political mainstream had become before the 2016 election campaign. No wonder they churned through so many prime ministers.
The readjustment began just as the campaign began, though few saw what was coming. Even the bleaching of a large part of the Great Barrier Reef did not at first get much reaction. True to form, the major parties gave it minimal lip service. It was only as large swaths of the Reef turned brown and ugly over following weeks that widespread concern began to surface. The Government might still have squeaked in, but it had set itself a 10-week-plus campaign.
I spend a lot of my days trawling the follies of our time. To avoid sinking into the mire of despair I need to keep a firm hold of love and hope and grandchildren. But every now and then something lands too heavily in my heart, and I can only grieve.
Tarwyn Park is the Hunter Valley property where Peter Andrews worked out how to get the water back into the ground, by reconstructing a degraded creek so it flows slowly and the water can soak across the valley. His work is revolutionising the way we live in the Australian landscape, restoring its original productivity and resilience in the face of our challenging climate. We learnt last Monday, May 4th, in the ABC’s Australian Story that Tarwyn Park has been, very reluctantly, sold so it can be dug up for the coal that underlies the valley. It would be hard to find a more apt metaphor for the blind stupidity of Australia’s ruling class.
The main research windmills at NREL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Renewable energy is expensive. It’s unreliable. There’s no way to store it. Anyway the scientists are still arguing about global warming, so why wreck the economy for something that might not exist?
We all know these things here in Australia, but here’s a weird thing. Those tree-hugging pixie-lovers the Germans are converting to renewable energy anyway. They plan to phase out nuclear power within a decade. The official target is to reduce fossil-fuel use by 80% by 2050, but many people think it will be reduced to zero before then. Already more than 25% of electricity comes from renewable sources.