I bet the Help Line is ringing off the hook today, lol:
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Posted 09 January 2020 - 12:50 PM
I thought it would be at LEAST another two years before things got bad enough to start seeing headlines like this from media sources not known for alarmist hyperbole:
How Long Will Australia Be Livable?
Facing a future of fire, drought, and rising oceans, Australians will have to weigh the choice between getting out early or staying to fight.
“This is our Gallipoli; this is our bushfire Gallipoli,” says David Bowman, a professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania. He’s talking about the bushfires that began in the spring of September 2019, that have burned in every state and territory, that have claimed at least 24 lives, that have destroyed nearly 1,800 homes, and that have turned more than 8.4 million hectares of land into lifeless charcoal. They have led to one of the largest peacetime evacuations in Australia’s history, as fire authorities in two states instructed tens of thousands of holidaymakers and residents to remove themselves from the path of several flaming juggernauts. In an echo of the Gallipoli retreat, thousands had to be rescued from beaches by the Australian navy and air force.
As the country suffers through one of its worst droughts on record, and heat waves shatter temperature records not once but twice within the same summer week, some are asking whether Australians can afford to keep returning to the same parched, scorched landscapes that they have occupied not just since the European invasion two and a half centuries ago, but for tens of thousands of years before that. Even before climate change, survival—particularly of agriculture—in some parts of Australia was precarious. Farmers were so often rescued from the very edge of disaster by long-overdue rains that arrived just in time. Now the effects of climate change are making that scenario even less likely, and this bushfire season and drought are but a herald of things to come.
If people are to continue living in these places, “they’ve got to drastically change their relationship with the surrounding environment; they’ve got to drastically change the surrounding environment in order to be able to survive and reduce their vulnerability,” says Ross Bradstock, director of the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires at the University of Wollongong. “Another option is the retreat from flammable places.”
After the Black Saturday bushfires, the state government attempted to buy back land from people in the most high-risk areas who had lost their homes in the fires. Very few took up the offer. Now there’s a record-breaking drought on top of the fire threat. Dubbo—a regional New South Wales town with a population of more than 38,000 people—has all but run out of water, with its dam at just 3.7 percent of capacity and the river supplying it forecast to dry up by May of this year. Towns in Queensland are relying on charity handouts of water, even as a planned coal mine in the region is set to access billions of gallons of groundwater. The largest remote Aboriginal community in Central Australia—along with many others that have long thrived on their traditional lands—is also running out of drinking water.
“We’re talking about real money, talking about bunkers, safe sites, massively changing our firefighting capacity, fire preparation, communication systems, our understanding of what nature is, our understanding of what being Australian is, our understanding of the value of water, the understanding of our relationship to other life forms, our understanding of what fire is,” he says.
Being forced to flee to the ocean to be rescued by ships from wildfires is kind of intense, methinks. Headlines that are explicitly contemplating the viability of continuing to live in Australia (which occupies an entire continent) or any other modern technologically-advanced country for that matter are unprecedented.
And they still have ~8 weeks of Summer to go, though like in California a change of season no longer means the fire risk will necessarily drop. Here's to hoping they don't run out of water, though it's sure looking bad.
This is the kind of thing that reinforces my opinion that Ms. Thunberg is way too soft-spoken and restrained, not shrill and alarmist.
"First-World" refugees are a thing now, in case anyone hadn't noticed.
Posted 10 January 2020 - 10:53 AM
I have been thinking about the movie, On the Beach (1959), in which a world facing nuclear war is trying to get to Australia as the only refuge left.
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