Stuff me! What is a girl to do?
Deep down I would like to make the world a better place but it appears ‘everyone else’ wants to eat, drink and be merry…or… go fishing!
I am the first to admit that I really could do more in the effort of reducing my footprint on our fragile planet.
As I started to type these words on Saturday the air conditioner was running as the temperature climbed to 44°C. The Bureau of Meteorology declared a ‘catastrophic’ fire danger rating in the region I live in. That description is apt.
I drove my air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned local grocer to re-stock my pantry and fridge. I tried to buy in-season but couldn’t help but notice the kiwi fruit from Italy and the asparagus from Peru! For the record, I did manage to purchase largely local, Australian made/grown/owned products.
I scanned the news items posted on the web that evening but could not find anything which inspired me to not throw my hands in the air and join the mainstream, who it seems really don’t give a toss about anything except living in the moment.
Maybe I am the one who needs to take a long hard look at myself and just live…after-all, if I am to believe what the scientific community has been telling us for years we are on the road to extinction and our expiry date may be sooner than we think. Scientist, Guy McPherson has been bold and claims that the ‘party will be over’ by 2030!
The word extinct is very intense isn’t it? You may think dinosaurs, the Thylacine or the Dodo; but whatever springs to mind, historically speaking, we are living in a climate that traditionally has seen the extinction of large numbers of species. We are also told that we are facing unprecedented times in terms of the speed of ongoing climate change. We are also told that changes in climate are the ultimate cause of mass extinctions; of course, these changes have never been brought about by a single species, perhaps until now. Which species you ask? Humans!
Many early depictions of ancient Egypt show a fertile area. Some researchers have shown and theorised that the area was once lush with forests. The trees ‘got in the way’ and were deemed useful for rolling blocks of stone to make pyramids. (Unlike us, they didn’t understand they affect climate and provide oxygen.) The trees disappeared, the local climate changed and the area is now a desert. While that may be theoretical, the Aral Sea is not.
In the 1950’s, the then USSR, decided to redirect water into irrigation. The amount was such that while the crops were good for a decade or so, the reduced water flowing into the Aral Sea caused the level to drop. Evaporation continued, the water quality dropped, the fish died out and now most of the water has evaporated. Large fishing vessels lie at rest, on the floor of a desert.
Then there are the disappearing Amazon forests. The main sources of deforestationin the Amazon rainforest are human settlement and development of the land.
In the nine years from 1991 to 2000, the total area of Amazon rainforest cleared rose from 15,000 to 587,000 km². The rate of deforestation is now slowing; in 2011 deforestation figures were the slowest on record. However, the forest is still shrinking.
I will share, yet again, this link to a 1992 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity.
I would encourage you to form your own opinion. I have mine. At the time this warning was issued the mainstream media were more interested in reporting world sporting events and stories about celebrities. Go figure!
Do we just refuse to accept the evidence or is it too frightening to believe?
Associated with those temperature increases (and the recent cold vortex experienced in the northern hemisphere) are temperature-related morbidity and mortality rates in humans and other species.
Whilst the method in which the media chooses what is newsworthy and what gets front page and page 3 placements has not changed, what also has not changed is the continuing upward trend of global temperatures and the associated extreme weather events.
In this National Geographic article the headline screams “20,000 Species Are Near Extinction: Is it time to rethink how we decide which to save?”
Maybe we should think about saving ourselves so we can go about saving the rest of the planet? David Suzuki said ‘for the sake of our health, our children and grandchildren and even our economic well-being, we must make protecting the planet our top priority.’
I say…without our environment there is no economy.
We must pay attention to the environment and not let yet another election (albeit State) go by without putting our environment front and centre of all policy making.
To exist, all living things require clean air, clean water and adequate nutrition.
Think of it this way, if the earth was a ball 12.75meters (representing 12,750 km) in diameter, we only really have about 3mm of atmosphere from which we can be sustained. The sky may look big to us as we look up but it is a very fragile protective layer that surrounds our planetary home. Then there is the delicate balance in our oceans which are coming under added pressure from excess carbon dioxide that leads to ocean acidification with increased carbonic acid.
I am not an environmental scientist but I do understand the consequences of their research.
If these changes are not slowed or arrested significantly the outcome speaks for itself.
In last year’s Federal Election we didn’t appear to do very well at electing a government that believes in a sustainable Australia, an Australia where much of our economy and quality of life depends on the environment.
My observation is that the Government is not willing to make bold and tough decisions to make a positive difference. Some will say we have the Government we deserve.
Let’s make a difference!
In 33 days’ time we need to vote for our environment by choosing the political team which has sound environmental policy to complement their economic goals. Incidentally, when I work out who that is, I will let you know!
Or…we could all go fishing!
But wait a minute, it’s too hot, too windy and reports say that the blue swimmer crabs haven’t come into the bay…Just saying!
Might it be something to do with climate change?
Footnote: The Bangor fire in the Southern Flinders Ranges showed again her wrath on Saturday and engulfed more 2000ha in the beat of a heart. The ‘cancer’ ravaging the ancient Southern Flinders Ranges continues to devastate. The area consumed as at today (day 28 of this incident) is more than 32180 ha. Towns continue to be under threat as men and women fight the might of Mother Nature.
We hold out for rain. We will be waiting.