Our Burning Land.

in environment •  3 months ago 

I shared this picture on The Miniature Smallholding Facebook page on 10th November.

"This is my mates kid, looking out at the fires near their house in Port Macquarie." - Dave Forbes

To put things into perspective, the area where these fires are raging are New South Wales and Queensland on the east coast of Australia. They are up near the tropics and this time of year is supposed to be their wet season, but their rains have been missing in action for a couple of years now.

I'm in South Australia and our summers are as dry as they come. We are used to getting bushfires as soon as the hot days arrive. We prepare for it with burn offs and cutting back any dried overgrowth (or is that undergrowth?) At the time of sharing that picture we'd just had a day shoot up into the 40s Celsius (that's over 100 Fahrenheit) and were getting fires on the Yorke and Eyre peninsulas which were sending the smell of wood smoke over to Adelaide. Luckily it was just one day and a cool change with some rain brought things back under control.

On the east coast the fires are still raging and now, while in South Australia we have a week of temperatures which are looking to peak for the next two days at 46°C (115°F) and this heatwave is moving east. Thousands of homes have already been lost in those ongoing fires and I'm struggling to find a number on the death toll.

It would be easy to just chalk this all down to climate change, but it seems that a lot more is going on than we might first realise. Yes, our climate is changing, but why? What has been going on to reach this tipping point?

In a country renowned for droughts and in a modern world where we have a full working knowledge of how forests keep the rains coming in, why is Australia becoming one of the worst countries for deforestation and why are the rivers being dammed and siphoned off to mining, fracking and even commercial bottlers?

I recently came across @maxigan and some of the work he's been doing looking into the droughts in New South Wales. Some may not agree with all the conclusions drawn from his discoveries, but this video is worth a watch if only to get you thinking. In the comments he has added a load of links in reply to someone's request for more materials on what he is discussing.

While Australians are practically screaming for the government to stop selling our water and protesting fracking, the government is using tax payers dollars to build dams to sell their that, often to these very fracking companies.

In the last 200 years nearly half of Australia's forest cover has been cleared. Not only has this been allowed by government, at times it's positively been encouraged and still is being encouraged by them. Yet this government seems to be the very entity that people are demanding bring in laws to stop deforestation. Do we really still think the government is working for us?

Problems are happening globally, but we can only affect what is happening locally. Has the time come to stop complaining about what others are doing in other countries and each start doing something about what is going wrong in our own countries? As Germaine Greer demonstrated in her book, The Rainforest Years, it's not completely impossible. There may still be things we can fix.

As I think of all those families driven from their homes by fires and those who have lost loved ones, for some reason I'm reminded of the Live Aid song, Do They Know it's Christmas? Some snow would certainly be a blessing here at the moment, but there won't be snow in Australia this Christmastime and throwing money at it isn't going to help either.


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I was down on the Franklin-Gordon protesting and we won. We nearly lost our home in Ash Wednesday. I have worked as a consultant to Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society.

It all grieves me deeply. I watch, and watch and I honestly don't know what will help anymore.

Sending love and hoping the Adelaide hills are spared some of the worst of it - they have done it hard, so many times.

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Just looked up the Franklin-Gordon. What an amazing result. I notice the claim theses days when putting in dams is to "manage" the water. Makes it sounds like theyre doing a good thing that way.

The first story about bushfires I heard when we arrived here was the Ash Wednesday fires. Then shortly after arrival Victoria had the Black Saturday. Just horrific.

When wee had the Sampson Flat fires a few years ago there were fears it would become another Ash Wednesday. Thankfully they did an amazing job keeping that under control. Also luck with the wind changing every time they thought it would reach some of the outer suburbs.

The baby boomers sold their souls to enjoy airconditioning, RVs, McMansions, and 30 years of retirement. We do not inherit this world from our ancestors we borrow it from our descendants.

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We could put blame on every single generation @balticbadger

Not only baby boomers are here to blame.

It depends on where you come from and what class as to whether you feel that way. For the UK and Australia the boomers were born into rationing. I know America experienced a boom after the war, but it took a lot longer to reach us. My parents, boomers, lived hand to mouth and that's what I grew up with, being grateful for a lot as things gradually got easier. I can't speak for Australian boomers as well, but I hear plenty of stories of surviving blistering summers without aircon. RVs, McMansions and aircon seem to be more of a recent phenomenon here.

I wonder if @riverflows and @mattclarke can weigh in on this. What was life like for your parents growing up?

Perhaps America led the way and the whole world following is the problem.

Bloddy typos. Bugs on my screen. Literally. Switching off now. Hot night, no air con. X

My folks drove from Adelaide to Sydney on a day like today. I was only a month or so old. They had an esky full of ice and draped a damp washcloth over me. It'd dry in minutes, so they'd repeat over and over.
I shudder to think how things would've turned out if that old car had broken down.

My mum was a ten-pound pom. One of 6 siblings. I understand life improved slowly but considerably, after they arrived from Liverpool (her mum, my maternal grandmother, used to babysit John Lennon)
My dad is 5th generation Aussie, from the middle of the wheat belt.
They got by, but war neurosis took its toll on his Dad. He was more harm than help.
My personal take on the fires, is that too much has been quarantined as National Parks, then neglected.
The massive fuel load builds until one inevitable spark incinerates an entire state and suddenly its my fault for using that plastic straw that time.

My Mum a 10 pound pom too, 6 siblings, Hull. Dad born in Munich, arrived post war with 2 brothers as 3 yo with my grandparents. Working class. Dad became draftsman, worked til 60 ish. Never had aur cin growing uo. We were comfortable but not loaded. Standard cars, later better aa they saved well. One investment property Dad went in with his brothers, profit okay but not extreme. They have a lovely house on an acre, not huge by standards around here. Definitely wouldnt blame them for anything.. theyve lived a pretty conscious life. They don't even have air con now! Just a passive solar house.

What a day to pick to drive halfway across the country! Obviously, it wasn't your time as that car held out. My dad's cars were always breaking down. I can't imagine one would have ever made that kind of journey. A trip to Wales to see his parents usually meant a week of maintenance to make sure it got there.

Are the national parks the areas that used to be maintained by the aboriginal burnings?

At one time I'd have said extend the rainforests and you won't get the fires, but then Brazil...Who'd have thought a rainforest could burn.

I think the aboriginals used to burn wherever the bush was sufficiently dense, then harvest the wildlife fleeing from the flames.
Thousands of nomadic groups, each picking an area clean of edibles, then burning it to the ground, meant no one area was big enough, or had a chance to grow dense enough, to cause the kind of bedlam we're living through now.

My parents were the same no AC, no family vacations, humble house. I guess it's way worse in America but I see it spreading here to Germany. They all talk big and they go jetting around the world every holiday and pulling huge campers down the autobahn all over Europe. In the US they always chose industry over the environment and protected property instead of letting it burn naturally. More the baby boomers government than lifestyle I guess. And now the mass migrations out of Africa because the environment can't sustain the population will surely lead to more disasters.

I guess the boomers were just the era where this all started, but only a small portion of the population could afford to live that. We got to a point where more and more could afford to spend and it was unsustainable. Now people don't want to give up their aircon (I certainly don't right now! 45°C and climbing).

I don't like to see a generation blamed when it's only really a small percentage who live that way. In many ways, it's the millennials and gen Zs who have gotten used to a comfortable life which most boomers never had and would struggle to give up their mod cons. Perhaps we gen Xs are more to blame for giving them what we never had growing up and now they take it for granted.

But it's so easy to blame someone!!! 🤣 you're right, the sad part is we know we are wrong and continue down our path. The good thing is the earth will still be here long after we are gone. Just depressing all the species we are bringing down with us. Then the old Viking saying goes would you save the world if you knew it's destruction brought a new one? I couldn't imagine having little ones with heat like that and no a/c. I'm more ashamed at the US lifestyle and as you said now it's spreading. I see it here in Germany as well.

🤣 isn't it just! If it's someone else fault then we don't have to fix it.

I don't know Germany well enough to make a judgement, but when I visited most of the people I visited certainly had much nicer things than we did and Germany was much cleaner than the places I was used to in England. Just my great aunt lived in more basic conditions. I'm guessing there would be a mixture just like anywhere, though.

Pretty concerning video from @maxigan. Deforestation and steeling the water from the people is a problem all over the world. It's the extremely hot and dry places that suffer from the consequences more so that no-one can say that it's just people imagining things. And yes, I think it's always best to look at what's happening in your own country first and try to do something about that, but it's also vital to support people taking action in other countries because we are all citizens of this world and deforesting in Australia or for instance Brazil, affects me here in Finland too. But as I said, there are problems in Finland too and I need to do everything I can to that.

Sad thing about climate change is that after we've excluded people who do not even believe in it, or do think it's true but do not consider it as an urgent problem, we are left with those who do know better (or say they do) and agree that climate change is problem number one.

But. There's always a but. Of those people left there are the ones that are not willing to actually do anything else than perhaps few meaningless donations, sing for saving the climate around a bond fire made of empty promises and polish their appearance talking about that we should do something about the climate change. They say that they are doing anything they can, but aren't. Because it's much more easier to continue with the life they now have, do no drastic changes, not except the fact that everything we do, each of us, affects the world and the climate. In good or bad way. And it's escalating. Everything that changes things for the worse for the environment, causes more bad things that cause more bad things that cause more bad things. What we are doing is putting out the candles while the whole roof is on fire. Figuratively speaking in this case.

If you can do something to help with problems in another country then I agree, it should be done. Unfortunately, getting distracted whining about them when they're beyond your control doesn't do much good, especially if it's distracting you from doing something useful in your own country. That is what's frustrating me at the moment. Everyone's so busy arguing over who's fault it is and whether or not you should believe climate change is real, even if your solutions are the same. It would be great to see people move beyond that and see whether they could actually do something helpful. No two people are ever going to agree with everything, so it would be nice to see them focus on what they do agree with instead of trying to make everyone into an enemy.

This is what I've been saying for a while. Do I believe in human-caused climate change? Yes. Do I particularly care if everyone does? No. Why? Because I'm betting everyone still wants clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, not to die in wildfires and floods, etc., etc., and the solutions are the same. Whether you're against fracking just for health reasons or also climate, as long as we're fighting together, it's all good to me. Arguing about how we must all have the same reasons is just what the billionaires want, as they laugh all the way to the bank as we delay stopping them.

Everyone's so busy arguing over who's fault it is and whether or not you should believe climate change is real, even if your solutions are the same. It would be great to see people move beyond that and see whether they could actually do something helpful.

This. And it's not only the climate change. Every bigger problem ever. Smaller problems sometimes too. There are those who believe the first thing they have to do is to find out who was responsible of this all. Who started it. Who's fault.

It’s heartbreaking and frustrating, it really is. Rivers are drying up because of overuse, damming and cotton growers. How are you coping in his heat? I hope your chickens are OK.

The heat gets me down. The chickens are managing, with frozen bottles and plenty of water. Ill be glad when it's Saturday, though.
Hope you're managing to keep cool.

Ah yes, cotton and ride growing is another area they soon it off. Bring back hemp. That doesn't need so much water.

Our government doesnt give a shit about anything but themselves. Their attitude stinks. I cant believe their lackadaisical approach toward the firies working their asses off round the clock to deal with this. I am worried about the entire country burning. Yesterday we had our hottest average day ON RECORD.

That photo looks straight out of a horror story. What a capture.

5.30 Pm. 39 degrees.

The fire services are the service that gets the most respect from me in this country. They are the one service I have no quibble about paying taxes for. My only quibble is how much gets siphoned off by government before it reaches them.

This is us, currently.


This is an educational and driven post. I hope that others can see the light of these issues and that together, as single units, effect the whole collectively over time. Posts like these are the beginning of thinking like that! Thank you for sharing!

Thank you for saying so. I'm glad to have sparked some conversation.

Your welcome. What's community for, right?

Dear @minismallholding

I wonder how serious are people living in your area about issues related to climat change. I only can assume that you're all taking it very seriously.

Thousands of homes have already been lost in those ongoing fires and I'm struggling to find a number on the death toll.

That's just so sad.

Would you mind telling me, what usually does happen if house is burn to the ground and owners are being left with long morgage?

Usually if you don't pay your morgage, then bank will take over and sell your house, right? But what may happen if you will stop paying because your house and everything you had is gone?

ps. I kind of drained my voting power so just a small upvote on the way.
Yours, Piotr

If you have a mortgage in Australia, then the provider demands that you have insurance to cover the building. So if it's burnt down then you claim on the insurance, which will cover the cost of rebuilding. Naturally, you'll still be paying the mortgage, but you will also have your home repaired our rebuilt. Or if you can't rebuild then the insurance money would cover the cost of the house and you'd pay the mortgage provider whatever you owed them from that.

South Australia, the state that I live in, is actually moving forward quite well in many ways towards renewable energy and we have new regulations coming in to stop the use of single use plastics. This seems to be well received by most of the people here, which is promising.

Late thank you for your reply @minismallholding

I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you ... great and safe upcoming celebrations.

Hopefully 2020 will not be as difficult (for us all) as many predict :)

Cheers, Piotr

During dry season over here, things are burnt here and there which cause air pollution. Even large bushes are burnt down for ease of cleaning bushes and planting during the rainy days.
I can't tell of the river because I hard go there.
These thing do cause damages to human health. I just hope there could be other ways to walk over these.

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I certainly wouldn't want to be breathing that in regularly. It may get rid of things quickly, but it's not dying much for the air.

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That's an amazing photo, and an image all too real for many this summer. And they try to tell us it's not being made worse by climate change.

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I'm dreading how much worse it's going to be after this week is done with us!

Which state are you in?

I'm in Coffs Harbour NSW. We had bags packed ready to evacuate a few weeks ago, but luckily for us it didn't come to that as the fire close to us was held back from the urban fringe.

That was a close call by the sound of it. I hope you stay safe. Is the heatwave with you?

It's not as extreme here as many places. I think we are getting low to mid 30's over the next few days. No sign of the normal summer wet season we usually get.

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Congrats! on your upvotes from the IBT Community

Its too bloody hot!! poor animals..

wow! the photo says it all

I'm trying to make sure there's plenty of water out for the wildlife. They certainly gather around it. We've got a wagtail couple on a nest just out the back and they keep coming to stand by the screen door where the aircon is bowing out. I've put them some water down too. Hope their hatchling/s survive this heat.

I've left water out, and the birds are always in the dogs bowl as well...Lets hope this storm hits, no lightening but rain pls!!!

I think that slight sprinkling of rain was all we're going to get. ☹ The cool change is wonderful, though. I can smell the smoke in the air and hope they get the fires under control soon.

I think your right, sux; cool winds feels sooo good, relief...but...no rain and sadly another painful xmas for many people and animals :(