As a continent, Australia is moving north toward the equator at almost seven centimetres a year. Already a huge desert, it may come as no surprise whatsoever that this country is only getting hotter and drier. That doesn’t take a lot of deep thought to grasp.
Rising global temperatures are also no complex thing to grasp: record temperatures occur more often, more recently, and higher as we move forward through the temperature records over the past one hundred years with no comparison since our species left Africa.
With a combination of oceanic circulatory and atmospheric patterns, Australia just had its most disastrous fires in history. Who is to blame?
Many are angry at the politicians who have responded quite weakly, if at all, to the burgeoning threat of climate catastrophes. Yet, politicians are elected by citizens based on certain platforms, and are deeply constrained by economic factors, especially by US interests. There can only be satisfactory leadership by politicians where the populace has chosen those who are able to embody their interests and needs.
Since the 1990s, the majority of Australians have elected for pro-business platforms who introduced consumption tax and privatisation. What this means is taxation revenue is channeled into profitability, not social welfare. As taxes are furnishing business deals, rather than roads, hospitals and schools, we have a perfect storm of citizens paying both tax AND for roads, hospitals and schools.
Not sure why so many people are just so stupid, but this is where Australia is now.
The monstrous infernos which destroyed so many people is just a tickle showing the absolute failure of American economic policy: profits do not benefit society, they benefit businesses. Also not difficult to comprehend. The money of society is not available for society – it has already been allocated to private business deals.
In the 1980s, solar panels were just becoming a relevant technology. With the growing concerns of climate change just beginning, Australian sunshine was ripe for sourcing energy. In the 1990s, the Gulf Invasion suddenly put Australia’s oil access in crisis, providing the perfect opportunity to begin transitioning smoothly and painlessly away from non-renewables. Rather, Australia and Australians took forty years to say ‘Sorry’ and then brought in Big Business.
2001 saw Australia join their new allies with the illegal invasion of Afghanistan, not that the United Nations is without blemish, but this marked the end of Australia’s global reputation for fairness and intellect. I find it remarkably reprehensible that millions of people just marched through every city to force the government to apologise for the heinous actions perpetrated on Native Australians, yet did same again. Perhaps we will have Sorry Marches in 2098 for our behaviour.
So how does all this link up??
Australia was a powerfully socialist country with advanced and progressive sciences and thoughtful education. We caved into external pressure, forcing us into a deal with oil. We did this to become ‘rich’ and to protect our access to energy. We gave our pride and integrity away, and accepted economic and foreign policy in their places, which both figuratively and literally dirty us.
Australia is now in a very vulnerable position as powerful natural forces continue building – but our current economic system has no function by which to alleviate either the cause or consequences to society.
Australia is being squeezed by powerful businesses from above, and tectonics and carbon dioxide from beneath.
Voting for a platform may no longer be a sufficient response to the forces in play in our global village. Non-violence must be our way forward. Reduce energy usage to one-sixth or lower. Be patient, be thoughtful.
Climate change is here.