Apathy in the face of disaster | The Jackal

31 Dec 2019

Apathy in the face of disaster

Warning: This article contains topics that might trigger right wing snowflakes!

Unless you’ve had your head buried in a billabong for the last four months you’d of heard about the Australian bush fires. The fires have been unprecedented, with approximately five million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land burned nationwide. More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed and 9 people have now tragically lost their lives.

The world is watching with ever increasing unease about Australia's climate change related disaster. Not just because the fires aren't under control, but because the Australian Government is sitting on its hands while their country burns.

Youth environmental leader Greta Thunberg succinctly summed their apathy up in one of the most iconic tweets this year:

So what are Aussie leaders doing to help fight these fires? Well going on holiday of course.

On 22 Dec, The Guardian reported:

Scott Morrison says Hawaii holiday was like taking 'that extra plumbing contract' on a Friday afternoon

In a series of interviews on Monday Morrison cited family commitments as the reason for his decision to holiday in Hawaii during the crisis, comparing himself to a plumber forced to choose between a Friday afternoon job or seeing his family.

Morrison returned to work on Sunday, cutting short the holiday by a day after the deaths of two volunteer firefighters on Thursday, but insisted he would not “panic” by increasing Australia’s ambition to fight global heating.

Asked about his judgment in taking the holiday, Morrison said the fires had been going since September – citing his earlier visits to bushfire areas – and “still have a time to run yet”.

Even before the bush fire season had officially started the fires had ravaged much of the Australian east coast causing widespread damage. That stark reality wasn’t enough for Morrison to stick around though. Instead he set about annoying environmentalists by saying burning and exporting more coal wouldn’t make any difference to Australia’s fire season. He then went on holiday to Hawaii.

Australian Prime Minister - Scott Morrison

With an ever-increasing body of evidence available you would think that a Prime Minister would make the simple connection between these unprecedented bush fires and climate change increasing temperatures in Australia. Not Scott Morrison though. He’s been steadfastly ignoring the numerous scientists and their warnings that a hotter, drier climate would contribute to Australia's fires becoming more frequent and intense.

So why would Morrison ignore the warnings and advice that Australia must curb its GHG emissions? Well money of course.

On 23 Dec, AFP reported:

Australia PM defends coal as climate-fuelled bushfires burn

Under-fire Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday rejected calls for "reckless" and "job-destroying" cuts to the country's vast coal industry in the face of a deadly climate-fuelled bushfire crisis.

Morrison's conservative government has fiercely defended the lucrative coal industry in Australia, which produces a third of global coal exports and provides work in swing electoral districts.

"I am not going to write off the jobs of thousands of Australians by walking away from traditional industries," Morrison told the Seven Network, in one of several morning interviews rejecting calls for further action.

"What we won't do is engage in reckless and job-destroying and economy-crunching targets which are being sought," he told Channel 9, responding to calls for more climate-friendly policies.

While Scott Morrison cites the potential job losses from the lucrative coal industry for not reducing Australia's record breaking coal production level, he blatantly ignores the many thousands of jobs that will be directly lost because of these bush fires. He also fails to consider the lost productivity because of record-breaking pollution levels.

On Dec 2, The New York Times reported:

Australia Burns Again, and Now Its Biggest City Is Choking

State officials have warned of the dangers. The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage said that “our network has recorded some of the highest air pollution ever seen” in the state.

In November, the department recorded 15 days of poor air quality, far beyond the monthly norm.  On Monday, the levels of PM2.5, the most harmful form of pollutant, were 22 times the accepted safety level — the equivalent of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day. Pollution levels were expected to reach similar heights on Friday.

Even compared to the terrible fire seasons of 1994 and 2001, “this event,” state officials said, “is the longest and the most widespread in our records.”

It’s not just the human cost that should be counted either.

On 29 Dec, The Evening Standard reported:

Nearly 500 million animals killed in Australian bushfires, experts fear

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales's main habitat.

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September, The Times reported.

This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast.

So what will it take to get Scott (Scumo) Morrison to act in the nations and environments best interest…one of Australia’s cities burning down? Clearly a change in Government will be required in Australia before we see any meaningful reduction to their coal exports, which account for a whopping 7% of GHG emissions worldwide.

There is no question that increasingly hotter temperatures are fuelling these fires...and despite underfunded fire-fighters best efforts, the numerous infernos look set to continue destroying homes and livelihoods across Australia with little to no intervention from their climate change denying Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.