December (Canberra summer) — Caught in transition.
I feel compelled to take photos, both of the mundane and the unusual, as if to bear witness that these places, things, people and creatures, once existed and that they mattered.
The clouds swirl. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
A land in transition.
If there is water, they will come. It will not last. It is drying times.
The parched land is as cruel as it is beautiful.
How do you like your steak? Rare or well-done?
The children pay for the sins of the fathers.
Now the fathers are paying too.
Should we stay or should we go? A wrong decision could cost you your life.
The future of the Australian wine industry looks bleak.
I wonder how we will continue to feed ourselves as global food shortages loom?
Shall we let the market decide? The winner takes it all?
When we have plundered and polluted our water sources and bled our country dry, what then? What’s your contingency plan, ladies and gents of the government? Trucking water to millions? Or pray for rain?
Has it come to this?
A fine smoke haze tinged red, pink and gold over once fertile plains.
I can’t stand you apocalyptic types, you say.
Instead you proclaim Aussies innovative. We have spirit. We will thrive.
Adaptation is the way to go.
That’s a lot of faith not backed up by serious action,
Fortunately for you, managing climate risk is the responsibility of the states.
You are hard like the ground that greets our plaintive, hungry cries with false promises. With lies. You are but a shell, a mere carapace.
The children do not have your faith. Not any more.
I didn’t know.
Someone should have told me so that I could have had the chance to say goodbye.
I wake to a new dawn, a new decade, and I’m terrified.
I worked for almost 30 years in the Australian Public Service, providing impartial policy advice on a range of industry and regulatory matters, including on programs to assist industry to transition to a low carbon economy.
While the photos and the words in this post, paint a bleak picture, it is nothing compared to the photos and stories coming from the people directly affected by the firestorms in Australia over the last few months and days. It appears we may be witnessing ecosystem collapse. Right now. I hope I’m being melodramatic. I am terrified, but to ignore the dangers of unchecked anthropogenic climate change is to resign ourselves to more fires, more destruction, more death. The science tells us so. Let us re-build from these fires with a sustainable future in mind. We can show the world that we really are innovative.
I am still waiting anxiously for news of my father and his partner, who are in the south coast fire zone. [Update: He finally made contact and is fine.] I thank the firefighters for their efforts to protect lives and property, and all the communities in that area for banding together to support one another. Many more lives and homes would have been lost if not for them. There are also ferocious fires burning in other parts of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and West Australia. A question never far from our minds is will we be next? Another heatwave and strong winds are expected in the next couple of days.
This is my response to The Changing Seasons — December photo challenge, hosted by the lovely Su Leslie at Zimmerbitch. Click on the link to join in and to see other wonderful contributions.
Note: All photos taken around Canberra and Yass, except for the last one.