Climate Change: The Australian Apocalypse
These last weeks and months I have been caught up in the horror show that is the Australian bushfire season and the insane heatwave. Not to mention the dust storms and our bone dry interior rendering scores of communities WITH NO WATER. What is unfolding here is well beyond Day Zero. It’s time all of us faced the reality we have been wilfully ignoring for decades.
With fires blazing out of control all over the continent, lives lost, homes lost, wildlife incinerated, it has been impossible for me to write creatively. Book promo, which is the usual undertaking for authors during these weeks in the hope of Christmas sales, has seemed to me in very poor taste, for me personally, that is. I have been unable to detach from the apocalyptic reality. I’ve felt the grief of those who have lost loved ones and homes and livelihoods. I have listened to the fire chiefs describing these new kinds of fire, ferocious fires that create their own weather. Fires that are too big and too erratic to be controlled. Each morning, I read the headlines and I can’t repress the tears.
I have read with alarm countless articles on climate change and it is fast sinking in that what we are going through right now in Australia, or indeed during the whole of 2019 around the world, is the ‘new normal’. How will we cope? How will we cope lurching from disaster to disaster? What lies ahead for us? This situation – while it goes on first here then there and everywhere else can ignore it – is a global state of emergency and someone needs to declare it.
Where Are Our Leaders?
Meanwhile, our governments, and especially the Australian government, are choosing to do nothing to mitigate climate change and everything to make this disastrous situation worse. Their myopia has as much to do with vested self-interest as it does the pressures exerted on them by powerful lobby groups of the fossil fuel industry. Not to mention kid bro Australia has to be seen to be kowtowing in lickspittle fashion to the mega-power coming out of the US.
In the absence of effective leadership, we need to take the matter into our own hands, as has been exemplified by our retired fire chiefs who have banded together to hold a bush fire/climate change summit in 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/dec/17/hugely-disappointed-emergency-chiefs-to-hold-bushfire-summit-with-or-without-pm These fire chiefs give me hope. They are standing firm and they are firmly situated in mainstream Australia. They cannot be sidelined as fringe dwellers.
Voices of Negativity
I have had to put down my pen and focus my attention on this cataclysmic situation, because I am well aware we need to make change happen fast.
We need to understand that the scale and intensity of the bushfires now raging throughout Australia is entirely the result of climate change. Some are countering this reality by talking about fuel loads and blaming the ‘greenies’, the ‘environmentalists’ – two dirty words thanks to a decades long smear campaign – for limiting fuel-reduction burns. Fuel loads have little to nothing to do with these fires as has been stated by our fire chiefs.
We need to sidestep the arguments over whether Greta Thunberg should be in school, questions over who is funding her, and suspicions over their agenda. Put the word ‘Green’ in anything and the blinkered clarion conspiracy or some such nonsense. Greta Thunberg is who she is and she’s doing a grand job.
Others complain about how annoying Extinction Rebellion is, and ‘those people should not be allowed to disrupt our lives’. What an absurd complaint! They are taking action because the rest of us do-nothings haven’t.
We need to step outside of our own habituated thinking patterns and face the situation. Inertia is going to kill us.
Then there are the deniers. Frankly, climate change denial is an idiotic position in the face of irrefutable truth. Those who perpetuate the lies should be held accountable. Those who believe them need therapy. As many are saying, we need an international court for Climate Crimes Against Humanity. That will mop up the fossil fuel giants behind the misinformation campaign.
Do Something to Make a Difference
The first question we should all be asking ourselves, the first thought we should have at the beginning of each day is this: What Am I Doing to Make a Difference? Just about every one of us can do something. It isn’t hard. We really should be doing everything to make a difference, but something is a good start. To do nothing in the face of this reality is not only astonishingly selfish, it is astonishing self-destructive. I acknowledge those who cannot act to mitigate climate change for various legitimate reasons. The rest of us must double our efforts to compensate. We cannot wait around for our governments to do all the heavy lifting. We cannot be complacent. Here are a few things you can do: https://isobelblackthorn.com/2019/11/24/authors-have-a-moral-duty-to-help-save-the-planet/
I have taken a stand. I have a huge solar system on my roof and I feed in more power than I use. I have no car and am not much of a consumer of anything. These are the things I have been able to do. I mention them because I do not want to be considered a hypocrite. I have been concerned about climate change since the mid 1980s. I am now declaring myself a climate activist. I’ll do as much as I can.
Somehow or other, I will also continue to write books, but existential stress undermines creativity, so it won’t be easy.
Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, dark psychological thrillers and historical fiction. She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.