After having travelled nearly 4,000 km to get here, I am now starting to feel a bit guilty about burning all that diesel to power our trip! (Just as well we planted lots of trees before we left!) After being (blissfully) out of mobile reception for several days,
I was brought back to earth with a jolt by the plethora of emails from all the various conservation and activist organisations we subscribe to - headlines screaming at me that the ‘Arctic is Burning’, our Pacific neighbours are drowning as seawaters rise, large-scale solar investment is about to ‘fall off the cliff’ because of government policies, etc.
In the past few days, I have learned of two stories, which left me shocked and somewhat angered, by the ignorance and greed displayed in each case. Firstly, at Geikie Gorge, near Fitzroy Crossing, we were told by the Park Ranger that cattle from the neighbouring station had been allowed to invade the National Park to drink from the river, and in the process destroyed the habitat of the critically endangered Purple-crowned Fairy-wren, virtually wiping out the entire local population.
Secondly, we heard that Gina Reinhardt, and other wealthy landholders, were proposing a scheme to use water from the Fitzroy River basin for a large-scale irrigation project - this, in spite of the fact that water levels in this basin are at their lowest in living memory, having endured two very dry ‘wet’ seasons in a row (last year, Fitzroy Crossing had 60mm of rain over the ‘wet’ months instead of the average 600mm). Vast areas of this region are suffering through reduced water table levels, so schemes such as this proposal will further weaken the resilience of the local flora and fauna.
On a positive note, I read, with awe and admiration, the email relating the story of the people of the Negros Occidental province of the Philippines, and their struggles to keep their province coal-mine and coalpower free. I was also encouraged by the plan that Holley and Fin have to encourage people to plant as many trees as possible to absorb atmospheric CO2.
There are many organisations within Australia which are devoting considerable energy to overcome political brick walls (or, more bluntly, plain stupidity and greed) in the fight to counter climate change, and if we support them, vocally and/or financially, they will succeed, because politicians will respond to public pressure.
We need to all start writing letters to newspapers, expressing our frustration with the unwillingness of governments to take the necessary urgent steps to counter climate change, or telephone your local member and record your displeasure with their party's policies. We cannot continue to expect that someone else will do this on our behalf.
I live in hope that common sense will prevail over greed and stupidity!
Source: BSFG Newsletter #25 - September 2015