When will there be a reckoning?

in #rant3 years ago (edited)

ABC News: Victorian Fires photo by Amber Rendell

In what is starting to become a bit better known throughout the rest of the world... Australia is suffering from a bit of a bushfire problem at the moment. A combination of extremely high heat conditions and other factors including a reduced time for pre-burning of vegetation in the autumn has led to a pretty drastic confluence of conditions for a bit of a smoky summer.

Ending this week, was the news that a huge area of south coastal New South Wales is being evacuated... you aren't being forced to leave, but it is a pretty strong recommendation as the weather conditions for the coming weekend are expected to be risky at best! Unfortunately, the area (which is quite huge...) includes the area that my family in law are currently spending their summer holidays.

They have been there since just after Christmas, with various parts of the family coming and going... already before New Year, there was some trouble getting to the right town as the roads were occasionally being blocked for fires.... things haven't really gotten better, and I had mentioned before, the weather is not really boding well for the coming weekend.

Yesterday, they tried to make it back to Canberra... but due to the evacuation order, there was a huge traffic standstill on the only way out of the area.... and after several hours of standstill, they turned back to the coast again. The plan is that they would leave before dawn today... but we haven't yet heard any more from them. Needless to say, my wife is a touch worried...

The town that they were in was heavily affected by last year's fire season... with a fire front burning right through and destroying lots of houses. Their house only just narrowly survived due to the quick actions of neighbours who were able to quickly douse the spotfires that had started up in the neighbouring bushland.


So, this was the current map of the region this European morning. It looks relatively peaceful... the blue fires are under control and the yellow ones are not controlled. Thankfully, no red ones yet... however, keep in mind that this is during a weather period of relative calm... this weekend (and New Year..) is shaping up to be quite different, and it is possible that these blue fires will escape containment in unpredictable ways.... the black areas are burnt out.

The video above shows how quickly these things can change... from a moment of relatively ordered retreat... to suddenly being surrounded by flames as the front overtakes them due to a hail of embers.


This evacuation is one of the biggest in known history of the Australian mainland... the size of the affected area is 14,000 square kilometres (I'm not sure if this was the non-expanded zone... it was expanded at some point...) which is about the size of Netherlands.... and this is only one of the affected areas... it just happens to be the largest.


The questions then becomes... is this the new normal? After decades of dicking around and pretending that scientists were just making climate predictions for fame and treasure... we have found ourselves in this weird situation, where politicians and vested interests have managed to demonise people who study and understand systems... for what? Money...

Now, granted... all of us in a modern society are complicit in this problem to a greater or lesser extent... I'm not denying this at all! Speaking for myself, I'm sure that my personal consumption and pollution footprint due to the services and goods that I use contributes to this. However, there are definitely some people in the world who are in the position of really pushing this impact to the limit, and either willfully or ignorantly taking the planet ecosystem down with no empathy for their fellow humans on the Earth... for money... just a little bit more... and as long as you live in rich palaces and are shielded from the direct effects of your actions, it is okay.

Then we have the gutless politicians... from all sides. The Liberal government in Australia (centre right) who have managed to completely deny climate change and stymied policies to combat Australia's high per capita pollution levels... through to the Greens who have managed to resist practical policies in favour of idealist perfection. There is more than enough blame to go around... meanwhile, the scientists and policy wonks are just ignored... but it is okay, because the politicians will find themselves in a good "consultancy" job afterwards with no need to take responsibility for their lack of action.

Screenshot 20200102 15.42.36.png

Honestly, it takes a lot for me to get worked up about anything... I used to believe that people did things out of ignorance or local goodness without a picture of understanding the wider and longer term effects... in essence, that no one did things out of pure evil... but I now think that there is a third option... people do things out of lack of empathy... there is money and power and fame to be won, and the effects of such actions are never seen or felt... and for some people that is okay.

I wish that there would be a reckoning for those who willfully push these stupid ideas and reject the softly spoken advice of scientists... this stands for climate change as well as other areas (all sides of politics are guilty of picking and choosing advice...), however, I know full well that those who have the reddest hands will come away with the least losses, and to be realistic, they will have squeezed out as much profit as possible before ditching aside the carcass... this is not right....

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@bengy Hi mate. I have had family affected as well. Sorry that your relatives are stuck in the middle of this mess. I hope they are ok.

Hope your family made it through the weekend without too much difficulty. It appears to have backed off a little bit this week.

My heart breaks for the people and loss of animals in these terrible fires. I have been following it on the news. I pray for rain there. 🙏

Yes rain would be very welcome... but we are in a serious drought... so, just a cool change and less wind would be more than enough!

Okay. I’m sending positive vibes. 💗 ⚡️ As Captain Jean Luc Picard says, “Make it so!”

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Where is your family staying? I can’t believe all of these towns I was just in are now destroyed or evacuated or surrounded by fire not to mention out of food/ petrol.

My sister in law is an ambo in Canberra and she has been sent half way to the coast to help along the evacuation route.

Not being there, I was surprised to see photos of Bermagui being evacuated with people backed up on one lane of road. You would think they would turn all roads one way out of town. But maybe the resources don’t exist to do that safely? Or they need the other side to give emergency services access?

We were in that town Cobargo November 18.
My photo is on top here and some photo from the news is on the bottom.

Totally gone.

It is so sad.

Oh! And I saw Thredbo and snowy mountains are being evacuated now and Canberra is on high alert. They stopped delivering mail in Canberra because the air is so bad it wasn’t safe for the posties to be outside!

My in laws are at Tathra, which burnt up last year.... they will try and make a line for Canberra this morning. I hope it goes well, I can't imagine that getting stuck in a traffic jam would be a great thing either if the fires break out.

As for the sides of the road... I heard that there isn't the resources to safely do traffic management anyway, so it would be a touch dangerous on long stretches of road. Plus, as you said, there needs to be easy access for emergency vehicles....

Great for your sister in law... doing good work... I only wish there was a way to hold the people who got us into this mess accountable... but there won't be, after all, if you can't get the people responsible for more mundane things like oil spills or the Great Financial Crisis... you have no chance of getting accountability here.

I hope your inlaws get out without too much trouble @bengy. Xx

Have they made it to Canberra yet? I just saw a news report listing Tathra as a “everyone leave now” spot.

Yes, thankfully they made it back in the early hours of the morning without incident. Tathra might have bad luck two years running....

There MUST be a reckoning!! I too, have family and friends on the Victorian side of this fire disaster - not holidaying , but living. Or trying to. They Australian government has been pissing around with this for 50 years and the Australian voters have failed to hold them accountable. Ash Wednesday we nearly lost our home and knew several who died. That was 40 years ago!! Yes, it is inevitable. No, it is not a freak natural event or unlucky phenomenon. The failure to back burn according to the indigenous Australian way has drastically increased fuel load. That wealthy Australia is still using a predominantly volunteer rural fire service? Shame. My neice's husband, Russell, is one of the firies volunteering around Mallacoota today.

We must globally listen and act. But the Australian govt almost needs to be dragged to The Hague (ironically my hometown) for crimes against humanity.

That everyone focuses on the travelers and tourists and not the eco-living people who have created sustainable lives there (my brother in the Strezlecki Ranges) upsets me too.

Hope your family-in-law holidays more wisely next time and evacuates safely. Prayers for those who live there.

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Yes, it is a bit confluence of many past and current decisions that have led to this... This does seem worse than most years, but it happens (albeit on a smaller scale) every year.

I have read a little about the indigenous methods of fire management... Leaving aside the changes climatic conditions, is it something that is compatible or adaptable to the fixed population centres that modern Australia has?

That volunteer fire fighting is the backbone of a seasonal fire effort is a bit of a joke. No offence to the fire fighters, but we make more than enough via mining to at least funnel some resources towards paying these people who risk their lives and for equipment as well...

My parents in law have a coastal house in Tathra (which survived last years disaster...), but they are a touch on the old side to stay and fight... Plus too many little ones down there with them. They chose to leave, but still be back there next year as it has been their second home for past few decades! Thankfully, their group of cars made it back safely in early hours of Friday.

It sounds like Victoria is also having a huge crisis and the potential for the fires to link across borders... Best of luck to your friends and relatives, and a special thanks to Russell, hope he stays safe. (Mallacoota, that was where they were cut off and had to be evacuated by the Navy?)

Yes, Mallacoota is where there were cut off and the evacuees had to be taken off by the navy. You're sooooo right about mining profits!!! Glad your in-laws made it out safely and hope their holiday house survives for the next generation.

Farkin Morrison. Unempathetic twat. Just horrifying. Xx We have family friends in Pambula who cant get back to south Vic. Wishing everyone to be safe. Scary. Van is packed just in case.

Pfffff... I have been watching some of the videos of him... it's a bit cringy and embarassing....

Thanks, my family in law made it out easily... thankfully it is a cooler week ahead.

It was such a tragic event, hopefully effected families recover soon

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Thank you for the curation! It is a terrible event... and some of the reactions to deflect from possible causes have been quite fictional at best and misleading at worst. Sadly, there was also a large flood in Indonesia which was just as (if not more...) deadly, but that got less attention.

Dear @bengy

Wow it's very terrible to read this kind of news,
The first thing that comes to my mind is the most unprotected animals that suffer the serious consequences of these fires.

Of course I also think about people but they will always have the opportunity to leave those areas that are in danger.

I hope that all that is happening in Australia can be solved without any loss of either human or animal.


Yes... the animals have suffered quite a blow... from the direct effects and the subsequent loss of habitat. It's quite quite a huge blow to try and rebuild from... and in some cases, it may be impossible.

This is a very saddening and alarming situation, especially after watching that the new year celebration took place as of nothing was happening. There should be a massive effort to put out the fires; there should be technology and resources to prevent fires from expanding this rapidly and this massively.
People, both politicians and common citizens are more concerned about keeping appearances than about saving the very planet where those appearances are supposed to matter.
It's like the titanic's musicians or security personell.
I hope this nightmare ends soon and does not take more lives.

It was a huge contrast to the New Year's celebration... there was talk of cancelling it, but in the end it went ahead. I'm not sure that it should have...

I really think that people will hopefully wake up from their apathetic slumber... even if the only outcome is to move to a better technology whilst reducing the impact of climate change and pollution. Or at the very least, making the people who profit from this not socialise the costs of their actions.

So bad we need a big down pour of rain for a few days some of my friends have already lost everything so sad to see 😒

Ouch... sorry to hear that you have had friends who lost much to the fires... hopefully not lives.

Thank you @bengy for your thoughts luckily no lives thank God 🙂

This is terrible. I’ve been fretting a lot snout the fires, and your post really helps to shed light in the realities of it all. And the blame. Yes, we all need to reduce our carbon footprint but it’s those in power and in a position to set policies that can and should and must make the right decisions for the environment. To see them denying facts and science even in the face of this kind of evidence is just mind blowing.

The video you shared is absolutely frightening, @bengy. I certainly hope those fire fighters made it through, and I hope your wife’s family is able to evacuate!

That video is insane... the people who fight these fires are completely amazing!

These fires were terrible... but at the same time, there were many more lives lost in Indonesia due to flooding. Unfortunately, only first world countries make the news...

This is so scary I hope your family is safe and you will get some news very soon. Yesterday Melbourne was under smoke today is better and hopefully, the rain due for the next days will help to put those terrible fires down.

Thankfully, it appears that the cooler weather after the weekend have quietened things down... however, it is only part way through the fire season!

Well said, that man!
I have in-laws in the Toowoomba region, who were standing by to evacuate their homes a few weeks back.
The current Australian government is the epitome of the 'God's own gardeners' mentality that should have been shed decades ago.
It was good to see the PM run out of town on the BBC today.

I hope your family stay safe.

Seeing him run.out of town made me sick..he wasnt run out, he chickenshit left.

Well... God's own gardeners (if I understand the term)... should have meant that humans were the custodians rather than the pillagers...

Anyway, it seems like most of these evangelical and Pentecostal churches (like our PM...) have flipped the "first shall be last" idea and decided that earthly riches are a measure of God's love...

... but I will stop, I'm personally an atheist and I have no issues with people's personally religion... only the lack of accountability and the double standards in morality!

I've been following these fires as well @bengy. It is so sad, for me moreso for the wildlife, loss of habitat etc. They are not responsible.

The loss of wildlife is mind blowing... the idea that the koala can be pushed the brink of being functionally extinct?!?!?!?!

Shared to Twitter... I don't think I've ever had a more cranky post... I hope some people's names will live on in infamy.



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