Sunday 26 January 2020

Australia from Space: Before and After.

'This crisis has been unfolding for years': 4 photos of Australia from space, before and after the bushfires

Use the slider tool in the images below to see before and after NASA satellite images of Australia’s fire and drought effects. NASA
Molly Glassey, The Conversation; Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation, and Wes Mountain, The Conversation
Editor’s note: We pulled four before-and-after-images from NASA’s Worldview application, and asked bushfire researcher Grant Williamson to reflect on the story they tell. Here’s what he told us:

Sunday 19 January 2020

Nature and Carbon Pricing.


Almost a year ago to the date, two large Menindee mass fish kills shocked Australia and the world. Water no longer flowing through the Darling River caused those deaths.

Last week another mass fish kill (said to be in the hundreds of thousands) on the Macleay River went all but unnoticed. Ironically, this time the cause was the rain, adding water to the river bed.

Rain falling over Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria these last few days (justifiably welcome by firefighters and farmers alike) carried bushfire ash to the river. The fish suffocated in the thick sludge. According to witnesses, between 60 and 100 kilometers of river dead.

Nature is not a trivial thing. That’s why there are tertiary and post-graduate courses covering biology, ecology, Earth Science, meteorology, oceanography and many, many others. It takes time, smarts, and hard work to study those subjects, let alone to master them.

With all due respect, I am not sure economists are equipped for that.

Monday 13 January 2020

The Interview (Updated).


That journalists love a scoop is a fact so well-known it has become a commonplace.

So, when last Sunday ABC journos were given an unscheduled opportunity to interview Scott Morrison (no doubt with little notice and by someone close enough to the man himself), it is understandable that they were eager to seize the opportunity.

And, given the tragedy of apocalyptic proportions that has hit Australia (and indeed how unusual the situation appears to an outsider like yours truly) it was reasonable to expect not only a big announcement, but The Big Announcement.

Thursday 9 January 2020

Fire: Light and Fury.


Scott Connolly, ACTU Assistant Secretary, writes
Many of you have been asking how we can help. Right now, the best way that we can assist is by donating money to the Australian Red Cross, Victorian Bushfire Appeal or the ACTU Bushfire Relief Fund. The ACTU Bushfire Relief fund has been established to especially provide support to union members who may need support beyond that available generally.
For members in Victoria, please also consider donating to the Victorian Government Bushfire Disaster Appeal.
Additionally, union members can volunteer their skills.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Unsung Heroes.

It’s a commonplace that extreme situations bring out the best and the worst in people. It’s also true.

The twin disasters of Scott Morrison and environmental catastrophe wrecking Australia are no exception. The list of those going above and beyond the call of duty for the common good is long and largely anonymous: volunteer and professional firefighters, paramedics, charity volunteers, neighbours.

I believe these are doing their best. As a member of the public, I speak on my behalf only. Still, I suspect many would agree with me on this.

Friday 3 January 2020

“The Township Will Not be Defendable”.

That’s part of the advice the NSW Rural Fire Service delivered to Batlow residents and visitors yesterday. “If you are in this area, particularly in the general area from Batlow north to Wondalga and west of Blowering Dam, you need to leave before tomorrow.”

A number of areas where residents and locals are urged to leave were identified around southeast NSW and eastern Victoria.

More generally, emergency authorities in both states have highlighted the seriousness of the situation in their frequent media appearances.