Uncommon Sense

November 28, 2021

Burning

Last night I saw a documentary, aptly titled “Burning,” on the massive fire season experienced by Australia in 2019. Australia is well acquainted with fires, but in the past never had more than about 5% of the “Bush” burned in any one season. In 2019, over 20% of the Bush burned, including rainforests which had never burned in human knowledge because they were “too wet.”

The footage was heartbreaking, not because so many lost their homes, but also because billions of wild animals died from smoke inhalation and by burning. I cannot get an image of a koala with its fur on fire out of my mind.

Before during and after all of this, the Australian government, described as “right-leaning” by the very right-wing media, so, hard right is probably the best label for it, denied climate change was a factor and blamed the large number of fires happening concurrently on arsonists. (Rupert Murdock is from Australia, no?)

I wonder is any public person challenged these claims of “arson” by politicians and news readers by asking questions like: “How do you know this?” and “If you have knowledge of acts of arson, you need to turn in those arsonists now, so do you? Do you have actual knowledge or are you just blowing smoke?”

The same pols and news readers/commenters also claimed that climate change had nothing to do with the burning of the entire continent. Similarly: “How do you know this?” “What are your sources?” etc. are questions that should have been asked. (They might have been but considering the state of the media, I suspect not.)

Also, nowhere in all of the presentations was there any mention of where the politicians involved got their donations? “Follow the money” is a time worn aphorism that is as true today as it was when first spoken, but the documentarians didn’t mention political money at all. Possibly there is a cultural taboo associated with talking about political money, or the documentarians wanted to avoid the controversy involved which would take away from their message. People should be able to put two and two together.

At the end, the statement was made that the average atmospheric temperature increase due to global atmospheric warming has been 1.1 degrees Celsius. Australia, however has experience a 1.5 degree Celsius increase and could be a harbinger of things to come. They made a comparison of the awful fire seasons experienced in places like California, where 14+ million acres burned. Other catastrophes were listed, most smaller. Australia saw 59 million acres burn in its fires. Can you imagine what California would be like were it to experience fires of the same magnitude.

Of course, when the ultraconservative government was petitioned for more firefighters and fire equipment in advance as all of the signs indicated would be a very bad fire season, they stood pat. Actual, we don’t know what they did as they didn’t reply to the request, even to say “no.”

And, in Ted Cruz fashion, the Prime Minister went off to holiday in Hawaii during the middle of the catastrophe. His justification was that he wasn’t going to be holding a shovel of a hose, so he was not needed.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or disgusted that Trumpian troglodytes exist all over the planet.

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