The year is now 2020.

14 years ago, I started this site as I was planning a move from Melbourne to Sydney. Previously, I’d been publishing on a friend’s server, buried in a subfolder, but that’s when the site came into its own. So now, with this post, I’ll have published items in 3 different decades – ain’t that a thing about getting old.

Right from the start, this site has been about my own political observations – one of the very first things written here was about the Cronulla Race Riot in December 2005, a decidedly unwelcome event for someone just about to move to the city.

It seems to have been an isolated incident of sorts, in hindsight, as we never quite got to something so nakedly racist on the streets of Australia again, but it left a high water mark – a new edge for the Overton window to nudge up against. And to some degree, you’d think over the years we’d nudged the Overton window the other way, with things like the Apology to the Stolen Generations, but that turned out not to be the case. We go into 2020 with the Conservatives in power across the US, UK, Australia, India, Russia… so many places of influence holding back and pushing towards a long-lost golden age without really understanding why that golden age existed in the first place.

Australia is on fire. I mean it in the worst possible way; at the time of writing, some 5.8 million hectares have been burnt, more than the Amazon fires of 2019, millions of tonnes of CO2 unleashed into the atmosphere just as we don’t need it, an estimated 500 million wild animals dead, a government in disarray as to how to respond, towns on the coast being evacuated by the Navy because there’s no other way out and the only safe place is to shelter on the beach because nothing can burn there after all.

14 years ago, I didn’t think that was coming. I knew global warming was an issue, but I didn’t know that we had such little time to turn the tide. I hoped that someone in charge knew what needed to be done; I voted along the lines that I thought would make a difference, but 14 years on, we’re still where we were, a brief flirtation with doing the right thing now six, seven years ended, and a government apparently in utter denial about what it takes to get it right.

A lot changed in that time.

A lot needs to be done still.

How do we start? Plant a tree. Speak to your neighbours about the issues. Figure out how you can reduce your impact. Talk to your family about what is coming, and how we can act to overcome that. Call your local MP at the state and federal level, speak to your councillors. Ask them what they’re doing, because we’ve seen now what it means to have warming truly come home to roost, and if we don’t want to live in a Mad Max world in our lifetimes, then we need to start changing it now.

Let’s make 2020 the year that you make a difference.

Climate Change and the End of Australia

Jeff Goodell, for Rolling Stone: Climate Change and the End of Australia:

¬†As the Big Dry dragged on, rainfall declined in the southern part of the country, where most of the people live and the majority of the food is grown, fueling the risk of catastrophic bush fires. The reasons for this change in rainfall patterns are complex, but many climate scientists believe that the Big Dry was driven by subtle shifts in the structure of Australia’s atmosphere caused by the dramatic buildup of carbon pollution. “The storm track, which brings rain-bearing weather to Australia, has shifted a few degrees south,” says Karoly, the University of Melbourne scientist. “Rain that had fallen on southwestern and southeastern Australia now falls on the ocean.” Global warming, in other words, shifted the continent’s vital rainfall out to sea.

For farmers in southeastern Australia, the minute shift in atmospheric conditions was devastating.

Nothing you don’t already know if you live in Australia, but seeing it all condensed into this article for foreign consumption makes it all the more relevant.