Our polluted path to oblivion

| January 10, 2020

I recently received a birthday present, a book entitled ‘The Uninhabitable Earth, A Story of the Future’ by David Wallace-Wells published in 2019. Wallace-Wells is deputy editor of New York magazine. By the time I reached page 9, I was so shocked by what I’ve read I am determined to assist Wallace-Wells in spreading his message.

Prior to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, environmental scientists had identified 400 parts per million of carbon concentration in the atmosphere put us at the tipping point into climate catastrophe. From this point onwards, we are creating an atmosphere that we won’t be able to survive in. Just two years later, our carbon concentration had risen to 411 ppm.

Evidence abounds that we have long passed the ‘safe limit’ and still we advance increasing levels of pollution. I read where ‘Whole regions of Africa and Australia and the United States, parts of South America north of Patagonia and Asia south of Siberia would be rendered uninhabitable by direct heat, desertification and flooding’ by the effects of climate change.

I suspect that the climate deniers are vastly outnumbered by those who recognize the coming disaster – but despite endless well meaning platitudes, there seems to be no action to address the hazard.

It worries me that those who have a responsibility to lead and correct humanity’s collective progress into the immediate future, seemingly, are unable to achieve a consensus.

The reasons are many.

The main culprit was and is, the industrial age which began in the late 1700’s and has lead to rampant, ever increasing industrial expansion to today’s world.

Making money of course is the real reason we’ve managed to trash our environment. I suspect we’re learning that untrammeled profit is not desirable for 90% of the population. But who will act?

Science tells us it is almost past the time when corrective action will alter our future course.

Of late, here in Australia, we have had ample evidence that climatic conditions have seemingly gone haywire. This is occurring, worldwide. In NSW and the lower half of Qld. we’re now into our third year of drought. In eastern Australia, our internal river systems have largely dried up, many towns are without water.

This year, right across our eastern seaboard, we’re experiencing dry storm events, torrential downpours and bushfires, mostly caused by lightning strikes on the dry bush. The collective environmental damage is disastrous.

It is likely many farms, businesses and lifestyles will never recover. The resultant social bill on government as the community recovers may be well nigh insurmountable.

I read this morning that Mr. Albanese says he will support the government in refusing to ban coal exports. He also said, under Labor, no new coal fired power stations would be built. All the political posturing from both sides falls way short of the determined immediate action we need and look for.

Our national vision regarding future energy needs and environmental management is conspicuously absent. As many a correspondent has noted, our current system of government is in itself, self defeating. John Menadue’s suggestion of electing independents outside the party system would seem to offer a viable alternative.

But maybe, it is too late to redress our coming environmental disaster, we seem to be more concerned with making a profit and then, buy our way out of trouble.