Story by Emmjay

FM asked me the other day – when the air in Sydney was simply unbreathable, and water restrictions (albeit mild by national standards) had cut in and we were trying to save the garden with a few watering cans worth of the wet stuff – she asked whether I thought this might be the start of the end.

Now lest anyone think otherwise, FM is a pretty tough cookie.  She grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs amongst a prototype generation that has now morphed into a tin plated underclass, with an industry specialty in random violence and petty crime.  An excellent place from which to emigrate – as she did`.

I think FM’s question was prompted by the completely bonkers and human-hostile weather and the fact that there’s no rain in sight.  And it’s everywhere.  Look at the terrible fires in North and South America.  People getting burnt out of their homes in the tens of thousands.  And the rainforests of  the Amazon and south east Asia more or less constantly on fire.

The ABC reported that the current fire season had dumped a gazillion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere equivalent to half of the usual national CO2 production.

Some of our patrons know that Emmlet 1 has a farm in NSW’s New England Tablelands.  This is the first time the farm has run out of water in 130 years.  FM and I are going up there for Christmas and I asked Emmlet 1 whether it would help if we brought up a few hundred litres of drinking water for the house.  Just not wanting to be a burden on their family.  She replied that it was a lovely thought but they buy in their water 10,000 litres at a time – by the tanker load.

More worrying is that the feed bill is currently $15,000 a week !  A BLOODY WEEK !  And she added that they will have to take the hard decision in the new year about selling off their breeding stock.  I’m sure you can imagine what kind of catastrophe that must be for a farming family.   When it eventually does rain.  Assuming that rain will come some time – the prices of stock will go through the roof and farmers / graziers who sold at the bottom of the market will have to buy back at the top.  Bloody cruel.

Emmlet 1 said that Australia will see a lot of small family farm holdings come onto the market as a result of not just the drought – but the breaking of the drought – and the only people with the cash to buy will be the big agribusiness companies.  

I’m sure you can see what this means for our country and our rural people – consolidation of power in the hands of the few – the kind of outcome that has led to the plundering of the Murray Darling by monster  cotton growing conglomerates.  And this coupled with the gutless, nay just plain stupid politicians who are apologists for big business constitute a worsening crisis for the driest inhabited continent on Earth.

I really don’t know how to answer FM’s question.  Is this the start of the end ?  I have a sneaking suspicion that the numbers of happy clappers lining up behind Scomo to offer up prayers suggests that the possibility that humanity’s end game is warming up is an unspoken but widespread suspicion.

It’s a spooky feeling, is it not ?  A bit like the passengers on the titanic – well aware that there were too few lifeboats rearranged the deck chairs and joined the band and chorus singing “Nearer my God to Thee”.

But, I suppose that this is taking far too short a view.  It’s not an off a cliff catastrophic event like the meteorite strike that allegedly wiped out the dinosaurs.  Maybe it’s more like the black death that wiped out a third of humanity at the time – a brutal, but admittedly effective way of pressing the reset button on an overpopulated planet.

I want to finish up on a more positive note than that, though.  Is it not great news that so many Australians, in the face of the shittiest leadership in living memory – are doing the right thing by our country.  Solar power and wind farms are actually putting downward pressure on coal prices.  They are slowing demand !  Hurrah !  And there’s nothing that the coal loving Scummo can do about that.  As solar and wind power becomes cheaper than coal and gas, we are arriving at the tipping point where digging up carbon makes no economic sense.  

More good news is the increasing divestiture of investment in carbon by the massively cashed up super funds. And I read today on the ABC web site that the UN is pressuring the giant Siemens to stop buying coal from Adani.  What a Christmas present for the world that would be.

As I rocket towards retirement, my fears for the future for my Emmlet and her 1.5 kids is a little bit allayed by the possibility of a slowing decline, by the actions of a new generation of activists – who have the power of the Internet at their fingertips  and the support of a generation who cut their teeth on demonstrating in the 1960s.  It’s not an overnight solution, but the drive and audacity of the young is a beacon for everyone.

FM and I want to wish all our dear friends at the Pig’s Arms greetings for the season and our sincere hopes for a fucking wet 2020.

Emmjay and FM.