Our evolving Mother

You may have been aware of the Queensland floods which have been devastating the state since before Christmas 2010. I live in a town about 45-60 minutes south of Toowoomba which on 10 January was subject to what some are calling an ‘inland tsunami’. If you’ve not seen footage here is some that has found its way onto YouTube. (What did we ever do before the internet and smart phones?)

Beautiful – if you can call it that – tribute here:

For those who don’t know, Toowoomba is 700m (2300ft) ABOVE sea level. The river through my town peaked at around 8m just after Christmas. Some pics here.

Apparently it’s about the same now and our region is heading for more heavy rain (100mm daily) so it’s not over yet.

People are talking about the ‘end of the world’. But it’s worth remembering just over 12 months ago our farmers were begging the government for drought relief. This rain has brought an end to over 7 years of devastating drought. Of Queensland’s 23 dams all but three are at 100% capacity with the dams spilling or releases being made from storage.

Our government spent millions on desalination plants which they said would save us all from the guaranteed water shortage – saying that it was guaranteed we would run out of water in a relatively short space of time. Scientists were telling us that the world was running out of water! How short-sighted … and what ignorance when it comes to historical weather patterns.

Little was made of the environmental-disaster-in-waiting of these desal plants: the greenhouse gas emissions caused by them; the amount of power needed to run them; the amount of water (yes, WATER) needed to run them … just to make water; and the potential for devastation of marine life with the salt removed from the sea water being put BACK IN to the oceans. Hands up who thinks this is a GOOD idea??

When questioned what effect the addition of salt to the world’s seas would have the ‘experts’ said the ocean currents would simply ‘wash it away’. Even the most inattentive primary school student knows the ocean is a closed system – eventually that additional salt is going to build up with devastating consequences on the marine ecosystem – which is already very fragile. Of course it will takes years – perhaps hundreds of years – for this to happen so no doubt the politicians were simply thinking ‘Well, yep it will cause a problem but not in MY lifetime so why should I care?

I guess in hindsight the government should have spent the money on stormwater catchment, water purification plants and underground water storage for just this sort of thing happening.

And let’s face it – we live on an evolving planet. The Mother moves, shifts, changes, breathes and has done so for millions of years. She did so before us and will continue to do so long after we’ve gone.

It’s time for governments – who make the decisions for us – to focus less on short-term political gain and more on long-term solutions that benefit our planet well into the future and way beyond their political lives. They – we – have an obligation not only to our own generation but to those who follow us.

It’s absolutely bizarre that the people who can’t tell us what the f*** weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the f*** global temperatures will be in 100 years’ time. It’s horse***.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair boss


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