Saturday, January 18, 2014

While it Rains in Central Australia, Coastal Australia Swelters

As I write, it has been drizzling in Central Australia for several days on and off and it's raining heavier than a drizzle at present. It's very nice and has driven down the usual high temperatures we get at this time of year.

I have the front doors and rear door of our house open allowing a cool breeze to move through the house keeping it pleasantly cool ... no air-conditioning here thank you.

It's a very different story throughout most of coastal Australia where bush fires have devastated large areas of land and destroyed dozens of houses and live stock. A handful of people has died from heat exhaustion and the ambulance service tells us their paramedics have dealt with numbers of individuals whose hearts have literally stopped working ... cardiac arrests, through heat stress.

Today we are lucky to be in Central Australia. Last month we had our share of temperatures in the high 40s (Celsius), but we are accustomed to high temperatures and have houses with evaporative or split level airconditioning which is not always available in southern houses. We know how to live with heat.

The claim that climate change is a myth is a difficult one to support with the evidence. However, Australia is always hot in Summer and we have a long history of heat-induced bush fires. Some degree of climate change has been with us always so it's hard to gauge whether it's part of a natural cycle in nature or, as some say, caused by our presence and activities here on Mother Earth.

Cutting down trees, driving motor vehicles and running coal-fired electricity plants probably do contribute to climate, so it's a thin argument to claim that humankind doesn't contribute. But when I visited Rabaul in Papua New Guinea in April last year and saw the resident volcano puffing out millions of cubic metres of smoke, I realised that we aren't the only culprits.

As I enjoy the cool weather for as long as it lasts, I can't help but think that while climate change caused by global warming may be of long term detriment to us, there are other issues more likely to have a dramatic impact on life on earth than climate change. One that comes to mind is religious intolerance.

Hope you are enjoying your new year.