I have been fortunate to have lived in Australia twice and learnt much about this vast and extreme continent on a number of levels. A superb place to live
if you have a job and cash, because you definitely can have good times. Having visited at least 500 times, when I used to fly as crew for Air NZ, I
have a very warm relationship with our Aussie cousins. They are essentially a good, friendly, fun loving people.
Australia is known as the driest continent on earth, precluding Antarctica which is drier. I have fought bush fires there and they are terror inducing.
The first thing you notice after exiting your cool air conditioned room or car is the sudden impact of hot air blasting you, then enveloping you. Whoommp!
40 degrees plus and higher and dry as! Your first breath of heated air shocks you. Just like opening up an oven door in your kitchen, but instead
this is surrounding you!
Instantly you start sweating and you feel beads of sweat running down your face, inside your shirt/ blouse down through your underwear even down your
However, with the added stimulus of urgency and adrenaline, being surrounding by flames, smoke all around, you dont notice this. If you have goggles
at least your eyes are protected, a wet scarf over your mouth and nose helps sightly but your breathing is laboured as hot air scorches your throat,
but you are too occupied with the horror that surrounds you, the roar of flames, the crackle of trees and branches going up in flames, the explosion
and whoosh and crackle of eucalyptus leaves igniting. And you are running, as the fire spreads towards you, moving so fast at times we have to sprint
to our cars and utes and out-pace it as the scorch of tires on gravel road and tarmac - to get in front, as kangaroos bound along trying to outrun
the flames of a fire storm that can have flames to 100 feet high! With helicopters whirling above us dropping water its a cacophony of noise and tumult
Horror and terror that's what an Australia bush fire is. Becoming a scorched earth covering 1000s of hectares! A true nightmare. Where unheard of
bravery goes unreported a hundred times a day as our Australian kin go in to beat out the flames, or if you are fortunate squirt them out with water.
With global warming, climate change and weather patterns altering, I have a huge concern that Australia is going to dry from the inside out.
This is a horrendous story in the making, unless we find a way to alleviate this.
Regrettable, there is another story that many will say has accelerated the drying out of the land within the farming community across Australia and
that is this.
If you go up onto http://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/land clearing/Queensland/qldveg0007/ or do a search on Google, it used to
be on the Queensland Greens web site, you will find that in Queensland alone 4,000 square kilometres of land have been cleared annually for the last
30 years plus. Admittedly a lot of these trees were arcacia, but trees protect the earth, stimulate bird and insect life and have a tendency to drawing
4000 sq kilometres a year and that is only in one Australian state! What's going on here?
And when the farmers suffer from a drought, they then ask the city population to bail them out with loans?
Unfortunately, the Howard National Government, have been basically blind to climate change, and never signed the Kyoto protocol, showing its ignorance
of climate degredation.
This is a reflection of the collective consciousness of Australians in general.
Very sad for all biota in Australia.
The land clearing practices, of many hard working and tenacious Australian farmers sadly defies logic. Especially in the era of climate change or
in Dr James Lovelock's new vernacular Global heating