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Only the dumb get dumber

In June of 2007 at the height of one of the Victoria’s most crippling droughts, when Melbourne’s water storage levels had dropped to 28.4% – a drop of 20% on the previous year – the Bracks Government, amidst great controversy, decided to build a desalination plant.

According to Wikipedia the plant was completed in December 2012, and was the largest addition to Melbourne’s water system since the Thomson River Dam was completed in 1983.

However, at the time, Melbourne’s reservoirs were at 81% capacity, and the plant was immediately put into standby mode.

The conservative opposition of the time was at its critical best portraying the government as reckless and lacking in judgement.

Using a little bit of sagacity I recall saying at the time that there would come a time when the good folk of Victoria would be thankful for the farsightedness of Steve Bracks.

The plant was completed in December 2012, and was the largest addition to Melbourne’s water system since. The Thomson River Dam was completed in 1983.

At the time of its completion Victoria had weathered the drought and dams were still at 81% capacity, and Victoria copped a thrashing from those who haunt the dark alleys of backward thinking.

But only now is the former Victorian Premier being recognised for his forward thinking.

Ostensibly, the point I am trying to make here is that if we are to overcome our water problems of the present and the future we are going to, in the face of a rapidly changing climate, need men and women of the ilk of those who overcame the engineering problems great of the great constructions of the past.

The Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and the Snowy Mountains Scheme immediately come to mind.

“We have always had droughts. They come and go,” was the catch cry of the day. “She’ll be right, mate.”

Our current Prime Minister, Scott Morrison when wearing his Christian coat of many colours offers a different alternative to tackling drought. He invites us to pray:

“I pray for that rain everywhere else around the country,” the prime minister said soon after he took office. “And I do pray for that rain. And I’d encourage others who believe in the power of prayer to pray for that rain and to pray for our farmers. Please do that.”

With natural disasters like we have been experiencing; cyclones, floods and fires we have been effective in our reaction but we have never been proactive.

With the advent of more frequent events and because we are encroaching beyond our city boundaries we are going to have to develop better preventative skills and even faster reaction times.

It is vital that we become effective before disaster hits.

Now you might be asking what the writer knows about all this climate stuff. Well, the answer is very little, actually. I just happen to believe in the science. You see, science has made – in my lifetime – the most staggering achievements and they are embraced, recognised and enjoyed by all sections of society.

The only areas that I can think of where science is questioned are in the religious fever of climate change doubters, conservative politics and unconventional religious belief.

I have experienced bushfires and their capacity to frighten the shit out of one’s emotive thoughts, and the dryness of a drought-ridden tap, but that is all.

To place one’s own uneducated voice above that of scientific observation is just plain dumb. Question it by all means, but do so within the context of your own knowledge.

What the average Australian lay-person, whether they live in the bush, as I do, or the person who lives in the city, as I once did, is to change the way we think about catastrophic events.

In my view the first thing to do is not to listen to the dumber than dumb politician or journalist whose first reaction is always the old; “well droughts have always been with us” or “a once in a lifetime event.”

When I listen to those who know about these things I always refer to the increase in the frequency of the events-the changing weather patterns across the nation.

They are the sorts of things we should give thought to.

When talking about climate change don’t think you have to win the debate. All I do is acknowledge that it is indeed a very emotive and complex argument, and then say that’s why I support the science. If you think you know better than 98% of the worlds scientists then that’s up to you.

But can you give me a good reason as to why I should I believe you before 97% of the worlds climate scientists who specialise in the area?

After all, we don’t now ask for the evidence between cigarette smoking and cancer or the suntan and skin cancer, so why do folk want specifics when we talk about climate change.

It’s fair to say that last weeks fires up north were caused by vandal hastened intent but they thrived in conditions bought about by climate change. And of course we cannot say that this is definitively do. But the modern farmer knows about his land.

A Facebook friend by the name of Rod Judd recently wrote that:

“Living in rural NSW, Northern Rivers, where politics is substantive only as action – we rarely take notice of Canberra and Sydney wafflers, who do little to nothing for us, and what little they do is often destructive.

Our northern rivers are nearly dry and the air is heavy with a deep haze of smoke.

The crisis we face is far reaching. There are mass fish kills along the Darling River, Dubbo, is running out of water, inflows into the Macquarie River are at an historic low, the huge Burrendong dam on the Macquarie is nearly empty.

Nyngan is rich red soil country has had no rain since 2016, the country on the way to Bourke is turning into desert, Girilambone is dying, Warwick and Stanthorpe in Queensland have had no rain for month upon month and might run out of water completely.

Stanthorpe deep in drought will need to truck in drinking water, towns in Queensland’s Southern Downs and Granite Belt are deep in drought; city dwellers have no idea how devastating climate change is to our fragile country and to the people who struggle to live thereon.

While outback fire fighters are fighting to contain 70 or more fires our politicians are squabbling and the media is gossiping – I wonder how they would react if the water out of their tap were mud brown and stank of things rotting.

How would city folk enjoy living in country ruined by cotton, farming, coal seam gas and mining?

Politics is substantive as an action that is helping kill Australia. Not only is Australia suffering its worst drought ever, there is the additional fact that Australians are systematically trashing what remains of the fragile natural environment.

Heavy clouds of smoke that I see from my study window are testament to that.”

The concern is that people, mainly in our cities, don’t see don’t even think about the problems Rod wrote about.

In many instances we are an; “out of sight, out of mind society” that believes there is nothing we can do. We could have voted this hopeless bunch of climate deniers out of office a short time ago but we let the chance go through to the keeper.

We have to put the logic of our argument to our partners of our journey into the future. And there is no need to leave out the emotional aspect.

Above all, we cannot allow our children in their protests to say that their seniors were dumber than dumb.

My thought for the day

The Deputy Prime Minister (I can never remember his name) suggests that we ‘get serious’ about water security. I will leave you to ponder that.


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  1. New England Cocky

    @Rod Judd: We have the same disinterested self-serving representatives of the National$ in Northern Tablelands and New England. I am advised of the latest proposal for economic development after ripping up the Great Northern Railway to build a bicycling fail rail trail for the Guyra Geriatric Grandmothers Group of early morning cyclists (less than 10 regulars) who are unwilling to ride on the rarely trafficked sealed railway access road adjacent to the GNR.

    The latest genius idea is to maintain New England as a pristine original authentic19th century theme park complete with a Bunyip Aristocracy given the title “Honourable” and compensated with freedom from unconstitutional local government rates and a guaranteed forgiveness of traffic offences and fines, to eligible real property holders having at least 1,000 hectares east of the Newell Highway and 10,000 hectares west of the Newell.

    Perhaps it is time for us to consider forming the Seventh State between the Hunter and the Queensland border and west to South Australia so that we may take charge of our own, now diminished by neglect, public infrastructure to create local jobs so that our kids can live locally rather than in metropolitan concentration camps where the air is poisonous, the traffic congestion in horrendous and open park space is coveted by real estate developers wanting to build stacks of match-box housing on totally inadequate road infrastructure.

  2. Peter F

    March on Friday: I will, in Dubbo.

  3. Ken

    The Labor desalination plant in Victoria was a great idea and this should be acknowledged.

  4. johno

    City dwellers have no idea how devastating climate change is to our fragile country and to the people who struggle to live thereon.

    This statement annoys me and is full of flaws. Just because someone lives in the city doesn’t mean they don’t know what’s going on.

  5. Jack Cade

    ‘Only the dumb get dumber’.
    As an American standup comedian said in a different context – cosmetic surgery – ‘Surgeons can change every aspect of your appearance, but they can’t fix ‘stupid’. ‘

  6. johno

    Does having desal mean we can keep living beyond our means ie a lifestyle that uses a shitload of water ??

  7. Terence Mills

    Last night on Sky-after-Dark, Newscorp lackey, Chris Kenny spent an inordinate amount of time presenting hastily researched, dodgy evidence to prove that drought is entirely normal in this wide brown land and that bush-fires are caused by delinquent teenagers and lazy backpackers and that all this talk of climate change is a conspiracy promoted by the Labor and the Greens to scare the community into submission.

    Why do they go to those lengths to try and refute something that our scientists have been telling us for years : the planet is hurting and the sooner we come to its aid the better for our future generations.

    The one good thing that could come from the Saudi refinery drone bombing is that it will demonstrate to the world that we are all far too dependent on diminishing reserves of fossil fuels and, as the prices go up at the pump and as electricity prices surge, we will as a matter of necessity intensify our development of Electric Vehicles and alternative energy sources.

    But why does this have to be a Left/Right issue : whatever happened to the precautionary principle ?

    The desalination plant is a perfect analogy of this principle.

  8. johno

    Frugality could be a silver bullet, not expensive, high energy desal.

  9. wam

    Doesn’t saturday come round so fast to us old pension bludgers? But what a beaut serve today, lord?
    Remember this from a few years ago?
    ‘…what the term “come to Jesus” means in the context of politics. It is an American Tea Party expression to describe the instant at which team members recommit to working in unison or pursue their own interests. You’re either on the team or you aren’t.”
    How did this religious nut job ever become Prime Minister?
    It still sounds spot on. We can thank, senile bob for both.
    A pair of assessment fro, google shows the difference between the uses of ‘drought’:
    The drought in 1982–83 is regarded as the worst of the twentieth century for short-term rainfall deficiencies of up to one year and their over-all impact. There were severe dust storms in north-western Victoria and severe bushfires in south-east Australia in February 1983 with 75 people killed.”
    “Australia’s most severe drought periods since the beginning of European settlement appear to have been those of 1895-1903 and 1958-68. The 1982-83 drought was possibly the most intense with respect to the area affected by severe rainfall deficiencies.
    The 1958-68 drought period is described in the article contained in the 1968 Year Book No. 54. That drought period was widespread and probably second only to the 1895-1903 drought period in severity. The areas affected and their duration’s of drought were variable and overlapping. bureau of stats

    I love the I believe in the science one minute and then someone got to him and he recanted on tlob and atep waiting for the hemlock???

    Still ask a christian what god has in store for his creation man and why climate is always changing?????

    ps waltz of the cuckoo wonder if money is the reason for no interest in precautionary principle or any &%#@ principle

  10. Henry Rodrigues

    And still not a peep out of the the MSM about the disaster the awaits us if we ignore the scientists’ warnings about climate change.
    I know readers and commentators here will lament the fact that I bang on about the criminal behaviour of the media who will not take to task this hypocritical PM and his bunch of climate deniers, but there is no way that the general public will even begin to acknowledge and think out the seriousness of our situation until they are literally whacked across the head to wake up and take stock. The filthy lowlife media is busy singing the praises and covering up the mistakes of the government, and flogging Labor and the opposition for any constructive idea they come up with. Murdoch and his minions and the rest of the craven media, are the real culprits.

  11. whatever

    Nobody here seems to be aware of the TalkBack/Tabloid campaign calling for Federally funded Dam building all over the place.
    This is supposed to mitigate the effects of the “Drought”, which is entirely mythical yet the only aspect of Atmospheric Sciences which RWNJ’s will discuss.
    Recent panic about country towns running out of water is part of the hysteria.

  12. Keitha Granville

    As the PM professes to believe and follow all ij the bible, he should heed Noah’s actions. In the face of the best scientific knowledge for him, ie God ; he built an ark and saved his family and as many animals as possible.

    Well then Scummo, your chance is here to build ‘ an ark ‘, ie start by trying to save our country, save water, conserve the land, cut carbon emissions. That would be the right thing to do.

  13. andy56

    Johno, i disagree. We dont need to be frugal with desal water, lol. There is a finite amount of water on the planet, but it isnt going to disappear if we desal. It can be infinitely recycled, as does nature. Using solar energy to desal can be an inexpensive proposition if its seen as an essential, not as a liability. Thats the problem with a lot of neocon economic thinking, everything has a cost instead of everything has a benefit.
    The murray darling could have been enshrined as a food bowl if a desal system was built to supply it with water, and we would have had change from $14b. Instead we have non farming corps. buying up water rights. You couldnt design a more cynical anti farmer market if you tried.
    Dams is so 18th century. We cant even fill what we have, a few more empty ones wont help anyone.

  14. andy56

    i have been pondering the rise of the anti climate warrior. Its based on some rather dubious logic and a rather small mind set
    1/ Science has been wrong in certain instances, therefore we dont trust any science.
    2/ The amount of fake facts which are selectively put forward. A litany of lies by omission.
    3/ The zealotry with which they scour the internet looking for the eureka facts.
    4/ The willingness to believe anything that goes against the grain
    5/ The conspiracy theorists. Scientists are working in cahoots and are greedy money grabbing exploiters. Phoney science.

    What they haven’t done and cant do is come up with a theory that fits the facts. “The everything is normal” theory doesn’t fit the facts. But hey, that is an inconvenient fact.
    Cant be more damning than that.

  15. New England Cocky

    There is currently a push by some NSW National$ Party politicians to increase the number of town water supply dams on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, allegedly to overcome the decades of neglect by successive Macquarie Street Sydney based NSW governments.

    But is this the true reason for this sudden interest in regional communities? I think NOT!!

    Rather, the reason is the huge demand for water that will be required to develop the CSG deposits in the NW Slopes, starting with the 700 wells sought by Santos in Narrabri where the purity of water in the Great Artesian Basin is being jeopardised by this unwanted development.

    But this Santos CSG project is only the beginning of a proposal for 4,000 CSG wells across the NW Slopes, ultimately providing freight for the Northern Inland Railway to transport CSG for export from Queensland at Abbots Point.

    Each well requires hundreds of thousands of litres of water to extract the CSG, so there is unlikely to be any water available for agricultural activity, or no water suitable for agriculture due to CSG pollution.

    A similar loss of town water is occurring at Armidale NSW where the National$ controlled Armidale Regional Council is supplying about 240,000 LITRES PER DAY to the Guyra Tomato Farm to produce export tomatoes for a Canadian investment corporation … during the worst drought in over a century!!!

    The Morriscum Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment …producing the worst third wold economy in the OECD.

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