The School of Athens

The School of Athens
The School of Athens by Raphael (click on picture to view short documentary from Columbia University)

Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Climate change: The fault, Dear Brutus...

Fellow citizens,

Let me state quite clearly: There will be no meaningful action undertaken in Australia on climate change, not now, not ever.



Why?

Because the Australian public does not want to see any.

This was obvious following the first Newspoll in January 2020 which showed that the public had not politically 'punished' the Morrison Government for its lack of action on climate change.

Despite much of the east coast of Australia from Queensland to Victoria having been incinerated and the resultant smoke nearly asphyxiating the populations of our largest cities for days and weeks, the public refused to draw the link between that catastrophe and climate change - and by extension, the Morrison Government, which is the greatest impediment to taking meaningful action.




I would have written this piece six weeks ago when that first Newspoll was released, however, I was pre-occupied, as our home was under threat from the fires.

On three separate occasions, over several weeks, our home was threatened; with the fires on one occasion coming to within 200 metres of our property and forcing us to evacuate to escape the inferno.

Thankfully, we were spared the worst of the flames and while much of the surrounding bushland was blackened and destroyed, our home remained intact. Many of our neighbours were not so lucky.

I had thought, quite incorrectly, that if such a dramatic event were to have occurred, that the Australian public would have had a conversion on the Road to Damascus and been jolted out of its collective torpor to actually demand action on climate change.

But what have they done? Nothing. Diddly squat. Bugger all.

The easiest way to place pressure on politicians is to cane them in the opinion polls. There's no 'risk' of a change of government, it's just a clear and unequivocal message that the public is unhappy and wants action.

But they couldn't even be bothered to do that.

A limp 51/49 two party preferred lead to the ALP and a mild drop in Scott Morrison's approval ratings was the extent of it.

Morrison could see this, Anthony Albanese could see this, and both their subsequent behaviours illustrated this understanding.

Morrison knew he had to do Sweet Fanny Adams and Albanese wasn't going to go out on a limb.



These polling results of a few weeks back were the portent for the Newspoll this week which showed that 56% of Australians blamed a lack of hazard reduction burns for the severity of the fires and only 35% believed it to be the result of climate change.

The delusion is complete.


So, why is it so?

Quite simple. It's mass denial.

It's far too confronting for the adults of Australia to accept that it is their apathy, complacency, ignorance and negligence that is directly causing their children and grandchildren to have a bleak future - if one at all - and so the easiest thing to do is to blame someone else.

It must be someone else, something else, anything else, except us. Not us. No way.

It's the same phenomenon that German people displayed in the 1930s when they saw Nazi thugs beating up Jews in the streets and saying, "If only the Fuhrer knew."

Or in Soviet Russia at around the same time, when people saw citizens dragged off to gulags saying, "Stalin must be told of this."

In both cases refusing to accept that it was their respective beloved leaders, in whom they were totally enamoured, who were issuing these orders...but that was too confronting, so there must be some other explanation, any other explanation. 





And so the delusion, which was there before this summer, becomes entrenched.

The Morrison Government and its enablers in the Murdoch Press are a disgrace on this issue, that is true.

However, in the end, at some point, the adults of Australia have to take responsibility for their
own negligence.

It is no accident that it is the children, seeing the intransigence of their parents, who are taking to the streets and demanding action.




To them, sadly, I can offer little hope, as I witness the same old, same old, denial behaviour in the adults.

The best I can do is to quote for them from Terence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea: "To live without hope can mean to live without despair."

Small comfort, I know.

And for their parents and grandparents? From some other slightly better known playwright:


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