Lost Country: Aboriginal Flags Have Begun Flying At Half Mast Around Australia

(IMAGE: Chris Graham, New Matilda)

“Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians all understand that by lowering a flag we acknowledge that something has died or that something is dying. It is a symbol of mourning. There are so many people who are feeling anguish.”

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Lost Country: Aboriginal Flags Have Begun Flying At Half Mast Around Australia

By Chris Graham on January 17, 2020 Aboriginal Affairs

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An Aboriginal woman from Victoria is hoping that First Nations people and organisations around the nation will join her university in flying Indigenous flags at half mast, to acknowledge the grief Aboriginal people are feeling at the destruction of Country from Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher is a Gundungurra woman from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. She’s also a Professor in Indigenous Studies and the Director of the Institute for Koorie Education at Deakin University in Melbourne.

“To lose Country, in this way, is a particular grief for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It’s a messy grief,” Associate Professor Fletcher told New Matilda.

“It’s more in sorrow than anger, it’s mourning. You could say it’s ‘Sorry business’ in a way.

Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher.

“As a collective, this symbolic gesture may provide somewhere for all Australians to leave parts of this despair.

“It’s also a reflection of the immense grief of guilt where we feel a kind of irresponsible helplessness – our sense of the abandonment of our cultural obligations to Care for Country.”

Deakin University is already flying the Aboriginal flag at half mast today, after a request from Associate Professor Fletcher this week to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, with the gesture receiving “overwhelming” support from Deakin faculty and students.

Professor Fletcher is hoping it might spread across the nation, and that “these lowered symbolic fabrics become the message sticks for urgent change”.

Aboriginal flags at Deakin University in Victoria are flying at half mast, to acknowledge the grief Aboriginal people are feeling at the loss of country in the ongoing Australian bushfire crisis.

“Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians all understand that by lowering a flag we acknowledge that something has died or that something is dying. It is a symbol of mourning. There are so many people who are feeling anguish.”

Assoc Prof Fletcher said the scale of the loss felt by First Nations people was enormous, and it wasn’t just restricted to the land and its animals.

“Country moves beyond landscape, allotment, vista or wildlife as stand-alone components. It is also place, Ancestors, shadows, mist, warble, maps and vapour,” she said.

The aftermath of the fires on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, in January 2020. (IMAGE: Chris Graham, New Matilda)

“When Aboriginal People lose Country to this scale we lose Knowledge, Ways, Forms, Spirit and Healing – these are a complex interconnection, where everything has its place to teach, feel, show and speak.

“With each loss we slip further away from understanding who we are, and how we fit – this is the ultimate death in many respects.”

Assoc Prof Fletcher acknowledged there were some positives to come out of the fire crisis, beyond waking people up to the realities our nation faces.

“People are starting to recognise and acknowledge the validity and value of Indigenous Knowledges, and ways of knowing, being and doing. It’s been an uncomfortable discovery for some.”

The fires on Kangaroo Island, South Australia in January 2020. (IMAGE: Chris Graham, New Matilda)

Assoc Prof Fletcher hopes that other organisations follow suit and lower their Aboriginal flags in the aftermath of the bushfire emergency.

“I think this action symbolically describes the collective realisation that we’ve lost so much more than what can be seen and is a true wake-up call.” Professor Fletcher said.

“On behalf of the Institute of Koorie Education, I thank Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin for his support in this unprecedented gesture.”

If you’re supporting this story on social media, please use the hashtag: #HalfMastForMyCountry

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Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. Chris has won a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards for his reporting. He lives in Brisbane and splits his time between Stradbroke Island, where New Matilda is based, and the mainland.

SOURCE: https://newmatilda.com/2020/01/17/for-country-lost-aboriginal-flags-have-begun-flying-at-half-mast-around-australia/

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80% of BLUE MOUNTAINS and 50% of GONDWANA Rainforests burn in Bushfires!

IT would appear government focus has been in all the wrong places … of GROWTH … and ever more ECONOMIC GROWTH …

‘It’s heart-wrenching’: 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of Gondwana rainforests burn in bushfires

Guardian Australia analysis reveals the frightening amount of world heritage area burned in Australia’s ongoing fire crisis

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The Grose Valley fire in the Blue Mountains area of Lithgow and Blackheath, New South Wales
 The unprecedented bushfires could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains is recognised. Photograph: CPOA Brett Kennedy/Commonwealth of Australia/PA

At least 80% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area and more than 50% of the Gondwana world heritage rainforests have burned in Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

The scale of the disaster is such that it could affect the diversity of eucalypts for which the Blue Mountains world heritage area is recognised, said John Merson, the executive director of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute.

The data is based on a Guardian Australia analysis of areas burned in New South Wales and Queensland and was confirmed by the NSW government.

Guardian Australia reported in December that 20% of the Blue Mountains world heritage area had been affected by fire in the early months of the crisis.

Four times that amount has now burned in what Merson said were fires of a scale that “has never happened before”.

“This is totally, totally unique. As everybody keeps saying, it’s unprecedented,” he said.

How big are the fires burning in Australia? Interactive map

 Read more

The Blue Mountains world heritage area covers one million hectares of national park and bushland and is dominated by temperate eucalypt forest.

The area is renowned for the diversity of its vegetation and is home to about a third of the world’s eucalypt species.

While most are fire-adapted and can regenerate, many of the species depend on long intervals between fires, Merson said.

“We had a very large fire in 2013. It’s only six years after that,” he said.

“The eucalypts can be very badly reduced in diversity if fires come through in too short and intense intervals. Their numbers will virtually collapse.”

He said the full impact on tree species and wildlife would not be known until more assessments were done as fire grounds became accessible.

But there are concerns about the effect on breeding and feeding habitats for species including the spotted-tail quoll and the brush-tailed rock-wallaby.

The fires have also burnt swamp communities that release water slowly and are important water resources. They flow into streams that feed into Sydney’s water supply and provide water for wildlife.

It was revealed this week that a rescue mission by NSW fire crews was able to save the only known natural grove of Wollemi pines, so-called “dinosaur trees” that fossil records show existed up to 200m years ago.

Merson said the fires had entered areas that had not burnt previously and the need for the rescue mission was indicative of the intensity of the fires in the region.

Play Video0:55 Prehistoric Wollemi pines saved by firefighters from Australia’s bushfires – video

“This is climate change in its most fundamental form,” he said.

“This is right in our face. We’re living it.”

Further north, the fires have devastated parts of the Gondwana rainforest world heritage area, a collection of reserves of subtropical rainforest that span 366,500 hectares across NSW and Queensland.

Guardian Australia used newly released data which combines all burned areas in NSW and Queensland since 1 July 2019, and calculated the area of overlap with world heritage areas.

This analysis shows 53% of the Gondwana rainforest area has burned.

Guardian Australia spoke to Mark Graham, an ecologist with the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, in December.

Graham is based in the Bellinger Valley near some of these fires.

He said since December there had been “significant, additional fire in areas that hadn’t burned” in Barrington Tops.

“The Tweed Valley is the only significant area of Gondwana that hasn’t experienced any fire,” Graham said.

“Everywhere else has. It’s taken a massive hit.

“It’s heart-wrenching. It’s disturbing. It’s frightening.”

Graham said his area had experienced some rain in recent weeks but there were now concerns that sediment washed into the Bellinger River has affected the food sources for the critically endangered Bellinger River snapping turtle.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said understanding the impact of the fires on both world heritage areas was a priority.

Record-breaking 4.9m hectares of land burned in NSW this bushfire season

 Read more

“Analysis will improve as the forests becomes safe to enter and the smoke clears, enabling accurate satellite and aerial imagery to help guide our assessment and on work on ground,” he said.

He said both regions contained a mixture of forest types, some of which was adapted for fire, but others that were more sensitive to fire, such as dense rainforest.

Jess Abrahams, the nature campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, said climate change was hitting Australia’s world heritage areas “very hard”.

“We have witnessed consecutive years of devastating coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef, while global heating has been described as a catastrophic risk to the Wet Tropics and Shark Bay world heritage areas,” he said.

“It’s really upsetting to see how much of the Blue Mountains world heritage area has been burnt.

“This is a place many Australians know and love. It has significant Indigenous cultural values and is home to a number of rare and threatened species.

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A firefighter is lowered from a helicopter hovering above the Wollemi stand.

PHOTO: SMH: A firefighter is lowered from a helicopter hovering above the Wollemi stand.

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JAMES MURDOCH Attacks NEWS CORPs Climate Change Coverage

In Australia, News Corp has been criticised by some politicians, scientists and members of the public in recent years for airing the views of commentators who deny that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet.

The World Today

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James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn arrive for a wedding reception.

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James Murdoch attacks News Corp’s climate change coverage

By David Sparkes on The World Today

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They are the most powerful media dynasty in the world and now a very public division is opening up in the Murdoch family over how their companies cover climate change.

In Australia, News Corp has been criticised by some politicians, scientists and members of the public in recent years for airing the views of commentators who deny that humans are contributing to the warming of the planet.

And this morning, Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, has attacked the company’s reporting on the issue in light of Australia’s bushfire crisis.

Duration: 4min 22secBroadcast: Wed 15 Jan 2020, 12:22pm

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SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/worldtoday/james-murdoch-attacks-news-corps-climate-change-coverage/11869854

James Murdoch slams News Corp for denying climate facts

‘ … The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point.’ Comment from an Executive …

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James Murdoch slams News Corp for denying climate facts

James Murdoch and his climate activist wife Kathryn slammed News Corp for perpetuating climate myths. Photo: Getty/ TND

As his country of origin burns, Rupert Murdoch is being slammed for how his businesses promote coverage and commentary that ignores – or totally contradicts – facts about man-made climate change’s role in the bushfire catastrophe.

Now, in what is perhaps a sign the smoky winds of change are blowing within the powerful media empire, Murdoch’s youngest son has broken ranks to call out the untruths.

James Murdoch, 47, joined his climate activist wife Kathryn in publicly shaming media giants News Corp and Fox News for their coverage on Australia’s bushfire crisis.

James and Kathryn Murdoch at Rupert Murdoch’s 2016 marriage to Jerry Hall. Photo: Getty

In a rare public statement, the couple expressed their deep disappointment with the Murdoch media empire.

“Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” a spokesperson told The Daily Beast.

“They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”

There has been a growing chorus of voices calling out Murdoch-owned mastheads for reporting and commentary that downplays manmade climate change’s role in the ferocious fires burning across Australia’s eastern seaboard.

Commentary in Murdoch-owned mastheads – The Australian, the Herald Sun, and The Daily Telegraph – as well as Sky News, has repeatedly included references to climate concerns being “alarmist”.

The Australian has repeatedly argued that this year’s fires are no worse than those of the past – a claim which scientists have slammed as untrue.

Rupert Murdoch said at last year’s annual general meeting there were no climate change deniers in the News Corp ranks. But the words of high-profile commentators printed in the pages of the Murdoch mastheads and spouting denialist views oSky tell a different story.

And Australians, and audiences overseas, are increasingly connecting dots between the rhetoric and misinformation in the Murdoch press and the federal government’s response to the bushfires.

Not everyone on the News Corp payroll is denying climate change, of course. Just the loudest voices, the well paid who are put up in lights.

Staff have told The New Daily about a deep discomfort with the way bushfire stories are being covered.

Just last week, News Corp finance manager Emily Townsend hit out at News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller after he sent a company-wide email spruiking how much the company had been helping bushfire-affected communities.

So far the bushfires have claimed 28 lives, destroyed more than 2000 homes and burnt through more than ten million hectares of land. (12 million Hectares: search for report.)

Ms Townsend had been so “severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires” that she found it “unconscionable to continue working for this company”, she wrote.

Rupert Murdoch with his sons James (right) and Lachlan (left) at a wedding in 2016. Photo: Getty

While the public statement was a rare move by James Murdoch, he has previously distanced himself from the views presented on Fox News.

“There are views I really disagree with on Fox (News),” he told the New Yorker in September last year.

Daily Beast claimed the $9 million in donations by Lachlan Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch and News Corp to Australian bushfire relief efforts were only made after the news site contacted them for a response to James’ statement.

An unnamed News Corp executive was quoted as saying the couple was deliberately out to attack the Murdoch family, especially considering James’ older brother, Lachlan, is currently in charge of overseeing the Fox News Channel.

“They are pissing inside the tent and that’s unusual. It’s evidence of how high tensions are within the family over climate change. The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point,” the executive said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/15/james-murdoch-wife-kathryn-climate-change/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20News%20-%2020200115

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HEATWAVES … add Thermal Mass from Overdevelopment … Heat Island Effect and Mortality … e.g. Penrith …

Photo: Penrith farmlands in December 2009: From Farmlands to Suburbia in 10 Years

TEMPERATURES rise dramatically in urban environments during heat waves from the west.

Compounded by thermal mass and poor city design.

PENRITH has become hotter because of the thermal mass from overdevelopment … the “heat island effect”.

Collecting not only pollution but all the heat from the entire city of Sydney in a basin bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean and to the south, west and north by elevated terrain.

AND … it is evident that Penrith is becoming a thermal mass wasteland due to the higher density rezoning, motorways, airport construction along with the removal of trees (less than 6% of the Cumberland Plain Woodland remains!), and loss of farmlands …. vegetation!

SUSTAINABILITY would be about adapting … following this disaster of overdevelopment … some might go as far to say that Sydney needs to be bulldozed … redesigned once the awfulizers, the mafia of developers are done with Sydney and run off with Billions in their pockets.

The image from April 2018 shows the completed construction with rows of identical homes. Photo: Nearmap.com.au

BUSHFIRE and NATURAL HAZARDS CRC

Heatwaves are dangerous and have killed more people in Australia than all other climate related disasters combined.

Urban environments are considered especially vulnerable to heatwaves due to the Urban Heat Island effect. Increasing death rates from heatwaves are predicted to become one of Australia’s most detrimental impacts of climate change (IPPC 2014) with major implications for emergency services and public policy development.

The catastrophic dimensions of heatwave mortality are not spread evenly across society but are concentrated among specific population groups. Older people, especially women, are overrepresented in heatwave related excess mortality statistics internationally.

Using a critical perspective, this paper aims to present a literature review exploring current research on social vulnerability of older women during urban heatwaves. It will illustrate how heatwave vulnerability is largely socially constructed through the intersection of deeply entrenched gender inequality with systemic socio-economic disadvantage.

The review will highlight the need for heatwave intervention to be guided by a social justice perspective, to avoid older, poorer women becoming the shock absorbers of the climate crisis.

This paper is part of my PhD research project at Monash University:

‘Denaturalising heatwaves: gendered social vulnerabilities in urban heatwaves and the use of public cool spaces as a primary heat health measure’. The research has ethics approval.”

VIEW:

Denaturalising heatwaves: gendered social vulnerability in urban heatwaves, a review

https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-6408?fbclid=IwAR2xzGN9vpMBFaLKjYRgXpkdwFqb0_jDe3p1fgStKSyg9XKelDi0aM6yjzM

CAAN: AN AERIAL VIEW OF THE DEVELOPER MAFIA DRIVEN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT

Photo: From Farmland to Suburbia: Penrith 2018: A recent shot shows the suburb completely transformed into new homes

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In the face of a bushfire catastrophe, our national conversation is still run by politics

A firefighter walks along a road with flames in front of him. Smoke is everywhere.

PHOTO: The Eyre Highway reopened on Friday after being closed for 12 days because of bushfires. (DFES: Evan Collis)

It is apparently OK to canvas the misleading idea that the fires have been primarily caused by arson, or deliberately insufficient hazard reductionwhich experts including NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons have rejected. *

But it apparently isn’t OK to simply say that clearly the climate has changed (even to say that without saying because it’s due to, you know, CLIMATE CHANGE)

ANALYSIS

In the face of a bushfire catastrophe, our national conversation is still run by politics

7.30 By Laura Tingle

Updated Sat

11 JANUARY 2020

RELATED STORY: Bushfires could kickstart a new crisis for Australia’s rivers

RELATED STORY: ‘The world is utterly perplexed’: As Australia burns, is our reputation at risk?

RELATED STORY: Can Morrison live down his George W Bush moment?RELATED STORY: This has not been Morrison’s finest moment, to put it mildly

The Eyre Highway reopened on Friday after being closed for 12 days because of bushfires.

You might not have driven on the Eyre Highway. But unless you want to take the long route north via Kununurra, it is the only sealed highway linking eastern Australia with Western Australia.

The Kings Highway is expected to be closed for most of January. That’s the highway that links Canberra with the south coast.

Parts of that road are said to have just melted down the steep sides of Clyde Mountain in fires that have burnt virtually all of the bush from Braidwood to Batemans Bay.

Many communities across the country have been told to boil their drinking water because of contamination linked to bushfires — either by ash, such as in Tenterfield, or by the mixing of water supplies during firefighting, as has happened on the NSW south coast.

Dirty water runoff after bushfires in Tenterfield.

PHOTO: Bushfire ash contaminated the runoff after much-needed rain in Tenterfield. (Image supplied; Julie King)

And that’s the case for the communities that have not simply just run out of water.

There are concerns that Sydney’s water supply could be severely affected in months to come if the ash from huge areas of burnt out bush around Warragamba Dam, which provides 80 per cent of Sydney’s water, runs into the dam after heavy rainfall.

The bizarre state of our national conversation

It’s hard to take pictures of closed highways, or compromised water supplies.

But these examples give just some idea of the knock-on effects of fires like those we have seen this catastrophic summer.Can Morrison live down his George W Bush moment?
Scott Morrison has had some perplexing failures of political and policy judgement in recent weeks, writes Laura Tingle.

We are leaving aside, for a moment, the human trauma and loss in fire grounds, and the latest estimate from Australian Academy of Science Fellow, Professor Chris Dickman, that 1 billion animals have now been killed in the bushfires — a figure that includes mammals, birds and reptiles, but not bats, frogs, insects or other invertebrates.

Our political leaders are, so often, so much more comfortable framing crises in economic or national security terms, particularly when traumatised people don’t want to shake their hands.

If it was sabotage that had closed our major arterial highways — like the Eyre or even the Princes Highway down the east coast (as it was in multiple locations for many days) — you can imagine the sort of political rhetoric and hysteria that would have been going on at the moment.

But instead, we continue to have this bizarre situation continuing where a few belligerent types in politics — and very noisy ones in the mediaseem to set the limits of our conversation.

*It is apparently OK to canvas the misleading idea that the fires have been primarily caused by arson, or deliberately insufficient hazard reductionwhich experts including NSW Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons have rejected. *

But it apparently isn’t OK to simply say that clearly the climate has changed (even to say that without saying because it’s due to, you know, climate change).

A single joey lost in burnt bushland

PHOTO: There are estimates that one billion animals have now been killed in the bushfires. (Supplied: Ryan Pollock)

When an issue is not an issue

Climate change as a possible linkage with the fires is sometimes referred to as “issues”, or even “issues contributing to the event”.

Sometimes the bushfires are boldly linked to the drought (which of course, may just also be linked to “issues”).

10 years of climate policy inertia
Ten years ago one man’s plan blew apart Australia’s two great parties irrevocably just as they teetered toward consensus on climate change, the most divisive issue of the Australian political century.

The Prime Minister hit the airwaves on Thursday night and Friday morning, talking about the various measures the Government has put in place in the last week or so, including calling out Defence Force reservists and $2 billion of funding (various) for bushfire relief.

It’s hard not to listen to these interviews though, and get the sense that he is rattling off an alibi; that he remains on the defensive.

On Melbourne radio on Friday, for example, he was asked whether this might be the new normal — very long fire seasons, affecting many different parts of the country — which might require a new permanent mechanism to deal with it

These were obviously issues to be considered, Scott Morrison said.

“I mean, we stood this [the ADF reservists] up last Saturday,” he responded.

VIDEO: Scott Morrison defends the Government’s response to the bushfires (7.30)

“We had it moving several days before. We’d actually run a trial process for the call out back in November to ensure that we were in a position to be able to roll that out should that become necessary. And it did become necessary.

“I mean, the scale of these fires going across two very large jurisdictions reached an unprecedented level and that required an unprecedented response at that time and one was delivered and delivered very quickly.”

Shockwaves keep going wider

The economic impact of these fires has not been limited this time around to people who have lost homes or businesses, or even small communities.

Vast swathes of coastal NSW and Victoria have lost their most lucrative trading seasons. They have often also been cut for days, by road, telecommunications and power.

Morrison’s fires response has put his political judgement in question
Within the Government, there is widespread acknowledgement that Scott Morrison’s Midas touch has gone missing, writes David Speers.

Businesses in towns like Braidwood and Bungendore, which have long prospered on the holiday traffic from Canberra to the coast, say their streets are like ghost towns.

The newly appointed recovery coordinator for southern NSW, retired deputy police commissioner Dick Adams, told a local paper this week: “Eden has lost their mill, Mt Selwyn has lost their whole resort, softwood plantations in Tumut, dairy in Bega, apple orchards in Batlow…

“What we’ve found, is when bushfire is impacting these areas and people are evacuated out, some may not return. We need to work to get people back.”

There is some emergency financial assistance from the Federal Government for people who have lost everything, and grants to local governments who have to repair roads. And state governments provide some low interest loans for small businesses in trouble.

But the shockwaves keep going wider.

Even in Canberra, where luckily fires haven’t yet hit, hotels are reporting that around 15 per cent of bookings for January have been cut because the national capital has become infamous for literally having the worst air quality in the world thanks to bushfire smoke.

Chairlift destroyed by fire

PHOTO: Mt Selwyn’s slopes were barely recognisable after being gutted by fire. (Facebook: Andrew Newton)

A royal commission is pretty convenient

The point here is to simply document how these fires are affecting all sorts of aspects of our lives way beyond the terror they represent up close.

And that means they are also changing our political conversation, on everything from the environment to the role of government.

How climate change has impacted the world since your childhood
Global warming is already changing the world before our eyes — let’s see what has happened in your lifetime, and what’s in store for your future.

The Prime Minister has suggested there might be royal commission into all we can learn from these fires, including their causes, though of course he has not actually locked into calling one.

Excuse the cynicism, but doesn’t a possible royal commission — whatever its ultimate virtues — provide the perfect response in the short term for any question you don’t want to answer?

SmoCo sneaks home amid the ashes of his government

Photo: Macro Business

For example, “well that will be a matter for the royal commission to determine”.

A Government that has held on, at great cost to rational policy making, to a budget surplus now stuck together with sticky tape, will at least have an honourable reason to not meet its surplus target if it does actually start spending money because of our burning summer.

But the sort of ripple effects we are talking about here on the economy suggest very tough times ahead for the country as a whole — with the only really obvious positive a fire-led building boom.

The economy and national security are supposed to be the Coalition’s strong points.

Yet even in the face of a catastrophe that shows our infrastructure vulnerable, and the economy under threat, we are still overwhelmed with political management.

Laura Tingle is 7.30’s chief political correspondent.

Stay across our bushfire coverage:

A single joey lost in burnt bushland

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-11/australia-bushfire-crisis-just-dont-mention-climate-change/11857590

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BOM CHART Shows how Temperatures have Soared in AUSTRALIA over the Past Century!

YES … AUSTRALIA is getting hotter. And Experts say it’s likely to continue!

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Bureau of Meteorology chart shows how temperatures have soared in Australia over the past century

ABC News Breakfast By Patrick Wood

14 JANUARY 2020

Temperatures across Australia over the past 110 years.

INFOGRAPHIC: Temperatures across Australia over the past 110 years. (Supplied: Bureau Of Meteorology)

RELATED STORY: ‘Well-defined and clear trends’: Australia just faced down its hottest and driest year on record

RELATED STORY: Scientists explain why this summer is ‘smashing the extremes’

Australia just had its warmest and driest year on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, continuing a long-running trend in the country.

Key points:

  • Australia’s climate has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius since 1910
  • BOM says very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur
  • A rainfall chart shows drying out over the last couple of decades in southern Australia

A chart produced by the bureau and updated with 2019 figures (shown above) displays a stark transformation over the past century.

It shows the anomaly of mean temperature for each calendar year from 1910 to 2019, compared to the average over the standard reference period of 1961–1990.

The colours range from dark blue (more than 3 degrees Celsius below average), through blues and greens (below average), yellow and orange (above average), and then brown (more than 3C above average).

“Australia’s climate has warmed by more than a degree since 1910, which means very warm years like 2019 are now more likely to occur,” said Karl Braganza, the bureau’s head of climate monitoring.

How climate change has impacted the world since your childhood


Global warming is already changing the world before our eyes — let’s see what has happened in your lifetime, and what’s in store for your future.

Dr Braganza said alongside warmer temperatures, we were also seeing a trend in recent decades towards drier winter and spring seasons in some parts of the country.

Andrew Watkins, manager of long-range forecasting at the bureau, said the hot 2019 — which had an average mean temperature 1.52C above average — was front of mind for many.

“It was the talking point of all last year,” he said.

“All the states and territories were in the top handfuls of temperature. Hot everywhere, pretty much.

“Almost by definition if they’re records they are unusual.”

The bureau has also produced another chart showing rainfall in each year since 1900.

120 years of Australian rainfall.

INFOGRAPHIC: 120 years of Australian rainfall. (Supplied: Bureau Of Meteorology)

The colours range from dark red (lowest on record) to white (average) and dark blue (highest on record).

“We’ve seen a warming up, and also a drying out, of southern Australia,” Dr Watkins said.

“About 10 to 15 per cent drying over the last couple of decades in southern Australia.

“Hopefully the year will head a bit more towards average rainfall and temperature pattern.

“Probably still a bit warmer than normal though, but gee, it shouldn’t be as bad as [2019].”

SOURCE: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-14/bureau-of-meteorology-chart-shows-how-temperatures-soared/11857404

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HOW ABORIGINAL PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE BUSHFIRE CRISIS

‘ … … I hope it’ll recover. I hope that Indigenous knowledge & expertise takes precedence in the forward management of natural environments. This requires Indigenous people & systems leading the process, not being tacked on, or our knowledges excerpted & cropped into failing models ‘

Strength from perpetual grief: how Aboriginal people experience the bushfire crisis

January 10, 2020

Authors

  1. Bhiamie WilliamsonResearch Associate & PhD Candidate, Australian National University
  2. Jessica WeirSenior Research Fellow, Western Sydney University
  3. Vanessa CavanaghAssociate Lecturer, School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, University of Wollongong

How do you support people forever attached to a landscape after an inferno tears through their homelands: decimating native food sources, burning through ancient scarred trees and destroying ancestral and totemic plants and animals?

The fact is, the experience of Aboriginal peoples in the fire crisis engulfing much of Australia is vastly different to non-Indigenous peoples.

Colonial legacies of eradication, dispossession, assimilation and racism continue to impact the lived realities of Aboriginal peoples. Added to this is the widespread exclusion of our peoples from accessing and managing traditional homelands. These factors compound the trauma of these unprecedented fires.

It’s important to recognise that not only do we grieve for our communities, but for our non-human relations. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

As Australia picks up the pieces from these fires, it’s more important than ever to understand the unique grief Aboriginal peoples experience. Only through this understanding can effective strategies be put in place to support our communities to recover.

Perpetual grief

Aboriginal peoples live with a sense of perpetual grief. It stems from the as-yet-unresolved matter of the invasion and subsequent colonisation of our homelands.

While there are many instances of colonial trauma inflicted upon Aboriginal peoples – including the removal of children and the suppression of culture, ceremony and language – dispossession of Country remains paramount. Dispossessing people of their lands is a hallmark of colonisation.

Amy Thunig@AmyThunig

Seeing people start to ask ‘what is going on in Australia?!’

Ongoing colonisation, that’s what’s going on.

This land was nurtured in reciprocal relationships with First Nations peoples for some 120,000 + years.

THIS is the result of 200 odd years of extractive yt invasion.2,2825:33 PM – Jan 5, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy812 people are talking about this

Australian laws have changed to partially return Aboriginal peoples’ lands and waters, and Aboriginal people have made their best efforts to advocate for more effective management of Country. But despite this, the majority of our peoples have been consigned to the margins in managing our homelands.

Aboriginal people have watched on and been ignored as homelands have been mismanaged and neglected.

Oliver Costello is chief executive of Firesticks Alliance, an Indigenous-led network that aims to re-invigorate cultural burning. As he puts it:

Since colonisation, many Indigenous people have been removed from their land, and their cultural fire management practices have been constrained by authorities, informed by Western views of fire and land management.

In this way, settler-colonialism is not historical, but a lived experience. And the growing reality of climate change adds to these anxieties.

It’s also important to recognise that our people grieve not only for our communities, but for our non-human relations. Aboriginal peoples’ cultural identity comes from the land.


Read more: Our land is burning, and western science does not have all the answers


As such, Aboriginal cultural lives and livelihoods continue to be tied to the land, including landscape features such as waterholes, valleys and mountains, as well as native animals and plants.

The decimation caused by the fires deeply impacts the existence of Aboriginal peoples and in the most severe hit areas, threatens Aboriginal groups as distinct cultural beings attached to the land. As The Guardian’s Indigenous affairs editor Lorena Allam recently wrote:

Like you, I’ve watched in anguish and horror as fire lays waste to precious Yuin land, taking everything with it – lives, homes, animals, trees – but for First Nations people it is also burning up our memories, our sacred places, all the things which make us who we are.

For Aboriginal people then, who live with the trauma of dispossession and neglect and now, the trauma of catastrophic fire, our grief is immeasurably different to that of non-Indigenous people.

Bushfire recovery must consider culture

As we come to terms with the fires’ devastation, Australia must turn its gaze to recovery. The field of community recovery offers valuable insights into how groups of people can come together and move forward after disasters.


Read more: New research turns Tasmanian Aboriginal history on its head. The results will help care for the land


But an examination of research and commentary in this area reveals how poorly non-Indigenous Australia (and indeed, the international field of community recovery) understands the needs of Aboriginal people.

The definition of “community” is not explicitly addressed, and thus is taken as a single socio-cultural group of people.

But research in Australia and overseas has demonstrated that for Aboriginal people, healing from trauma – whether historical or contemporary – is a cultural and spiritual process and inherently tied to land.

Bushfires have raged across Australia, and the recovery process must not leave out Aboriginal Australians. Dean Lewins/AAP

The culture-neutral standpoint in community recovery research as yet does not acknowledge these differences. Without considering the historical, political and cultural contexts that continue to define the lives of Aboriginal peoples, responses to the crisis may be inadequate and inappropriate.

Resilience in the face of ongoing trauma

The long-term effects of colonisation has meant Aboriginal communities are (for better or worse) accustomed to living with catastrophic changes to their societies and lands, adjusting and adapting to keep functioning.

Experts consider these resilience traits as integral for communities to survive and recover from natural disasters.

In this way, the resilience of Aboriginal communities fashioned through centuries of colonisation, coupled with adequate support, means Aboriginal communities in fire-affected areas are well placed to not only recover, but to do so quickly.


Read more: Australia can expect far more fire catastrophes. A proper disaster plan is worth paying for


This is a salient lesson for agencies and other non-government organisations entrusted to lead the disaster recovery process.

The community characteristics that enable effective and timely community recovery, such as close social links and shared histories, already exist in the Aboriginal communities affected.

Moving forward

The agency in charge of leading the recovery in bushfire-affected areas must begin respectfully and appropriately. And they must be equipped with the basic knowledge of our peoples’ different circumstances.

It’s important to note this isn’t “special treatment”. Instead, it recognises that policy and practice must be fit-for-purpose and, at the very least, not do further harm.

Vanessa Cavanagh@nessscavvv · Jan 7, 2020Replying to @nessscavvv

10
Thankfully no one was hurt here & it’s not where we currently live thus have the comforts of home, & knowing that others are not so lucky. I Shared this experience with my kids & their cousin who was evacuated from his home on sth cst. Son asked if the bush will grow back

View image on Twitter

Vanessa Cavanagh@nessscavvv

11
I hope it’ll recover. I hope that Indigenous knowledge & expertise takes precedence in the forward management of natural environments. This requires Indigenous people & systems leading the process, not being tacked on, or our knowledges excerpted & cropped into failing models

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

2312:00 PM – Jan 7, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacySee Vanessa Cavanagh’s other Tweets

If agencies and non-government organisations responsible for leading the recovery from these fires aren’t well-prepared, they risk inflicting new trauma on Aboriginal communities.

The National Disability Insurance Agency offers an example of how to engage with Aboriginal people in culturally sensitive ways. This includes thinking about Country, culture and community, and working with each community’s values and customs to establish respectful, trusting relationships.


Read more: How should leaders respond to disasters? Be visible, offer real comfort – and don’t force handshakes


The new bushfire recovery agency must use a similar strategy. This would acknowledge both the historical experiences of Aboriginal peoples and our inherent strengths as communities that have not only survived, but remain connected to our homelands.

In this way, perhaps the bushfire crisis might have some positive longer-term outcomes, opening new doors to collaboration with Aboriginal people, drawing on our strengths and values and prioritising our unique interests.

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SOURCE: https://theconversation.com/strength-from-perpetual-grief-how-aboriginal-people-experience-the-bushfire-crisis-129448?fbclid=IwAR1__dEXqdwI3CRXkXzr5OfehTH4S4KavfXCx_VqrTzgiEMQ-z6XII2JI6U

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NEWS CORP Employee lashes MURDOCH reporting of Bushfires

News Corp's coverage of the Australian bushfire crisis has received attention from around the world.

News Corp’s coverage of the Australian bushfire crisis has received attention from around the world.CREDIT:NICK MOIR

HERE’s what some commentators had to say!

Paul

I’m surprised that state governments haven’t acted to curb News Corp i rresponsibility. Australian states are treated no better than South American countries by this American libertarian agency. Not only do they engage in character assassination of anyone leading positive change, we can now see they deliberately frustrate state governance, seed false arguments and destroy community wellbeing. This is an emergency, the planet and our capacity to transform human behaviour is at stake.

Mary-Anne Well said Paul. That self-entitled evil old man and his corrupt spawn should have the numbers 666 stamped on their foreheads. Australian citizens should demand the re-introduction of media concentration laws because no single person/organisation should ever be allowed to exert so much influence/manipulation over the national conversation. He has succeeded in stiffling important debate and dividing this nation by promoting tribalism rather than sensible rational discussion.

Brian You are forgetting how beholden our state and federal governments are to Rupert Murdoch and their dependence on him for re-election. We no longer have a free press in this country with the domination of News Corp.

Kate Thank you Emily Townsend. If only Murdoch journalists had your strength of character. They could join forces against their errant bosses. Surely they couldn’t all be sacked?

Belinda Maybe we should start a GoFundMe to financially liberate any News Corp reporters and staff who want to speak out. I think it would go nuts, imagine if even half the staff could quit and speak out without fear of losing their income. Imagine the truth that could come out. I think it would spread throughout other News Corp owned countries.

The email was highly critical of News Corp’s reporting.

Samantha Dick

Samantha Dick Reporter

COMMENT

A News Corp employee has slammed the organisation for spreading “climate change denial and lies” through “irresponsible” and “dangerous reporting” on Australia’s catastrophic bushfires.

In an email, obtained by The New Daily, Emily Townsend, a commercial finance manager at the company, hit out at executive chairman Michael Miller after he sent a company-wide email talking up all the ways News Corp is helping communities affected by the bushfire crisis.

In the email addressed to Mr Miller, which was was distributed to all News Corp Australia staff, Ms Townsend said she was grateful for the company’s fundraising efforts, but added that it did “not offset the impact News Corp reporting has had over the last few weeks”.

I have been severely impacted by the coverage of News Corp publications in relation to the fires, in particular the misinformation campaign that has tried to divert attention away from the real issue which is climate change to focus on arson (including misrepresenting facts),” Ms Townsend wrote.

I find it unconscionable to continue working for this company, knowing I am contributing to the spread of climate change denial and lies.”

The email was reportedly deleted from New Corp staff inboxes within an hour of it being sent.

A copy of Ms Townsend’s email obtained by The New Daily.

Four hours later on Friday afternoon, News Corp issued a statement to The New Daily on behalf of Mr Miller.

The statement claimed Ms Townsend had resigned in December and was due to leave News Corp shortly.

“We respect Ms Townsend’s right to hold her views, but we do not agree with them,” the statement reads.

“Our coverage has recognised that Australia is having a serious conversation about climate change and how to respond to it,” it said.

“However, it has also reflected there are a variety of views and opinions about the current fire crisis. The role of arsonists and policies that may have contributed to the spread of fire are, therefore, legitimate stories to report in the public interest.

“Contrary to what some critics have argued, News Corp does not deny climate change or the gravity of its threat. However, we – as is the traditional role of a publisher – do report a variety of views and opinions on the issue and many others that are important in the public discourse on the fires.”

Rupert Murdoch’s influential newspapers and television stations have been widely criticised in recent weeks for spreading misinformation about climate change during Australia’s out-of-control bushfires.

The Australian has repeatedly argued that this year’s fires are no worse than those of the past – a claim which scientists have slammed as untrue.

Ms Townsend’s decision to write a damning letter condemning News Corp’s coverage has been welcomed by some current and former employees of the company.

The New Daily is aware of a growing discomfort among News Corp employees with how reporting on the crisis is being handled.

While afraid to speak openly for fear of reprisals from the company, some News Corp employees were quietly cheering their colleague’s stance.

One current employee described it as “huge”, while another said it was “amazing”.

“We’re all pretty thrilled,” another current news reporter said.

So far, more than 12 million acres have burned, and more of New South Wales has been burned in 2019 alone than the previous 15 years combined.

This week, an independent study also found online bots and trolls had been exaggerating the role of arson in the fires, at the same time that an article in The Australian that made similar claims started trending on the newspaper’s website.

murdoch news corp bushfire

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/10/news-corp-employee-lashes-bushfire-reporting/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News%20Alert%20-%202020110%20PM

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How Rupert Murdoch is influencing Australia’s bushfire debate

READ … it is self-evident … bleedin’ obvious that the ‘Limited News’ message is making headway … with what it has also done in the United States and Britain shift blame to the left, protect conservative leaders and divert attention from climate change.

-once those seeds of doubt are planted it stops an important conversation from taking place

-with Murdoch outlets condemning protestors; editorials arguing against radical climate change policy; emphasising the need for more back-burning

echoing between officialdom and Murdoch media that has many people so concerned

RELATED ARTICLE: NEWS CORP: DEMOCRACY’s GREATEST THREAT

Australia would be a better country without News. Of course it would be. Either it changes, or we do.

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.com/2020/01/07/news-corp-democracys-greatest-threat/

How Rupert Murdoch is influencing Australia’s bushfire debate

Rupert Murdoch bushfires

The New York Times believes there is a specific bushfire agenda in the Murdoch owned mediaPhoto: New York Times/Matthew Abbott

Avatar

Damien Cave

COMMENT

Deep in the burning forests south of Sydney this week, volunteer firefighters were clearing a track through the woods, hoping to hold back a nearby blaze, when one of them shouted over the crunching of bulldozers.

“Don’t take photos of any trees coming down,” he said. “The greenies will get a hold of it, and it’ll all be over.”

*The idea that “greenies” or environmentalists would oppose measures to prevent fires from ravaging homes and lives is simply false.

*But the comment reflects a narrative that’s been promoted for months by conservative Australian media outlets, especially the influential newspapers and television stations owned by Rupert Murdoch.

*And it’s far from the only Murdoch-fueled claim making the rounds. His standard-bearing national newspaper, The Australian, has also repeatedly argued that this year’s fires are no worse than those of the past – not true, scientists say, noting that 12 million acres have burned so far, with 2019 alone scorching more of New South Wales than the previous 15 years combined.

*And on Wednesday, Murdoch’s News Corp, the largest media company in Australia, was found to be part of another wave of misinformation. An independent study found online bots and trolls exaggerating the role of arson in the fires, at the same time that an article in The Australian making similar assertions became the most popular offering on the newspaper’s website.

*It’s all part of what critics see as a relentless effort led by the powerful media outlet to do what it has also done in the United States and Britain shift blame to the left, protect conservative leaders and divert attention from climate change.

*“It’s really reckless and extremely harmful,” said Joëlle Gergis, an award-winning climate scientist at the Australian National University.“It’s insidious because it grows. Once you plant those seeds of doubt, it stops an important conversation from taking place.” *

Rupert Murdoch bushfires
Critics accuse the Murdoch media protecting conservative leaders and diverting attention from climate changePhoto: Getty

News Corp denied playing such a role.

“Our coverage has recognised Australia is having a conversation about climate change and how to respond to it,” the company said in an email. “The role of arsonists and policies that may have contributed to the spread of fire are, however, legitimate stories to report in the public interest.”

*Yet, for many critics, the Murdoch approach suddenly looks dangerous. They are increasingly connecting News Corp to the spread of misinformation and the government’s lacklustre response to the fires.

*They argue that the company and the Coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison are responsible – together, as a team – for the failure to protect a country that scientists say is more vulnerable to climate change than any other developed nation.

Editors and columnists for News Corp were among the loudest defenders of Mr Morrison after he faced blowback for vacationing in Hawaii as the worst of the fire season kicked off in December.

In late December, ‘the Oz’, as the News Corp-owned paper is known in Australia, heavily promoted an interview with the government’s energy minister, Angus Taylor, warning that “top-down” pressure from the United Nations to address climate change would fail — followed by an opinion piece from Mr Taylor on New Year’s Eve.

Other News Corp outlets followed a similar playbook. Melbourne’s Herald Sun, for example, pushed news of the bushfires to Page four on New Year’s Eve, even as they threatened to devastate towns nearby and push thick smoke into the city.

Days later, residents in a town nearly flattened by the fires heckled and snubbed Mr Morrison during a visit to assess the damage. A new hire for Murdoch’s Sky News channel, Chris Smith, branded them “ferals”.

The PM left fire-ravaged Cobargo amid a deluge of jeers.: Photo Channel Nine

As is often the case at Murdoch outlets around the world, there have been exceptions to the company line — an article about Australian golfer Greg Norman’s declaration that “there is climate change taking place”; an interview with an international expert who explained why this year’s fires are unique.

*The Australian Greens party has made clear that it supports such hazardreduction burns, issuing a statement online saying so.

*Climate scientists do acknowledge that there is room for improvement when it comes to burning the branches and dead trees on the ground that can fuel fires. But they also say that no amount of preventive burning will offset the impact of rising temperatures that accelerate evaporation, dry out land and make already-arid Australia a tinderbox.

Even fire officials report that most of the offseason burns they want to do are hindered not by land-use laws but by weather — including the lengthier fire season and more extreme precipitation in winter that scientists attribute to climate change.

Still, the Murdoch outlets continue to resist. “On a dry continent prone to deadly bushfires for centuries, fuel reduction through controlled burning is vital,” said an editorial published Thursday in The Australian.

*It went on to add: “Changes to climate change policy, however, would have no immediate impact on bushfires” a stance that fits hand in glove with government officials’ frequent dismissals of the “bogey man of climate change.”

*It’s that echoing between officialdom and Murdoch media that has many people so concerned.*

NSW bushfire
*NSW RFS boss Shane Fitzsimmons has dismissed the cure-all of fuel reduction: Photo: AAP *

“Leaders should be held to account and they should be held to account by the media,” said Penny Sackett, a physicist, astronomer and former chief scientist for Australia.

Of course, it is often hard to know just how much influence any media company has.

Gerard Henderson, a columnist for The Australian, said he didn’t think there was much need to address climate change because it was already a focal point across the rest of the media.

“It’s hard to distract from climate change because it’s spoken about constantly,” he said.

*But there are signs that the Murdoch message is making headway – at least in terms of what people make a priority.

*Many firefighters working the smoky hills south of Sydney hesitated to state their views on climate change this week (some said senior leaders had told them to avoid the issue). But they were quick to argue for more back-burning.

Similarly, in Bairnsdale, Tina Moon, whose farm was devastated by the fires, said she was mostly furious about the government’s failure to clear the land around her property.

“I don’t think it’s climate change,” she said.

-New York Times

SOURCE: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/01/09/rupert-murdoch-bushfire-debate/

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