The images are from top to bottom 1. Rain in Sydney at Circular Quay. 2 and 3. Two Stormwater drains carrying rain water from our local streets down to Port Phillip Bay. Environmentally this is a disaster to the life systems in the bay unless there are filters on the drain outlets and they are effectively managed. Neither of these drains are filtered hence unimaginable items go into the bay. 4 and 5 Storm clouds forming over the bay.
This was the rising sun looking down our street this morning through the smoke from hundreds of kilometres away. Another day of hazardous air across Melbourne however Sydney and Canberra have had weeks of this. The fires still burn and the people are becoming angrier with our Government. There is so much smoke, that it has crossed over new Zealand, the Pacific, South America, maybe your lands and is about to move over Australia again, catch up with itself and repeat the process. As well pressure from around the world is also forcing our Prime Minister to realise he can only stall, lie and ignore the realities of climate change for so long. Time has almost run out now and today he actually indicated he may make changes to his Government’s climate/energy policy, ( policy is a kind term for what is really only a weak attempt to acknowledge there may be an environmental disaster hovering). If anyone reading this was protesting outside an Australian Embassy in Europe this week , thanks, and keep it up , your pressure is helping. And yes the tightrope is for our Prime Minister, will he keep his balance?????
Every Summer for the 35 years we have lived in the Melbourne suburb of Sandringham, the call of Male Greengrocer Cicadas as been one of the most memorable sounds of the season. These beautiful gentle insects emerge from the ground under trees after incubating for 7 years. They climb into the foliage, fly from branch to branch, eat , call and reproduce. Every warm evening the males begin to vibrate their hind legs and emit ear splitting calls as loud as motor mowers, as they seek out the females. They only live a few days, the females burying their eggs in the ground at the base of the trees they have lived in. Without fail from the first week of December Cicadas calling would happen on every warm evening, sometines the sounds would continue for hours into the night. This year we have had plenty of warm evenings. After 5 weeks of Summer we have heard THREE Cicada calls. Every other year 3 calls would happen within 5 minutes of any warm evening. What has happened? I will investigate , however my guess is one more casuality of climate Change on the insect world. Pity we cannot see the disappearance of useless politicians like this absence of our Cicadas.
My last contact with Cicadas this year happened 6 nights ago. We heard our third call then silence. A short time later there was a thump at the back door. I went out to investigate and this Cicada was sitting on the veranda. I picked it up and it nestled in my hand. I carried it through the house and gently placed it on a fern in the front yard. later I checked and it had gone. We have not heard another call. I would not be as gentle if I met one of our Federal Government politicians.
For water birds there has always been a known environment to feed, rest and relax in. In these recent local photos from top to bottom are examples of, Silver Gull, Purple Swamphen, White faced heron and Black Swans. For all the other birds water is simply the difference between life and death. On our recent 40 oC days our water bowls were potentially life savers for the local Magpies, Doves, Wattlebirds, Noisy Miners and Thornbills. Tragically the drought and increasing temperatures across Australia are leading to significant decreases in the numbers of birds generally. Even our water birds cannot rely on available water or feeding/ wetland environments any more . Another reason to hold our politicians around the world to account on Climate Change NOW .
This Great Egret was hanging out with two fishermen beside the Moyne River jetty at Port Fairy.
Usually these birds are observed from a distance as they quietly seek out frogs, tadpoles or other small specimens of water/ swamp dwelling life. Not this bird. It was right beside the fishermen who explained it had trying to steal bait from their fishing tackle all afternoon. At one stage it was standing on one man’s car when he hid the bait inside it. Either a very hungry or very tame bird.
It seems they had decided to share some bait with the bird when it clearly was not going to go seek its own food naturally and of course more was asked for. Maybe another consequence of changing conditions out there in nature.
Dawn on the Moyne River at Port Fairy last September. This was an early morning walk Maggie and I took on the town side of the river. The sun was just rising over Killarney Bay behind the sand dunes. Port fairy is a beautiful little town however all relevant Climate Change scientific predictions have almost the entire town inundated by the ocean in the not too distant future. Whenever I now visit this town of my early childhood and where I first met my wife Jill and reflect on the happy memories I struggle to feel optimistic about Australia and most of the world addressing emissions reduction and restricting the looming dangers of decades of ignorant selfish political inaction on climate change.
September 20th was one of the most significant days of this century and perhaps of all times. This was the day when young people across the world responded to Greta Thunberg’s call to turn out and let world leaders attending the UN Climate Action Summit in New York to start acting, (fast) as time has almost run out to keep carbon emissions at a safe level. Here in Australia hundreds of thousands heeded Greta’s call. Jill and I attended the response in Melbourne along with over 150,000 others. Our conservative government is ignoring the science and reality, making a lot of noise about acting, however emissions in Australia have kept rising and we are exporting huge quantities of coal to Asia to be burnt. Our Prime Minister was in New York but did not attend the summit, he was not allowed to speak because of his government’s poor record. Instead he met with President Trump, attended a gala function with lots of right wing political and business people and also opened a factory with Trump. The mood has strengthened for Climate Change Action in Australia since September 20 and will continue to strengthen despite our government. They will grow increasingly irrelevant and could not possibly win the next election. I have included a short video I took on the 20th to share the mood.
Not much heat is coming from the sun down in our Southern Hemisphere Winter. However for weeks now we hear and read about the record breaking Summer temperatures across Europe. Our current climate records show drier Winter conditions leading to less rain that quickly leads to drought . Across the planet the climate is slowly unravelling with disastrous consequences and our politicians close their corrupted ears to the messages. A teenage Swedish schoolgirl makes more sense of global warming than the G20 group of world leaders.
One hundred metres down the street from our home these photos show where a suburban house and garden once stood for over 60 years, where families shared their lives, where plants once grew and died , where birds, animals and insects co-existed in nature. Now all gone.A desert of flat dozed lifeless dirt. Already foundations are being created to build fence to fence double story townhouses and concrete hard surface and maybe a few plants in pots. Gone is a local history and an ecosystem, not an original one but an ecosystem that saw many indigenous life forms existing. Through the gap in the rear fence where green weeds grow the same thing happened last year and over that next street the same again. This is happening all across our suburb and in neighbouring suburbs and on and on in Melbourne Australia. Population growth demanding new dwellings and a greed from property developers to squeeze as many living spaces on a block of land as possible means vegetation and fauna loss on an increasing scale. We have noticed the little birds have disappeared from our garden and that is one small sign. Our local government is unable to limit or control this madness, this environmental destruction. As well the loss of trees and shrubs adds to global warming. Maybe these images sum up Australia’s attitude as a nation to global warming. No chance for haiku !!!!!!
As we followed the fox prints across Norman Beach at Wilson’s Promontory National Park Jill spotted this dead and partly decomposed Yellow Bellied Sea Snake. The fox had clearly decided not to snack on it and soon the body would have been taken out by the tide. WE have never seen one of these snakes. They generally drift on the warmer South Pacific currents and live, feed and die on the water right across the Pacific Ocean. They rarely reach the colder Southern coast of the mainland or Tasmania. There had been some storms in the Tasman Sea in April and probably this poor little snake was churned around and dragged down into colder waters leading to its death.