Saturday, March 21, 2009

'EARTH HOUR' MARCH 28th

DROUGHT STRICKEN LAKE
March 28th is Earth Hour and we are ALL being asked to show our vote for, or against, global warming. To vote against all you need to do is turn your lights OFF at 8.30pm for one hour.
Climate Change is affecting us all and the impact here where I live in regional Victoria is biting hard. The photo is of Lake Lonsdale, a former recreational lake a few miles from where I live. During the past 12 years the lake has only held water over the summer once! We are in our tenth year of severe drought and it saddens me that my 12 year old son Coen has not experienced any of the joys of relief from the heat that I did while growing up. Only one summer was he able to play under the sprinkler on the back lawn during a heat wave and has never been to the nearby lakes for a swim. Our town looks dry and barren with bucket only water restrictions over the past 4 summers. Our summers are getting hotter and this year all previous records were broken with what is now known as Black Saturday, our hottest and most tragic day, with bush fires that almost destroyed entire towns. Over two hundred people lost their lives, while floods ravaged Queensland.
Victoria has become a different state since the Black Saturday fires. Schools are now closed in regional areas on days of high fire danger, which include all the small country schools here. In an unprecedented move Victoria Police sent a text message on the 2nd of March to all Victorians with mobile phones, warning of extreme weather conditions and asking people to implement their fire plan. Decide if you are to stay and defend, or evacuate EARLY, to listen to the emergency radio station and not travel on the day. I fear that these warnings will become a more regular event in our future.
Lake Belfield from the Pinniacle
This is a photo that I took of Lake Belfield from the top of the Pinnacle in the Grampians in May last year. The Lake which now looks more like a puddle was 17% capacity in winter. Water from Lake Belfield is sent to the Mallee Region of Victoria for use by farmers in an area with less rainfall and much harsher conditions than here. Last year saw the beginning of the Wimmera Malle pipeline project. Water is now piped to the Mallee rather than sent in open channels to reduce loss from evaporation. If you think that this all sounds depressing, well yes it is. Global Warming seems to have become a concern for the economy in most countries, rather that something that we all need to address. The cost of living here has skyrocketed, impacted by crop failures and the rising cost of fuel. The trend here for importing cheaper goods from overseas still continues. Australia imports for example, bottled water from China, would you really like to drink water from who knows where in China? You can now go into any business selling cold drinks here in Australia and see the fridges stocked with at least 40% bottled water,(mostly Australian I should add) Planet Ark are asking people to stop supporting this industry by buying a reusable water bottle that contains a built in filter and filling it up at home. Just this one simple task greatly reduces direct impact on the earths resources. It is not quite all doom and gloom here. As a user of public transport I would find myself almost the only person catching the 6.30 am train to Melbourne, now you almost wonder if you are going to get a seat and be allowed on. The change to the use of public transport here is due mainly to the rising cost of fuel, although it is a positive move. Many regional and city areas now hold monthly and weekly Farmers Markets where small growers can sell their produce directly to the public. These markets have become hugely popular and are very well supported. Please take time to think about the goods that you purchase in the future. Without the support of consumers, many companies would have to change their products.
March 28th is a Saturday here and I shall celebrate it by camping in the Grampians and enjoying the stars!

2 comments:

lyn said...

Oh, Deb, Australia & the US sound like twin sisters! Except that Aussies seem a bit smarter, at least realizing the need to conserve water & implementing restrictions. I have yet to see that happen here in the Southwest... golf courses are still filled with green grass, Phoenix still looks like an oasis, & Las Vegas still has giant water displays spewing day & night. All the while, canals siphon off the Colorado River, carrying the water hundreds of miles & piping it back into the ground to replenish the water tables that are being sucked dry. It is completely crazy. There are rivers here that only flow after very heavy monsoon rains... they've been dry for decades & decades. When will we finally "get it"?

I hope you've finished the piece you were working on in time to meet your deadline-- I'm looking forward to seeing it --& that you enjoy your time in the Grampians. I'll be thinking of you when I switch my lights off on the 28th!

Lyn

Debbie Herd said...

Hi Lyn, I feel that the earth is crying and we are ignoring her tears.
Even now we are being encouraged to consume more to keep the economy going, only environmental groups are asking us to stop consuming and supporting the craziness of the world. Yes water restrictions are a necessity here and if anyone would have told people in central Victoria 20 years ago that their reservoirs would contain treated water for them to drink from their sewerage plants, people would have been up in arms and saying that it would never happen. But they are drinking it now! I will be thinking of you on the 28th. Debbie (who needs to finish her tapestry TODAY)

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