I went back this weekend and read a Quarterly Essay from 2017 – Anna Krien’s essay entitled The Long Goodbye. The subtitle was “Coal, coral and Australia’s climate deadlock”, and I knew nothing more about it than that.
I often seer clear of climate texts, because I find it so depressing. Just over 10 years ago, I was really into water conservation and trying to live as sustainably as possible, and I was really passionate about action for climate change. But I have become bitter and dejected since then. I still use organic and sustainable products as much as possible, and I’ve tried to keep growing some of our vegetables. But I feel like what I can do is such a drop in the ocean, and the problem is so huge, that it depresses me.
The Long Goodbye was a bit depressing.
But it makes me want to be an activist! It makes me so angry.
Anna begins and ends with the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s slow death, and everyone ignoring the loss of such a beautiful piece of our country.
But then the essay quickly turns to the Adani mine, which I admit I knew very little about. Our 2019 election seemed to hinge on Adani, and I was fundamentally against it, without knowing the extent of the background. Now, the fact that Adani is on track, just makes me more angry.
I don’t know how the current government got elected, with the amount of people who are concerned with climate change. Yet, we have status quo in government, and nothing continues to get done.
I am angry at the generations before me, and I’m angry at myself for not doing more. The previous generations have pillaged the Earth at our expense, and they’re denying it, and the destruction continues in the name of profit.
The mining boom and the underlying approvals seem to be founded on lies. A town rises up and busts with the building of a mining, because the operation of the mine is now nearly fully automated. It doesn’t create many jobs – it just devastates a town.
Then there’s the ruined of the land – mining companies walking away without remedying the land, and the government being left with the bill. Not to mention the pumping of underground water, and the decimation of the artisan water, leaving the bores of farmers dry. The interior of Australia is being raped and left to be a wasteland.
Having read Dark Emu recently, I was so devastated with the impact of Europeans of the Australian environment, but our impact continues in a far more destructive way. And our contribution to global warming, by shipping our coal over to power India, puts us fairly at fault.
Then there’s the influence of the mining profits on our government – the fall of Rudd, and the current election of the useless Coalition – with no foresight for the future at all. The misinformation that the mining industry feeds to the media and the government is also astounding – blaming the recent South Australian total blackout on renewable energy was laughable, having read the facts.
I really appreciate the effort and research that Anna has put into this essay – but to what end?!?
It all feels useless.