Eureka Farm is experiencing first hand the effects of climate warming. For us we watch and wait as each day the forests which surround us get drier and the water level in the dam gets lower every day. True we haven’t quite reached the dire circumstances that exist in much of the mainland but the feeling seems familiar and growing.
But the drier it gets the harder it seems to maintain the growing environment. Every day I fix up the fences – tighten the wires put more electrics in or remove the electrics and change to mesh. But the wildlife is starving and increasingly they either get into our orchards or die. We forget these things when we have piped water and shops with lots of food but for the animals their choices are limited.
We irrigate as much as we can. We think to ourselves how long do we have to go. Will their be enough water? Even watering this way the ground still looks parched. The winds blow with fierce determination maybe to test our resolve but we just have no choice but to keep going. Occasionally we are reminded what rain looks like with a pattering of drops on the roof and even a short downfall. Great we think but soon it is over an another scorching windy day follows.
My question then is what can we do about these climate changes globally. We often hear that by better use of our water, by growing more drought resistant crops, by an interesting array of solutions we optimistically expect food production will continue to grow. An there is a tendency for the better off nations to be casual about the global issues of supplying food for an ever increasing population. Perhaps eventually then as we realise that the drought trap is not just a distant enemy but can affect everyone then we will make those harder decisions. . We forget that many countries have been facing drought for years. Our sympathy possibly extended to food aid for a while but it is not in our backyard so we grow accustomed to thinking we might be immune. So it comes as somewhat of a shock that our destiny isn’t sustainable if we do not change our lifestyle habits. In Australia it can be a double whammy as the native bushland is not an easy neighbour in these extremely dry times. The eucalypts are so inflammable and when a fire gets started it is difficult to stop. All in all we are being warned.
The number of people on this earth continues to grow. every visitor points out what a haven we enjoy. We are proud of our state and unending space but we tend to forget that this idiosyncrasy may not stay that way forever. The abundance of beauty makes for many places to be on every visitors lists. They too are not disappointed but we who live here remember how accessible our beautiful places used to be. No queues , no bookings no horrible car parks no nothing just had to go there and enjoy.
The erosion to our fabric of life can easily be assumed to be exaggerated as the sweet memories of those that are growing old. There are truths to our memories though. The fish in our seas, the scallops we love, the crays we caught are all becoming distant memories. The shacks we returned to in mass every summer are no longer affordable and probably wouldn’t be able to be built with the regulatory madness that exists today. The diseases that are affecting our animals and the crops we grow. The Bass Strait is no longer that the barrier to these scourges that want to enter this state.
I may be wrong but we need to pursue what we want out of this beautiful island. We need not make too many compromises. We have wonderful businesses here in all sorts of ways promoting the uniqueness of Tasmania. The world knows this and which is better to sell it ot the highest bidder or protect its future so that it remains ‘Tasmanian and not corporate. We should be more confident that we can succeed , that we are smart enough to find our way and that we can do it by ourselves. Too often the sellout doesn’t lead to more benefits and generally the buyers would be unaccepting for us to do the reverse.
We need to take confidence in our capabilities. The determination that we can do better is able to be achieved. New directions on waste management, a strengthening or our quarantine rules, strong steps to promote and protect what we value and the determination to help our young people get a start in life are some examples as to what we should be doinig.