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Byron Shire
May 23, 2022

Editorial: Can we adapt in time?

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Michael McDonald, Echo editor, 1995–2010

While Mother Nature writes across the sky in letters of flame ‘I told you so’, many of our so-called leaders remain in denial about the reality of the climate crisis.

It’s been a long time coming, but the wake-up call about the threat of global warming and rising sea levels was even on Richard Nixon’s desk in the form of a memo as far back as 1969. ‘Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter,’ wrote Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the memo.

Yet many of our leaders prefer to say goodbye to the facts. In some cases the denial is about a rigid mindset; in others, a pandering to vested interests in the fossil-fuel industries, which is worthy of becoming a criminal act.

The wrong mindset will not make the crisis go away. It’s as inevitable as death, and we must all adapt to that.

It’s time to find some coping strategies. These include doing our bit to reduce and re-use, taking to the streets to make a point (hopefully in an amusing way such as that of the Knitting Nannas or XR’s performance of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive in Melbourne) and seeking support among like-minded people if needed. I suppose one good thing about the climate crisis is that it gives everybody a worthy cause to work towards.

Wishful thinking and resignation are also coping strategies but little will come of them I’m afraid, much like Donald Trump’s hopes and prayers following any outbreak of gun violence.

Wild Open (facebook.com/wildopen.net) is one locally based project that takes its inspiration from the natural world. It presents pathways into understanding our vital connection to the Earth – despite our hubris, we are not creatures apart from the animals.

The nature that threatens is also the nature that could save us. ‘Rewilding’ our lives helps us to understand where our psychological wellbeing – and our hope for a livable future – must spring from.

As a certified codger (noun: an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric) I have had decades of our leaders’ political follies and repeatedly thrown up my hands in despair. However, there is a seed of hope in the younger generation, inspired by the likes of Greta Thunberg, and their own understanding of the urgency of climate action.

Before I die I’d be happy to see them overthrow the old ways of doing business. To see with Thunberg the end of the ‘fairytales of eternal economic growth’ and a return to valuing our lifeboat Planet Earth above all else.

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  1. Right on, Michael. I’m an oldie too……… We must
    step up & out [if we can] & support the students
    & their right to a life & a positive future. Hammer
    the newspapers & online shock-jocks due to this
    government’s non-action ie; their criminal inaction
    on Climate Crisis. Black Friday, November 19th
    ‘Fridays For A Future’ School Strike is there for

  2. Spot on, Michael. Unfortunately I think the majority of the population is not willing to go the whole hog needed to become sustainable.
    Improving the economic situation and education for women in ‘developing’ countries will rapidly reduce population growth, but I’m fearful that climate heating will beat our attempts to adapt to it, especially our food production systems. Our consumption and throwaway societies have been the backbone of our ‘prosperity’, but at what price? That will be a very hard habit to break.
    And it all has to be done ASAP – not in 25 or 50 years.
    I have classed myself as a ‘catastrophe’ – someone who believes the only way forward is through a catastrophe – war, famine, etc. Makes me very worried for my grandchildren, no, also for their parents as well.
    How do we stop the politicians who have the support of the profitable fossil fuel industries and those among us who won;t face up to reality.
    I know how hard it is – I’m restoring an old petrol car – not eco friendly, but its only a toy – something to occupy my mind, but also a contradiction of my values. The human ability to believe two opposing things at the same time is unbelievable!
    If eleven thousand scientists and the current fire storms in Australia and California aren’t confirmation enough of the challenge we face, we’re in big trouble. (tempting to say ‘God help us!, but I don;t believe in a super power that will come to our last minute aid – its up to us, not prayer and rain dances)

  3. The political strategy of PM ScoalNO and his mob of muppets is brilliant in its simplicity. Don’t admit that there is a Climate Emergency and so no need to implement the action that is demanded by a Climate Emergency . It is no better illustrated than by The Government’s refusal to have a meeting with the group of former Fire Chiefs who wanted to warn the Government of the firebomb apocalypse that we are now experiencing. And when said firebomb apocalypse arrives the strategy is then to shut down any talk by trotting out lame ass lines like, “now is not the time”. If not now, then when – a cold and rainy day in mid July perhaps.

  4. Are we simply accepting the fact that your PM Morrison is a climate science denier, has gagged the LNP members about even mentioning climate change and previously stated that climate change is in the hands of his lord, the Hillsong cult sky fairy.

  5. Dear Echo and Michael McDonald….I couldn’t have expressed my feelings better than you did in your editorial ….I am codger material too. and trying to stay strong in the face of ,.in all honesty {don’t tell the kids} what I believe is complete despair… . ..Just look at the whole of the recorded human history…when has there been a complete coming together ,a right and just decision taken for the good of people and place….First Nation peoples had the formula. But it was the job of the missionaries to finish those practices .. hubristic Christianity combined with the lust for power and money became the toxic combination to set this fuse burning….Selfishness became the only way…because without your own power pack of selfishness .you will be taken down by your competitor and miss out on the spoils of affluence and a place in the kingdom of heaven…In the late nineties I had an argument with my then father in law over politics and the direction of Australia’s environmental laws .The argument became the catalyst for my divorce …..The phrase :the hippies were right,..; keeps ringing in my ears. I have lived a simple life ,always with a love of nature .why were the people that showed the most care denigrated by mainstream so much..? because it wasn’t playing the game ..I work in the horticulture trade and am also a songwriter. Over the years I have written albums of great {I think }songs which have remained unprofessionally recorded. Songs with titles like Lesson to learn and Hope or Vanish. Defector Defender…but it seems these protest songs are probably old hat now because time has raced so quickly to what seems a downhill spiral…..My God is Mother Nature always was and always will be. Nature is real. It gives us clean fresh water from the streams ,aromas of heaven,. wonderful mood changes with the weather and food from the wild….without her I don’t wanna be ….May God be with you all.


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