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Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: It’s the End of the World…

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: It’s the End of the World

Thirty years ago scientists started talking about global warming from human induced emissions of CO2. Thirty years ago REM prophetically sang ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine…’ The irony of the ‘I feel fine’ only occurred to me today when I hummed along, watching smoke fill the valley. I realised I wasn’t feeling very fine at all.  I had that pit of doom feeling. That dark foreboding that resides at an almost cellular level. The sense that all is not right, and I’m powerless to do anything about it. The End of the World isn’t a popular conversation in the Rainbow Region where I live. We’ve always believed that love would set us free. That we’d spiritually evolve ourselves into a higher vibration, a dimension where we manifested solar power with our third eye on our yoga-powered fast track to sustainability. But it hasn’t happened. Apparently prayer flags and not wearing shoes inside will not protect your family from the apocalypse.

Turns out that saving the planet takes radical revolutionary action. Not something achieved by writing letters or signing email petitions, or by following regulations. It was so much easier in the ‘I feel fine’ years. My friends have evacuated their properties. I can’t see the giant mountain that usually looms majestically in front of me through all the smoke. Right now it really does feel like the end of the world… was Michael Stipes a modern day Nostradamus? How can we have known so much and done so little? What were we doing dancing to a song about our demise? We’ve shopped and mined and driven and flown and cut down trees and pumped out chemicals like there was no tomorrow. Because thanks to us, there very well may not be one. There’s this quote from the Bible that says ‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’ Apparently it made us free to do sweet FA.

Gloria Steinem has a much better swing on it, she says ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.’ Well ain’t that the truth. Interesting how much the climate conversation has been pissing people off. Especially the denialists. To date, in the climate change conversation, truth hasn’t had a chance. Denial has shown itself to be the most powerful narrative of all because of the social affliction of believing what you ‘choose’ to believe. It’s crack cocaine to critical thinking.  It’s what has kept us anaesthetised until the eleventh hour. How do you create the architecture for change when the architect is in a coma? When you’ve got Michael McCormack as deputy Prime Minister.

To date, climate change hasn’t seemed that scary. It’s a bit like a slow carbon monoxide leak. After the first few whiffs you get used to it, and then it’s too late. But things feel like they’re changing quickly now. 70 per cent of Venice is under water, with ten of their worst floods in history happening in the last 20 years. 99 per cent of NSW is in drought, and now we’re on fire. It’s hard to be in denial when you’re on fire, or drowning. The reality is right there. Even the usually positive David Attenborough has conceded that our future is bleak – aka on the brink of extinction – if sudden and complete change doesn’t happen right now.

At the time when Extinction Rebellion actions are increasing around the world, there’s a backlash in NSW – where, I remind you, we’re in almost 100% drought and on fire – under the Right to Farm bill, environmental activists can be fined to $22k and jailed for up to three years if they ‘hinder’ business. But if we don’t hinder business, how are we going to ever effect change?

The other day, a local doctor diagnosed a friend of mine with Climate Change Anxiety. The doctor has diagnosed four people this week. ‘Eco-anxiety’ is now a recognised mental health condition. Is it a mental health issue? Really? Or is it just that these are the first in a wave of people waking up from the climate change coma the rest of us are in ‘feeling fine’. Maybe we all need to experience the terror, the lack of a sense of future – and the despair – so that we’ll actually do something radical.

Action stations.  Big change is coming. It has to. If it doesn’t – we’re fucked. These are dangerous times and we need to be dangerous. We can start by planting one trillion trees (and watering them with our tears). Then, we bring down the government and create a new economy. You ready?


49 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: It’s the End of the World…”

  1. peter says:

    fire services love this because the more incompetent they are the more funding they get because people cannot understand burning off, read bryce courtney four fires from 20 years ago if u are able and all shall be revealed PS CO2 equals 0.04 % of atmosphere!!!!!!

  2. Barrow says:

    you should go work with Tim Flannery or Al Gore
    Both are experts at predicting end of earth global warming nonsense, regarding the fires and drought sad as it is , has been worse many times.
    History has a habit of repeating itself.. look at the Greens blaming the government for the fires.
    The fires rage because of dry fuel, the fuel arose
    After heavy rains caused greening of brush and scrub that dried out awaiting lightening or a careless spark to ignite . Adam Bland and the pixies he speaks for cannot guide us to a solution
    Because they are substantially the problem..ever see on the news ABC etc any Greens leaders or extinction rebellion members flying the flags on the front line fighting fires ?? “Do as i say not as i do “

    • Jak says:

      Mandy, You say it so well! Again. Such fierce and fine expression of multi faceted truth. May it be heard afar.
      Barrow, There have been hundreds of ‘greenies’ out there in the hills fighting fires for weeks, they make up the volunteer local fire brigades, defender groups and all members of the various communities on 24 hour rosters, putting out spot fires, cutting breaks and trails, protecting other people’s houses. The rest of them are cooking food for the evacuees and Firies, looking after other people’s kids, organising 24 hr rosters. They’re mostly greenies and they ALL know that these mega fires, fire storms, ember fires, rainforests on fire, crown fires, and dried up rivers, creeks and dams are part of a big, dangerous change in the climate. The Party’s Over, Humans. Now the real challenge and purpose of being a human being at this time offers great opportunity to… get it together?

  3. Bryce Douglas says:

    Like a Toad in a pot …. eventually…it starts boiling!

  4. Denis says:

    Mandy, CO2 is food for all plant life, on land and sea. An increase in CO2 will lead to the greening of the planet and enhance the growth of all crops.
    Grade 8 Biology.

    • Jak says:

      Pity you didn’t get beyond grade 8..

    • Peter Irvine says:

      Stopped at grade 8 did you Denis?
      You must have gotten into insects by then too, so I’m wondering, were you using your modern knowledge of the state of play when you state about CO2 enhancing the crops, did you take into probability that those crops will have to be self pollinating gene modified stuff?
      The decline in the insect world should be setting off alarm bells.
      But hey, I feel fine coffee plantation corporations have already been buying up cheap land in the path that climate change belt will provide the conditions, and bugger the slaves working for them where the belt moves from. they’ll feel fine.
      This is a complicated issue made more complicated by the art of denial. Where there is money to be made, there are crooks.

    • Matthew says:

      Thanks Denis I’ll write to the IPCC now and point that out. How stupid of all those thousands of scientists to have overlooked something so simple. Now we can relax and go back to burning coal

  5. Sitiwoh says:

    Brilliant article Mandy, yet again. It’s revealing how the two previous comments by climate change denialists illustrate your point so clearly. It’s definitely past time to move into climate action – but there is far more than resisting peacefully that can be done. This list, written by someone living in Mullum (https://medium.com/@drjsrenouf/thats-how-we-can-prepare-for-and-survive-climate-change-2c03c560bad4) provides a comprehensive, if humbling, number of possible actions.

    • Barrow says:

      What the hell is a climate change denialists??
      Are you a denialist if you dont believe in a religion?
      This Global Warming anxiety is out of control …
      Once again as usual! Since records began temperatures have fluctuated By by less than one degree..all you warmists just cant grasp this reality!! The northern hemisphere and the southern
      Hemisphere have had some of the coldest temperatures on record. Its Autumn in some countries and still snowing!! Can that be attributed
      To Global warming as well , thats what that incompetent Tim Flannery said when the opposite happened when his predictions , cant rule this oit as climate change was his response!! Please ..!!

      • Matthew says:

        how is it that the people who understand it the least, SHOUT THE LOUDEST DENIALS ??
        And Use Lots Of Exclamation Marks And Capital Letters Instead of Facts?

        • Barrow says:

          Mate move to china and make some noise there
          Iam sure you make the first minute unscathed
          China unlike Australia are not reaching peak
          Carbon emissions Until 2040 ..your knowledge on GLOBAL Warming is precisely what you want to
          Convey and believe , those beliefs are not the facts.

      • Stephen says:

        Yes that’s right. If you can’t understand it then it can’t be real. Oh! Look at the time. Sky at night is on. Off you go.

        • Barrow says:

          Oh look at the time , tic toc , how time Flys its
          2027 and the coalition are still in Government
          How did it come to this asks the ABC ?
          “Build a bridge and get over it “

      • Susannah Handran-Smith says:

        Dear Barrow,

        It’s much easier to be in denial because then you don’t have to face the scary reality that we could actually be on the brink of setting off a chain of events that will spiral out of control and ultimately lead to our extinction.

        It takes bravery and strength to face the awful truth that humanity is fast tracking ourselves towards annihilation.

        Money and denial won’t save us when the water dries up and the power grids fail and the air becomes too hot to breathe.

        18 of the past 19 years have been the hottest on record.

        But hey, 7 billion humans and their consumption of resources can’t have had any impact on our ecosphere.
        Let’s just bury our heads in the sand and pretend we aren’t causing theses problems. Much easier than facing the stark reality that we need to act and change and we need to do it now.

        Australia could be a world leader in renewable technology, storage and manufacture. If only our politicians could get their grubby hands out of fossil fuel payoffs and cushy jobs on the boards of fossil fuel companies when they ‘retire’ from politics.

        But let’s just stay in denial, because it’s easier, and if you’re over 50 probably won’t effect you too badly in your lifetime (just more severe droughts, fire, floods and storms.) Let’s let the next generation deal with our mess and get on with making a buck.

        It’s easier than facing the truth.

        • Barrow says:

          Dear Susannah ,
          If you seriously believe as a species we are doomed any time soon , may i suggest you stop
          Watching the ABC . As i have said on numerous occasions, since records began temperatures have fluctuated By by less than one degree. This is not
          A emergency as suggested by the alarmist ,
          Just relax. Take a deep breath.

  6. sel says:

    Mandy, there was, and still is, another, David Suzuki, who told us all this nearly 50 years ago. That was when we first started listening and acting on it, There is, in my opinion no God, typo. I’m afraid, please read Dog.

    I have in my studio an image of the Earth in space, the caption reads,”Ignore it and it will go away”, I’m more optomistic, When we go away it will get better slowly and of it’s own accord.

    There is also a saying, attributed to an old Indian somewhere,[or a sage old man/woman from somewhere], the gist of the message is. When the last fish is dead, and the last tree burned, we might realize that we can’t eat money, You might “trite”, but I think, “profound”.

    Call me Phil, most people who don’t know me seem to think that it is my name

    • robot says:

      John Butler also said: Man, can you eat your money, but could Butler eat his guitar?

    • robot says:

      But Butler doesn’t have to eat his guitar, he’s woth $12m, less a little to some grants. With that amount of money you can create an industry that employs a hundred people. With that amount of money I can eat oysters the rest of my life. Or smoke the best of pot. The choices we have hey, before they’re chosen for us. I don’t pretend to eat anything but money. Noone can say otherwise.

  7. Peter – Courtney was a novelist & novels are meant
    to stir up a reader’s grey matter. If the novelist does
    not do this by drawing the reader into the devised
    space so it reads realistically the manuscript won’t
    get published. Four Fires is just that. How is it that
    I know; I’m an editor & familiar with the works. And
    Barrow – why on earth are you looking for Rebellion
    people flying flags? Too many of them were out
    there fighting fires old son. Time to stop assuming
    & get back to reality’s truth. Mandy’s coined it so
    let’s admit it; a spade is a spade.

  8. Kenrick Riley says:

    Thanks Mandy. This old farmer has experienced enough drought and fire — and read enough peer reviewed papers — to know this is not any normal climate cycle. And I’m very grateful that most of the people doing splendid work fighting the Mt Nardi fire nearby are fellow “loony greenies”! After hearing some of the mad shouting from politicians recently, Extinction Rebellion is looking very appealing to me. I can’t grow food for my market customers at the moment. If the climate crisis isn’t addressed quickly, more farmers will follow suit. I hope the denialists can read enough history to know what chaos occurs during a famine?

  9. Nola Firth says:

    I am someone saved my home in Victoria during the Ash Wednesday fires and a long term member of the Bullengarook Country Fire Brigade. I am also a member of Extinction Rebellion and the Greens.
    Go Mandy! Yes I am ready.

  10. Raphael says:

    Quote from Greg Mullins former fire commissioner in above article.
    Warmer, drier conditions with higher fire danger are preventing agencies from conducting as much hazard reduction burning – it is often either too wet, or too dry and windy to burn safely. Blaming “greenies” for stopping these important measures is a familiar, populist, but basically untrue claim.

  11. Dennis Lavell says:

    why are there so many idiots in the world?

  12. tim shanasy says:

    Yes, climate change sure is bringing out more and more idiots.
    I had no idea how many idiots were out there until the 18th of May.
    They are genocide bombers, and appear to even be proud of it.
    Happy to send their grand children into a torturous end to a short lifespan, and take out countless other species with them.
    How good is that ? !!
    It’s horrifying for the few science thinkers, to watch on, as the idiots rule and party on, on this planetary Titanic.

  13. And for those who scoff at the Extinction Rebellion movement, how do they think the extinction processes occur?

    Look at at the effects of this current drought and fires. First plants and animal die as the drought conditions harden. Including many species whose populations were already low, in decline, even some listed as Vulnerable and Endangered. Then along comes these fires – the size and severity of which are UNPRECEDENTED. Koala habitat incinerated. Sizeable koala populations everywhere – Harrington, Port, Rappville, gone or reduced to a few starving survivals. Many threatened rainforest plants, fire sensitive, with restricted distribution and already reduced to a handful of precious remnants protected in National Parks and Nature Reserves. Gone. Assumed to be safe in rainforests that would never burn. Changed forever. Arboreal mammals and large forest owls – a veritable zoo of threatened species. Their north coast stronghold was around Chaelundi. Completely cooked bare and totally obliterated by the Liberation Trail Fire. Everything gone.

    Any survivors anywhere will still need food and water. There’s none. Any remaining seed banks remaining need urgent rain to germinate or their potential recovery will disappear in dessication. If it does rain ash will fill watercourses, depleting oxygen increasing turbidity, and depleting all aquatic life including our many threatened frog and fish populations. If they persist, these wildlife populations of numerous species are now so low that they may never recover.

    And some will still write in to these pages mocking every concern.

    And this is just one spring of our new changed climate.

  14. LORNA KEY says:

    Thank you Mandy for such an excellent read. In 1965, age 14, my friends and I discussed these issues over lunch at high school!!

  15. Fiona says:

    Get up stand up, stand up for our rights… our right to breathe clean air, drink pure water, grow healthy food, raise children on a stable planet. Great article Mandy, bring it on!

  16. Jenni says:

    Thankyou Mandy for saying what many of us are thinking.
    Dr Martin Shaw says he refuses to believe that the human story will end this way.
    As a storyteller, I believe in magic, yet I have a healthy respect for science and physics, so I find it hard to see how this convergence of environmental and political Sometimes I feel like a deer in the headlights. Doing the mundane tasks of life seems so irrelevant, if its not taking radical action- yet how will I do that? Extinction Rebellion originated in the UK, after a call to action made by about one hundred academics. I completely resonate with XR, yet so far I have not yet been involved- being focused on paying bills and keeping the wheels on our family bus….However I plan to be involved in the XR action in Lismore Friday, 29 November.
    I offer this quote I just stumbled upon which gives me heart. Then I will take a good drawdown on some ‘Hopium’ as Jim Tait calls it…the hope you cling to when things look pretty gloomy.

    “Aren’t we privileged to live in a time when everything is at stake, and when our efforts make a difference in the eternal contest between the forces of light and shadow, between togetherness and division, between justice and exploitation? Oh, be joyful that you are a warrior in this great time! “Will we rise to this battle? If so, we cannot lose, for rising up to it is our victory . . . If we represent love in the world, you see, we have already won.”
    DORIS HADDOCK – “GRANNY D”
    from her 93rd birthday speech

  17. Anton says:

    Do some research Mandy, the CO2 global warming myth was devised by the Club of Rome in the 1960’s .
    The Club of Rome in association with the UN needed a mechanism to scare humanity into accepting global governance and global warming “”fitted the bill”. The Australian Greens have a policy on global governance
    look it up for your self.

    • Stephen says:

      The chemtrails have poisoned your thinking Anton. That’s just what the giant alien lizards who run the place want you to think.

    • Joachim says:

      It didn’t take long that The Climate Emergency is an international conspiracy to be put out there again. But hey, who cares what Science has to say.

  18. Bruce McQueen says:

    Yeah Mandy – the first three comments here in response to your insights perfectly illustrate the homicidal/suicidal imbecility of modern human beings.
    The real pity is that the homo sapien death cult we are trapped in is going to destroy all other life as well. Why wouldn’t you weep.

  19. Christopher Chandler says:

    We enter the “end game “ era, but after a significant fall in world population the world will recover. This is the ending of the industrial era and it’s devastating results around the world. How many things will survive is unknown but we the collective parasite will be diminished.
    These fears I have harboured since the age of 6 when an educational drama group visited my primary school and demonstrated the pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
    The acceleration of industry and technology along with population growth in a capitalist society has provided vast enjoyment in the short term, but disastrous results for the near future. All this “stuff “ will be our demise and the cleaning up will be left to children of the survivors.
    I am no longer terrified in the sense that I am no longer horrified by North American school shootings. I am dumbfounded by our stupidity whilst amazed by our technology.
    I think the natural world will reset the imbalance we have caused or the planet will become like all the other planets in our known universe.

  20. John Macleay says:

    The comments from the trolls sound like they come from the talking points of a Minerals Council press release. If anything, their response proves Mandy Nolan correct!

    Love your work!

  21. b - rad says:

    Tipping point ? Years ago.
    It’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain optimistic for the future of the human race – looks like a race against time now.
    Perhaps the Earth is going to shake its human parasites off her back.
    Civilisation appears a failed experiment.

  22. Marion says:

    Well written Mandy. I too, am astounded at the number of ignorant people there are out there. How will swe ever overcome this crisis with those attitudes abounding? My grandfather used to tell me the climate was changing. He died in 1948!

  23. Jarrah says:

    Nov 29th CLIMATE STRIKE
    let’s do this thing !!!!
    bring your passion

  24. dennis lavell says:

    Dear barrow, I think we are talking about different idiots.

  25. Geoffrey says:

    Option one and two: follow the climate doomsdayers like Mandy, or the climate change deniers, down the endless rabbit-holes of endless confirmation bias . Or option three read inspiring books like Drawdown by Paul Hawken, or Climate; a new story by Charles Eisenstein, drop the doom and gloom attitude and get on with heeding the call of the Earth to do some of the countless things about climate change. If you do that, you will understand the many calls for hope.

  26. robot says:

    It would be silly to deny a rise in carbon dioxide levels, given the nature of human technology, tho the levels are prone to miscalculation. At 0.03% 35 years ago to now maybe 0.04% or also 0.05%, the question still rises where those measurements are taken, at what level of atmosphere and where in the world. The greenhouse effect, established science since the 1950s, mainly takes effect in the upper atmosphere, hence its name. Given an industrial revolution, one would expect a rise, and also in carbon monoxide. The question is the solution. Many claim we have it already and for households this is somewhat right if we cut back on power usage. Homes in India would be happy to have any power at all. As the environmentalists know this wouldn’t make a dot of difference. Planeflight, shipping, and cars would all have to be drastically reduced, meaning deterrent taxes, and as the UN has pointed out, more taxes on meat. They bide their time as the forces of anarchy accrue. Have we heard the end of the plastic straws campaign? Maybe, just the latest in the 100-year war, to be added to as the political climate allows, incremental bit by bit. Oh, the UN Singapore meeting went mostly unnoticed. But there’s one every year; they claim to have just 80 staff, but that’s before administration. And the world ngo’s like to be present, the press, interested onlookers. They’re not decided on 2020.

  27. robot says:

    I withdraw my remarks. It’s not worth disagreeing with a mob of religious overlords. [email protected]#$s. What did the racial discrimination act of 75 prove? And the 18C addition of Keating? Or the human rights commission act of 84? That choice amounts to no more than what is chosen for you. I would have once affiliated with some of the political correctness books, at robot school, politeness is better than rudeness under most circumstances. Mandilion obviously reads different books. In fact, paper is a climate change problem, n’est par?

  28. stephen draper says:

    Ok,
    Can we just agree on some of the tenets that may just re-frame the co2 going up or down discourse..
    Over consumption is killing us…..literally.
    Heavy pollution in many densified regions of the world is killing us…
    In AUS a lack of a strong & robust framework in an active E.T.S….Now…makes us a mockery
    90 of worlds biggest Oil, coal & gas companies produce approx 70% of WORLDS greenhouse gas emissions.
    In the U.S. 70% of ALL petroleum used is by various transportation. [Industry 25%]
    This year we have 19.5 million registered vehicles in AUSTRALIA.
    Distilling this…
    Try buy less junk we don’t need, don’t but from far away [transport]; & walk /ride if humanly possible around towns. Recycle where possible. Educate with our kids…Or have them educate us….
    Think…Do I really need this widget?…
    A failed Government that’s main metrics only care for consumption > is not beneficial for our longevity….
    At the next election get up to speed on policy [amongst the quagmire] & make a best informed vote……

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