It is bad enough that our rulers insist on pushing ahead on a course so disastrous that when a new report says human civilisation could end by 2050, you think “that’s optimistic” as you just saw another report saying the Arctic is melting so rapidly the scientists trying to measure it keep losing their tools, but, honestly, do they need to be so fucking smug about it?
“How good is Australia!,” leers our prime minister, a grown man known as “ScoMo”, who grins like a psychopath who has just caught a fresh victim in a B-grade horror flick.
Defying grammar and Amnesty International reports alike, this is a statement, not a question. Our rulers do not do anything as weak as “ask questions”. Questions are for the likes of latte sipping inner-city elites, or the heads of state of Pacific Island nations who have the temerity to interrupt Australian officials slapping each others’ backs to ask exactly how their people are meant to not drown.
No, this is Australia, where as ScoMo promises a “fair go for those who have a go”, so long, it seems, as you’re “having a go” at undermining the capacity of the planet to sustain life.
Take multinational Adani, that is having a red-hot go at decimating Australia’s water supplies in the name of “jobs” — all 100 of them. That is the sum total of the ongoing paying gigs on offer in Adani’s heavily automated Carmichael mine.
Never mind the tens of thousands of jobs in tourism it threatens, to say nothing of the endangered black-throated finch, whose response to the re-election of a proudly climate change-denying Coalition must have been a collective birdsong of “Oh, Jesus fuck”.
Luckily, this is still a democracy.
(I know, some are being alarmist about the AFP raids on media outlets but, as they say, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about the AFP coming with a warrant with the power to alter your data. Personally, I hope when they get to me they alter my documents to correct my drunken typos and save me a heap of time.)
The point is, in a democracy, you get an Opposition. Unfortunately, we get an Opposition that has concluded, after losing an unlosable election, that it was a fatal mistake to even raise the vague possibility that killing all life on Earth was a policy setting that, maybe, could slightly be adjusted in the direction of “Let’s do that a little less”.
Straight after their election loss, new Labor leader Anthony Albanese (a grown man known as “Albo”) offered his support for Adani — presumably because the quicker civilisation is destroyed the sooner the ALP can stop losing elections so humiliatingly.
At least the Coalition has the excuse that it is riddled with climate deniers. And, in fairness to them, you have to work really hard to deny climate change these days.
Hell, even the Pentagon is dealing with reality, with an ABC News article revealing it is “defying” the Trump administration, which has banned any mention of climate change by US government bodies, to protect its military bases from the impact of climate change.
Then again, maybe the Pentagon is just a bunch of hippies. Who are we going to trust, the snowflake social justice warriors of the US Department of Defense or the famously sensible, level-headed and, most of all, scientifically literate Donald J Trump?
Either way, there is some real irony. An empire based on controlling, exploiting and murdering for fossil fuels is now threatened by fossil fuels.
I’d laugh if it wasn’t for, you know, the fact we are all screwed.
In Australia, there is clearly no hope in looking to parliament for action. Even the Greens, as welcome as their recognition that we are in a climate emergency is, is not even close to what is needed. We aren’t going to be saved by one more proposed amendment to a motion in the Senate.
Hope lies, instead, in the growing rebellion of the global student strikes. Things are bleak, but we aren’t done yet and those with the most future to lose are not lying down. We might wipe away our rulers’ smug grins yet.