Australia, the world, and the sysem
Oh good. Someone writing about Australia… Don’t panic. It’s really about the world and what we do next. Better? Well, tough…
OK, so this is the second of the things I am ‘starting’ the year with. Like yesterday’s (and – probably – tomorrow’s), this is on here not because it’s the correct space for it but because I am not sure I have anywhere else sensible to put it.
Equally, as with yesterday’s, please feel free to share it, wherever you like.
So it’s not just going to be about Australia. But that’s because what is happening now is not just about Australia…
Now, some of you may have noticed that Australia is on fire. Very, very on fire. Lots of it, in almost every part of the country. In fact, ironically, everywhere which is wet enough for things to grow has experienced at least some fire.
These fires broke out some three months ago, and despite slightly lower temperatures and a small amount of rain in some areas in the last two days, continue at astonishing and terrifying intensity.
They also, in a number of ways, represent the challenge we all face in the coming months and years due to climate change, including highlighting its causes.
So far, estimates suggest that more than a billion animals have been killed, on a landmass which, although it is roughly the size of Europe, contains large stretches where little animal life thrives, and which is home to many species – indeed a large proportion of its native species – which exist only there. In New South Wales’ mid-north coast, for example, a third of the koala population has been destroyed.
Combined with the likelihood that the effective clearance of land and resultant difficulty many creatures will have returning to the areas in which they previously thrived (for example, it is believed deer species will take over land once inhabited largely by smaller creatures, leaving the latter unable to properly recover), the fires are, in microcosm, a preview of the devastation we can expect if we do not take emergency action to prevent further global warming.
They are a warning of the ecological devastation we are facing in almost all parts of the world. In fact, more worryingly, they are probably a significantly diluted version of that.
Simultaneously, we shouldn’t forget that, though again on a far smaller scale, the Australian fires – and those in the Amazon and elsewhere – are themselves contributing to carbon emissions, making it even more likely that we shall see even swifter temperature rises not only in Australia and Brazil, but all over the world. This will not result in fires everywhere – Indonesia suffered unusually enormous and devastating floods over the ‘festive period’, while the UK has, for the ninth year in the last 15, suffered ‘once in a century’ floods: less devastating in terms of deaths than the Asian floods, but no less concerning from a global perspective.
Again, the Australian and Amazonian fires are unlikely to be anything like as serious in global terms as the levels of carbon being released as tundra and sea ice melt to Australia’s south and thousands of miles to its north, but they are another preview, in miniature, of what we can expect: a reminder – perhaps our final warning – that we are now not in absolute control of what happens next, that rising temperatures are likely to generate increasingly greater and faster increases in global temperature, and, once again, that we live on a planet: what people do, and what happens as a result, in one place, will affect and impact every living thing on Earth.
This is also a stark reminder that human lives will be lost – and many millions, probably billions, enormously and negatively changed – if we do not act fast, and change our attitude to almost every part of international societal and political interaction. We will, of course, come back to this.
Before that, however, we should take a look at the causes of the problem: who is to blame?
The simple, and upsetting, answer, is ‘all of us’.
But there is another answer, just as accurate, which is ‘some more than others’. Once again, for an example of how this works, we can look to Australia.
Since the fires broke out, as a result of climate change some states – including the US – refuse to even recognise fully any longer, and others, including almost everyone else, are simply failing to act on with the urgency the threat demands, it has been pretty clear that the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, whose land was effectively stolen when the UK and a few other states decided it would be nice to see some (let’s be honest, rather too much) sunshine, have not really been the leading contributors to emissions in Australia.
Now, we shouldn’t pretend that this is somehow because the Aboriginal people of Australia are ‘better’ than other people there – at least not in terms of the environment.
Those Aboriginal people who live in Australian cities would probably use the same amount of plastic, energy, and other things as anyone else, but have been denied that opportunity: the irony is that now, they effectively get to say ‘wasn’t us, mate’. Outside of the cities, meanwhile, the traditional Aboriginal practices continue, and contribute zero – in some cases a negative amount – to carbon emissions and climate change.
The same is, of course, true of the globe. While the largest proportion of carbon emissions can be traced to fewer than 50 extraordinarily wealthy individuals, most of them in the West (though also in China and the Middle East) entire countries from Argentina to Ethiopia contribute less than one per cent of the world’s total.
This is not a call for everyone to live like Sudanese animal herders (of course, ironically, animal farming in the West, and our consumption of meat, is one of the major contributors to climate change globally), and nor is it to pretend that sub-Saharan African, Australian Aborigines, and the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego are somehow naturally ‘nobler’ or better than anyone else. It’s just to point out that they can hardly be held responsible for the disaster we currently face, even as they are already beginning to be among the most harshly affected by it.
Back to Australia. There have been claims that ‘Greens’ (who are in power in absolutely no part of Australia) had prevented ‘burn-backs’, a technique use by Aboriginal people and some settlers to reduce the likelihood of fires spreading. This claim has been debunked by Australian fire chiefs who today noted that burn-backs have been carried out, but that the ‘fire season’ is now so long that it is increasingly difficult to perform enough burn-backs sufficiently ahead of the wildfires beginning.
So if the ‘Greens’ are not at fault, then who? For now, we are going to skip through the populations of Australia’s (and yes, the world’s – that’s how this works) major cities, who are to a greater or lesser extent controllers of their own destinies but are all individually responsible for their part of the second largest cause of climate change (relentless consumption).
We are even going to skip some of those who have got rich from the world’s largest cause of climate change – relentless production, for no reason other than money.
We will come back to them both, but for now, because they are relevant everywhere, but especially relevant to Australia right now, we are going to note those who are in fact carrying the greatest responsibility: those who make the law, and those who push those who make it.
The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a useful person to take a glance at. His response to the largest fires in recorded Australian history has been absolutely woeful, including leaving the country to go on holiday in Honolulu just as a diabolical situation became horrific, then returning only reluctantly and forcing himself on men, women and children who have spent much of the last three weeks correctly (and hilariously. Admit it, it is) telling him on camera to fuck off.
At this point it might be worth noting that other world leaders have an odd habit of sloping off on holiday at inappropriate times. Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, who seemed to have been on holiday for five and a half of the six weeks of the campaign for an election he called, then spent roughly seven hours in Parliament before leaving the UK for a holiday which cost (literally) several thousand pounds more than the average UK wage.
He failed to return even when US President Donald Trump, who himself has managed to spend more time on the golf course in the last three years than any other President in the last 120 years has managed to spend on holiday throughout their entire term in office, staged the extra-judicial murder of a leading member of the Iranian military and government (more on this tomorrow, ‘thing’ fans).
Anyway, long story short, no-one in their right minds thinks politicians should never have a holiday (though some people appear to think they should live in caves and only consume bread and water. Plato, for what it’s worth, said the best form of government was for a philosopher king to live in a cave and representatives of the city to come and ask him what they should do. Plato, of course, was a philosopher who lived in a cave just outside Athens) but Johnson has done himself few favours in the eyes of most people by absenting himself after an extraordinarily divisive election he called, and not even showing himself on TV when an actual murder was carried out by the UK’s supposed closest ally (according to, um, Johnson).
For Johnson, read ‘Morrison’, in spades. Because Morrison did not only go on holiday in the middle of a spectacular disaster (which Johnson at least managed to avoid) and then come back only after showing extreme reluctance to do so. He also managed to annoy everyone even more when he visited them (which, in fairness, Johnson did manage to do while visiting flood victims in the UK during the election campaign) AND when faced with questioning about the causes of the fires – fires which were literally caused by climate change – said it was ‘inappropriate’ to talk about climate change.
So, here’s why it’s appropriate to talk about climate change: 1) because almost every scientist on the planet – including every climate expert – is agreed that the current extraordinary increase in global average temperatures we are experiencing began with the UK’s industrial revolution (closely followed by many other states) in the 18th century and has continued as an increasing number of states entered the ‘industrial age’.
2) because these fires – the largest ever recorded in Australia – are in large part the direct result of that increase in temperature. In short, the cause of the fires is climate change. It is hard to see anything more appropriate to talk about.
The point is made even clearer by the fact that two separate reports, issued in 2007 and 2008 respectively, predicted exactly this level of fire across Australia, within 15 years, if the global average temperature raised by 0.5-1°C within that time (we are at roughly 0.8° across the planet as a whole).
Morrison’s response to those reports? He campaigned for more coal burning power stations.
And here’s an interesting thing. Like Trump, who campaigns for coal as well, and Johnson, who oscillates between backing gas burning, fracking (which delivers gas to be burnt) and nuclear power, Morrison is massively in favour of coal, and in wild denial about climate change.
This is particularly diverting because it’s very easy to point to the enormous (and it really is unbelievably huge) amounts of money fired at governments by carbon-burning power industries and the gigantic nuclear lobby and conclude that there’s corruption happening. This seems even more likely when one notes that Morrison went to the comical lengths of carrying a piece of coal into parliament with him (Johnson has only not done the equivalent because it is against parliamentary rules to enter the Commons scattering shards of uranium and shooting contaminated water around the House from a water-cannon no longer safe to use).
But in fact the reality is likely to be slightly different. Because while there is far too much coal, oil, gas and nuclear cash sloshing around the houses of all our parliaments, and rather too many of our politicians accepting expensive drinks, expensive dinners, and eye-wateringly overpaid jobs with firms who benefit from government handing contracts to carbon burners and nuclear power operators (only after they have retired from politics though, so of course there’s nothing at all to worry about there), there is another, really quite important factor to consider.
In the olden days (1996-2000, olden times fans) I studied Politics and Modern International Relations.
Oddly, at that time, it was very widely known – to the extent that we were allowed as undergraduates to study the topic ourselves and come to our own conclusions – that it is effectively impossible to simultaneously be an environmentalist and a capitalist.
Now. Maybe it’s because of Zac Goldsmith, who has in the last 20 years of pretending to be an environmentalist capitalist achieved literally nothing at all, or Richard Branson, who in roughly 40 years of claiming to be an environmentalist has managed to run a chain of record stores, buy an actual island, take over bits of the NHS (which is of course not being sold off by the Tories. Absolutely not) and run them for his own personal profit, own a privatised rail firm, crash hot air balloons into almost every sea on Earth and – astonishingly – run an actual airline, but literally nothing at all to benefit the environment, but for some reason we seem to be asking one another ‘so why is the climate now a political issue? It’s a matter of science, surely’.
Yes. It’s a matter of science. But for right-wingers, it’s also a political issue. Because combating climate change requires global cooperation at all levels. Capitalism, whether global or otherwise, requires unfettered competition at all levels.
Combatting climate change requires laws. Capitalism, particularly neo-liberalism which requires absolute deregulation of markets and believes in the ‘invisible hand’ of the market, which will ‘guide us to greater wealth and achievement’ in much the same way as religious people believe God will deliver for them (actually, it’s worse: at least religious people tell one another stories like the ‘three boats’ – you’ll have to look that one up), abhors laws which would prevent people – and the ‘invisible hand’ – doing whatever they want.
And the thing is, this is important. Because earlier we skipped over the people who consume, who are cumulatively the second-biggest cause of climate change, and the people who produce, for profit. And they are important.
Because one of the buzz-terms of the last 20 years (globally. 30 years in the UK because we, as noted yesterday, started the deranged perma-fail of neo-liberalism) is ‘ethical consumerism’.
And ethical consumerism – only buying stuff you are sure will not cause harm to some person, or some part of the environment – has three major problems. One, it has seldom actually worked – and NEVER when not combined with a clear and open message, most effectively delivered by street protest and demonstrations, which is not really ‘ethical consumerism’ making a difference, but street protests and demonstrations forcing change.
Two, because in any case, it is effectively open only to those who can afford it. If, for example, it was revealed tomorrow that the nine cheapest clothing retailers set fire to whales to light their factories, while powering their sewing machines with coal-powered steam-driven mechanisms, many people might be able to afford to stop buying their products.
But some people would not. The idea of ‘ethical consumerism’, the roots of which lie in Thatcher’s effort to replace political activism with ‘consumer power’, is fundamentally flawed because it effectively denies you the right to (attempt to) ‘make a difference’ if you do not earn above a certain amount of money, and because, directly linked to that, it means no company needs to take very much notice, because they have an effective captive audience.
The third problem with ethical consumerism is that in fact, although every single individual on Earth DOES need to make every effort to reduce their impact on the environment, starting with flying less (we shall come back to this) and eating much less meat, but including consuming less of absolutely everything, that would not be enough to save human civilisation.
We need big businesses – and smaller ones – to act, and act now, or we face genuine catastrophe. And those businesses have proven time and again that they are unwilling to do so.
This is not even a criticism, surviving in a capitalist system requires one to put aside all considerations other than making as much profit as possible in the shortest possible time.
But what this means is that we urgently require governments to act, with global laws penalising businesses everywhere which fail to adhere to certain standards and activities. Capitalism in general, and neo-liberalism in particular simply cannot abide the idea of regulation: it is literally the opposite of its model and ambition. Capitalism simply cannot deliver what we need to avert global catastrophe.
In fact, it’s worse. Because not only will capitalism not regulate the market, it actively requires that market to grow, that is, we must consume not less – which we all must do – but MORE. George Monbiot is the most recent (though by no means the only) person to note that the current World Bank and IMF models demand the global economy to grow by three per cent year-on-year, every year.
Under that model, we would in 24 years, have to be pulling out of the ground, producing and consuming twice as much as we do now. It is unsustainable, it is harmful and it will result in the likely deaths of millions of people.
And so this is the point. There is almost certainly corruption – legal or otherwise – involved in Johnson’s desire for fracking and nuclear energy, in Trump’s wish for coal, and in Morrison’s seeming physical attraction to it. But there is something deeper, underlying every move made by those politicians.
Capitalism cannot deliver environmental protection. Certainly not at the level we need. And so, to save the system, the only option for the politicians who promote it and the business owners who profit from it – both of whom must convince us that it is the best of all possible systems because otherwise some of us might start asking why we do all the work and other people get all the cash – is to make it a political issue. To claim that climate change is a lie. That it has been made up, probably for money. That it is nothing to worry about. Not exactly to shore up ‘big coal’ or the never-efficient, always expensive nuclear industry (since the UK literally gave its nuclear industry away to private owners, because it couldn’t sell it, it has had to bail it out four times), but to keep capitalism in action.
And once we have denied climate change, of course the US and Australia, which still have masses of coal, will start promoting coal. Because it’s good for business.
Now, at this point, we should talk about the leader of another state which has in recent months seen enormous forest fires, Bolsonaro. Because Brazil’s proto-fascist is widely regarded as having little in common with free marketeers such as Morrison, Johnson and Trump (though in fact this does the latter two, at least, rather too many favours).
But Bolsonaro, too, is a right-winger. Regardless of how few lunatic ideas about religion, race or society they share with one another (and it’s actually worryingly more than you’d like to think) they share the idea that capitalism, the market-place, a light-touch system guided by the ‘invisible hand’ is the best possible way for humanity to exist.
And, as in Australia, Brazil’s leader refused to countenance the idea that climate change has had any part to play. His brand of political lunacy allowed him to attempt to make this a national, rather than the global issue it is (‘What happens in Brazil is Brazil’s business alone,’ he said, wrongly) but the underlying message was the same: this is not about climate change, and it is wrong for us to discuss it.
In fact, capitalism’s part in Australia’s disaster, as in those in many other places, goes beyond being simply an ‘underlying’ cause. Because one reason the fires have been so devastating is that the Australian government has sold off many of the waterways and surrounding ‘wetlands’ (often simply meadows) which would previously have been used to try to quell some blazes. This was not done to reduce debt, but with a clear eye on the ‘bottom line’ – as much cash as possible.
So, as in the UK, where governments have sold water-meadows – natural floodplains – to be built on, leading to increased flooding across the country, so Australia’s neo-liberals have sold off some of Australia’s natural defences, making a terrible situation far worse, for nothing other than cold hard profit: capitalism at its bloodiest.
Simultaneously, it has been noted elsewhere that many of the men and women fighting the fires are volunteers, and that those who are unemployed have had their social security payments stopped because they have not been able to prove they are looking for work. I cannot even level this one at capitalism (though in fact the stopping of social security payments on the slightest, most ridiculous, pretext is common also in the UK) but to fine firefighters while they battle the worst blazes ever seen in your country is one of the most incredible things imaginable.
But we have mentioned capitalism at its bloodiest, and this is not an accident. Because to date, 25 people have been killed as a result of Australia’s fires. Many thousands more have been impacted because their homes have burnt to the ground. Four thousand people were internally displaced on New Year’s Eve alone, and we must bear in mind that if these fires continue, that displacement will increase, and may well force people to leave their country altogether.
We are already seeing across the world that increasingly erratic rainfall and higher temperatures are causing traditional crops to fail, causing hunger and in some cases drought, and once again, the displacement in Australia is a mirror of what we are already seeing elsewhere, and a ‘miniature’ version of what we can expect going forward.
Now, maybe not very many people know this, but Article 25 of UN Declaration of Human Rights states that: ‘everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and welfare of (the)mself and of (their) family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond (their) control.’
This was signed and came into operation in 1948.
The reason I bring this up, some 72 years later is that we have absolutely failed to deliver on this. All over the world, men, women and children are dying of hunger, of thirst, of exposure, of easily-treatable diseases. From lack, fundamentally, of money.
The idea that they should not is not just something we should hope for or aim towards, it is their – and our – fundamental right as human beings. We have had 72 years to deliver this, and we have failed. Abjectly. Unforgivably.
And it’s important here because we are already seeing people fleeing their homelands because of climate change. This is no longer solely a matter of cash (as disgusting as the fact that people are literally dying because of the existence of money actually is) but a matter of increasingly impossible conditions in which to produce food, or access water.
The phrase ‘climate refugee’ is increasingly discussed and debated, alongside the question of whether or not we should ‘update’ the definition of what a refugee is. It’s a subject I have been engaged with since discovering that people in Tanzania, traditionally a relatively stable African state, are being forced from their land by climate change. That one cause of the Syrian war was not exactly climate change itself but that Assad failed so miserably to respond to the increased joblessness and poverty – as well as the increased populations of Syria’s major cities, driven by the longest drought in 5,000 years of recorded history of the ‘fertile crescent’.
But it’s also simple. Look at Article 25 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Anyone denied this internationally-agreed human right where they are, whether by lack of cash or change to the climate, is absolutely entitled to go anywhere else they need to, to exercise this right.
The question should not be ‘should we update the definition of refugee to include those forced away by the climate?’ (just as many in Australia have been forced from their homes) but why the hell has the definition of the term ‘refugee’ excluded so many billions of people denied this fundamental human right, for so many decades?
Now. It’s traditional, at moments like this, to explain what we should do.
So, here goes.
First, we need to effectively dismantle the capitalist system.
Now, I am not advocating the end of all trade, or all interactivity: trade has been a driver of human interaction since before capitalism existed, and we certainly need to interact and cooperate now more, arguably, than we ever have, but capitalism has led us here and it is not equipped to deliver us from the catastrophe we face.
And we really are on the brink of a catastrophe, of which Australia is a mere hint. The world will not end, but human civilisation as we know it almost certainly shall, if even a small amount of what climate experts and scientists in general tell us is true (and Australia, as well as states like Tanzania and others, are already proving them right) and capitalism simply cannot help us. We have to act now, and act decisively.
The first step towards this is to remove all barriers to global cooperation. We need a system in which we work together to prevent the worst of what we are now facing, and capitalism’s basic need for competition is a major barrier to this. Its hatred of regulation is another – and also an obstacle to us acting decisively to prevent businesses and their owners risking all our lives by risking the destruction of the environment we share and rely on, in the name of profit.
Once again, we need not blame these businesses or their owners: they are acting exactly as capitalism demands they do; indeed, as the system demands them to. But this means we must end that system: that we have outgrown capitalism not because we are too clever for it, but because if we do not leave it now, we may never become any cleverer.
Another major obstacle to both global cooperation and the worldwide unilateral action we need to take is Brexit and its ‘sister’ nationalist and isolationist movements. For the purposes of this conversation, it does not matter whether or not I accept that the UK could ‘go it alone’ successfully under other circumstances, and I do accept at least that it’s probably a very comforting thought for some people, but under the circumstances we are in, isolationism and nationalist refusal to interact (Trump’s US is another major exponent of this) literally risks all of our lives. We have to set it aside, immediately. Australia must be our wake-up call.
Now, I understand that for some of you, what I am about to say will be too much to swallow all at once. That’s OK. I do get it. To you I just ask that you get out there and help deliver the things already mentioned: the regulation, laws, cooperation and global interaction we need to avert the catastrophe we face. You – all of us – literally have the chance to save the world. Please, join us, and do it quickly. You can come back and consider the next bit later.
But the last major obstacle to global cooperation, and the last major cause of climate change, is money.
Although there is literally no evidence from any place at any moment in history that barter was the main means of exchange and interaction between people, I can accept that money was at one point a useful idea: a token of value that could be exchanged for goods or services.
But the rise of capitalism, of mercantilism, of the idea that amassing money was the same as increasing power, that wealth was in and of itself mark of one’s value in and to society, is destroying our world, and has for far too long been an obstacle to almost everything we need most as a species.
It was money which caused the starvation of Ethiopian men, women and children in the 1980s, when every Western state had enormous food surpluses (this is literally true: it was considered to cost too much to immediately fly food to the state, as it was cheaper simply to dump it: money was literally the cause of the completely avoidable, unnecessary death of thousands of men, women and children).
It is money which forces people from their homes because they cannot purchase food, water, clothes, shelter, medicine, causing deaths in deserts, at sea, on mountains, in refugee camps.
It is money which drives climate change, by encouraging the US and Australia to promote coal, Iran and Qatar to promote gas, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and others to push oil, even though the burning of all is destroying the planet.
Article 25 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights is literally blocked – has been for more than seven decades – by the existence of money: it is the literal right of all people on this planet to have enough to eat, to drink, to have clothing, shelter, medicine: money and its wildly unequal distribution means this never has been and never will be achieved.
In another context – if we were not faced with climate catastrophe – we could simply solve the problem by simply providing everyone with enough of all of those things; removing money from all aspects of food, water, medicine, shelter and clothing provision.
But that is not the context we are in. We face global disaster, and for as long as money is the problem – and it is, now – it must be removed.
To do so will enable us to ensure that no-one ever needs to starve again on a planet which has never once produced too little for every person upon it. It will enable us to address properly the real refugee issue we must all address immediately – both by reducing the number of people driven from their homes by inability to access necessities, and reducing the number of people who need to flee their homes because of the impacts of climate change.
Because the removal of money does not mean that no trade happens, or no interaction.
I mentioned above that reducing flights is one vital way in which we can (and at present probably must) reduce our carbon impact is by drastically cutting (preferably to zero) all international flights.
This, and suggestions like it, can sometimes seem like they are being suggested by people who wish to return to the Mediaeval era. I can assure you I do not. I believe that affordable, swift travel between countries is of immense benefit to every member of the human race (though it is certainly not, at present, available to every single member of the human race).
But aircraft as they exist at present are a major driver of climate catastrophe. However, one reason for this is that air travel makes a profit. It is not really cost-effective to change it drastically (far less end it outright) because that profit would end. If we were to remove money from the equation, a major block on the effective and swift development of non-destructive air (and other) travel would be removed.
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but so far it has not moved us fast enough to where we need to be. Perhaps, to stretch the metaphor to breaking point, if we were to remove the evil uncle from the living room, where he whispers ‘why bother? Things are going good!’ we would discover that necessity would once more help us deliver what we need.
The same thing goes for electricity. We should not need to ‘reduce’ what we use. We have to because, driven by money and a need to defend a system from attack, we are still producing electricity in a way which threatens all our lives.
And a money-free system can deal with that at the base-point, because it just so happens that nations which are already too hot, or dry (or both) to produce the food they need (Niger is a good example: without oil and/or gas money, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE would also struggle) are perfectly positioned to supply energy from the most renewable resource we have – the sun. In exchange for power, they will receive the food they need. Similarly, wind and water can produce power.
For far too long the argument against producing energy from renewable resources has been ‘it’s too expensive’ (a shocking statement when used by the nuclear industry – renewables have dropped in price by roughly 90 per cent since 1965: nuclear energy is as expensive and in some cases more expensive than in 1955), but once money is literally no object, under a system in which we are working together to avert disaster on several different levels, this is no longer a barrier.
This sounds like a radical plan.
It IS a radical plan.
But it’s necessary, it’s achievable, and most importantly, it will put us in a better place than we are in now, where the world’s fifth-richest state pretends it’s necessary for people to receive charity food hand-outs, where men, women and children are drowning in seas they should never have needed to cross, where Australia and other parts of the world are literally on fire or under water, and where global catastrophe stalks us all.
Australia is a wake-up call. It’s time to wake up. If we do, the day can still be enjoyed.