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Summer Rain

Writings of the week, or is it the month ...?

A pretty picture ... Australia's east coast summer rain, at first a relief, then bearable. But by early autumn it has created damage and destruction, fury and despair.

The extraordinary effects of flooding - in some parts of Queensland and the north coast of NSW the worst in living memory - have been repeated in many outer suburbs of Sydney from the Nepean to Picton and have also crept into the inner west, south and south-west.

One Queensland regional city mayor thinks it's just a once in a hundred years phenomenon. So, is he expecting mild sunshine and roses into the future?

What will it take for the message to sink in? That these catastrophic weather events are the result of climate change which needs to be addressed by federal, state and local governments through significant changes in planning, and implementing measures to mitigate flooding and other extreme weather.

Let's start with how we produce and use energy, and let's start here at home first - to take responsibility for our part of the world.

It's not only fishers and shooters who vote - but also thousands of people who are suffering, with houses, furniture, livestock and vehicles - from cars to farm machinery - washed down the rivers.

But we also vote: those of us who are witnessing this chaos from our safe and comfortable homes not yet affected by climate change. We can take action.

We have a chance within a couple of months at election time to make an initial change to government apathy. Let's use our legitimate voting power to voice our anger against our governments who have failed us, and show our empathy for those people who are already under siege from climate change.

C V Williams

Climate rules, OK?

Some said it would never rain again. I was inclined to agree.

Large tracts of Australia were drought-stricken, Sydney’s Warragamba dam was below 20% capacity and the paddocks on the rutted back road from Mudgee to Capertee had been reduced to ruddy tracts of bare earth, broken only by the straw-coloured stubble that once was pasture.

On the road that day in 2020, there was not a bird or an animal to be seen in a barren landscape that melted into the shimmering blue heat-haze shrouding the distant golden bluffs of the Gardens of Stone national park.

It was the time of El Niño. I had googled the southern oscillation index and decided that even if La Niña ever did return, it would be a brief hiatus before we were plunged back into the inevitable drought that humans have inflicted upon themselves by systematically trashing the environment.

I recalled my long summer holidays in the 1970s. Back then, it seemed as if it always rained on holidays. We used to sit it out in the rambling grey painted timber holiday rental on Ash Street at Terrigal, playing canasta until the sun broke through for long enough to make a quick dash to the surf. Some years it rained so much that other holidaying families would simply pack up and go home after becoming overwhelmed with boredom.

Those days were just memories as Sydney gasped for breath in the acrid smoke of the Black Summer bushfires of 2020. That year, all we wanted was a wet week.

And then, like a prodigal son, La Niña finally arrived and unleashed a river in the sky.

'I’m sick of the bloody rain. I wish it would stop,' a voice called from up the back of the 389 bus into the city.

Miserable as the weather has been this summer, I think back to the desperate dry country on the back road to Capertee and remind myself to never wish for that.

Robert Carrick

Some impressions on the gentler effects of the east coast rain in areas not yet affected by flooding:

Bedraggled magpies looking decidedly pissed off.

It rains for several minutes, stops, then starts up again for ten.

The lack of commitment to consistency is extremely annoying.

Cockatoos are freaking out, squawking and dive bombing each other.

The only birds seemingly unaffected are the loony lorikeets - summer's incontinent rain behaviour matches them to a tee.

Roslyn and Nathalie Lawson

Centennial Park rainbow lorikeets

Copyright: texts C V Williams; Robert Carrick; Roslyn Lawson and Nathalie Lawson. Photos: Wix, & Centennial Parklands.


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