So since my last post I’ve driven through a locust plague. I could feel them crunch under the wheels of my car as I drove along. They rose in clattering clouds along the road sides and slammed into my windshield so they cast locusty shadows on the dashboard. Sometimes they bounced up over the roof with a dry clackety clack. I thought, sometimes, I could almost see the panic in their beady eyes as they careened toward me. As I peeled some of their bodies off the bonnet of my car, I thought their brown and yellow stripes beautiful. That was December and Christmas. It was an experience. And for some farmers the plague has been bad news for crops. But this post is not about December. It’s not even really about me. It’s about January.
January is about change. It’s named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings and all the changes in between. This is about how January 2011 is changing the world. At the moment Queensland is changing due to the phenomenal force of water. Rivers are flooding due to huge amounts of rain. King tides are pushing the water from the swollen rivers back on themselves. The La Nina system plus a whirlpool off the coast are adding to a super storm cell delivering what some are calling the “biggest wet since 1974”, which resulted in what has been styled an insland tsunami. People have died. Animals have died. Homes and businesses have been washed away. Thousands are homeless or stranded or in shelters awaiting to find out if they’re homeless. Towns have disappeared, the capital, Brisbane is a brown, polluted lake of ruins. They are some big changes.
For people like myself, safe 1500km away, the price of vegetables, fruit, and meat will rise, as Queensland is like a breadbasket. It’s tropical climate provides foods at the times the rest of temperate Australia can’t. Ethanol production is affected so fuel prices will rise. On a global scale, some pundits say the price of steel will double as a result. There will be an inflation spike in Asia. The Queensland coal industry is stalled affecting electricity generation and costs. Sales and transcations involvings international companies will be delayed. The value of the Australian Dollar has dropped, which has implications for imports and exports, inflation and interest rates here, which are also connected to employment figures. Compared to much of the world Australia’s economy is enviable, but it will have to absorb a big wet shock.
Complicating issues – the wet season is not even really started yet in Queensland. And right now, in WA, bushfires have destroyed homes and a cyclone is building in the far north. This comes after floods in WA, Vic, SA and in Qld in December.
What Janus has showed us during this time of change, is how the world is a closed system and all our human endeavors within this world are linked and how we’re dependent and linked to this fragile powerful changing Earth. How much it rains in Queensland affects the world.
So my thoughts are with those enduring this evolving crisis. If you stumble across this blog, please consider helping in some small way. Investigate the Qld Premier’s Appeal Fund, or Qld RSPCA to help the many pets, the livestock and wildlife affected.
In addition, it’s also the anniversary of the Haitian earthquake. Haiti, compared to Australia, has extremely limited resources and people are still living in tents. It’s a developing nation and all the more vulnerable for it. So if you think Australia will cope without a token gesture of support, you’re probably right. But Haiti can’t.