每日英語跟讀 Ep.821: The End of Australia as We Know It
In a country where there has always been more space than people, where the land and wildlife are cherished like a Picasso, nature is closing in. Fueled by climate change and the world’s refusal to address it, the fires that have burned across Australia are not just destroying lives or turning forests as large as nations into ashen moonscapes.
They are also forcing Australians to imagine an entirely new way of life. When summer is feared. When air filters hum in homes that are bunkers, with kids kept indoors. When birdsong and the rustle of marsupials in the bush give way to an eerie, smoky silence.
“I am standing here a traveler from a new reality, a burning Australia,” Lynette Wallworth, an Australian filmmaker, told a crowd of international executives and politicians in Davos, Switzerland, last month. “What was feared and what was warned is no longer in our future, a topic for debate — it is here.”“We have seen,” she added, “the unfolding wings of climate change.”
Like the fires, it’s a metaphor that lingers. What many of us have witnessed this fire season does feel alive, like a monstrous gathering force threatening to devour what we hold most dear on a continent that will grow only hotter, drier and more flammable as global temperatures rise.
It’s also a hint of what may be coming to a town, city or country near you.
In a land usually associated with relaxed optimism, anxiety and trauma have taken hold. A recent Australia Institute survey found that 57% of Australians have been directly affected by the bush fires or their smoke. With officials in New South Wales announcing Thursday that heavy rain had helped them finally extinguish or control all the fires that have raged this Australian summer, the country seems to be reflecting and wondering what comes next.
Politics have been a focal point — one of frustration for most Australians. The conservative government is still playing down the role of climate change, despite polls showing public anger hitting feverish levels. And yet what’s emerging alongside public protest may prove more potent.
In interviews all over the fire zone since September, it’s been clear that Australians are reconsidering far more than energy and emissions. They are stumbling toward new ways of living: Housing, holiday travel, work, leisure, food and water are all being reconsidered.
“If there’s not a major shift that comes out of this, we’re doomed,” said Robyn Eckersley, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne who has written extensively about environmental policy around the world. “It does change everything — or it should.”
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/350561/web/