School Strike for Climate – Townsville

The School Strike movement – SS4C – is a remarkable phenomenon, having grown from one lone teenager’s action 15 months ago to a global action which brought millions onto the streets and parks of major cities and small towns alike on Friday 20th September. Media coverage has been good enough that I don’t feel I need to say more about that here.

We attended the Townsville rally, at Strand Park. I haven’t seen official figures but my estimate was around 500 people, which is encouraging for a community of 200 000 even though it can’t compare with the thousands in Melbourne and Sydney.

School Strike 4 Climate Townsville
The crowd at Strand Park

I was struck by how happy, peaceful and positive the whole event was, and by how inclusive. The age range was toddlers to grandparents, and I met people from all corners of my life, from extended family to sporting groups, political contacts, musical friends, teaching colleagues and (more predictably) community activists and volunteers.

Just for fun, I started collecting T-shirts midway through the event to record as much of the diversity as possible. Clicking on most of them will take you to websites for more information.

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AYCC got two guernseys because they earned them by leading the local event. Amnesty, on the other hand, missed out because the project didn’t occur to me early enough in the day; so did a couple of trade unions, the vegan group and (no doubt) others I didn’t even see. Sorry!

Jourama Falls in the Dry

jourama falls walking track
The walking track to Jourama Falls

On the way home from the trip which took me to the Dalrymple Track and elsewhere I stopped off at Jourama Falls. I didn’t walk up to the falls themselves because I saw from the creek – still flowing, but only just over the camping ground causeways – that the effort would not be well rewarded.

This photo, however, confirms just how dry the country is now.

Townsville is the same, but we know Townsville is in the Dry Tropics; Jourama is not far from Townsville, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s dry; but both are drier than usual, and Cardwell, definitely in the Wet Tropics, was nearly as bad.

Townsville’s 2019 fire season

Winter is traditionally followed by Spring but not here, and not in the era of climate change. Last week was Winter; this week is the Fire Season.

Perhaps that is a little melodramatic, but it’s justified by the conditions we have experienced recently. The fire season is already well under way, as it usually is by this time of year, and we have had several very smoky days in town but today was exceptional. Late this morning I could hardly see Mount Stuart from the Rising Sun intersection on Charters Towers Rd, so I visited Castle Hill with my camera to see what I could see from there. It wasn’t pretty.

View over Kissing Point to Magnetic Island
Looking over Kissing Point to Magnetic Island

Continue reading “Townsville’s 2019 fire season”

Broecker: Fixing Climate

cover of Fixing ClimateFixing Climate
Robert Kunzig and Wallace Broecker
Profile, 2008

Fixing Climate is both interesting and useful but not in the ways that the authors intended. That’s not entirely their fault, since climate science and mitigation have changed enormously in the ten years since it was published.

The book tracks the life and work of Wallace Broecker, who was born in 1931 and was just the right age to become a pioneer and then a leader in the (then) very young field of climate history and (hence) climate change. Continue reading “Broecker: Fixing Climate”

Townsville’s 2019 floods

The Townsville flood of January-February 2019 was, like cyclones Althea and Yasi, one of the extreme weather events which define people’s lives in the city. Two months later, “How did you go in the floods?” is still the first question we ask friends we haven’t seen for a while. There’s a lot for Green Path to say about it but whatever we publish now will be incomplete so we will update and extend it as appropriate, in separate posts if justified by the amount of extra material.

Let’s begin with an overview of the weather event and its immediate consequences.

The weather event

A low in the monsoon trough over the Gulf became a rain depression and drifted South and East until it settled over Townsville, where it stayed much longer than “normal” (we will have to return to that concept later) and dumped an inordinate amount of rain on us over about ten days – say 29-30 Jan to 7-8 Feb.  Continue reading “Townsville’s 2019 floods”