This guest post is from Geoff Curtis, better known among the Wheat and Tares community as longtime commenter Geoff-Aus.
How many members believe that man-made climate change is happening? In Australia at present the country is burning. Much of the country has been in drought for up to 8 years. Most of our capital cities are shrouded in smoke from the bush fires. This has never happened before.
For the first time our fire season started in winter, by spring we had rain forests burning. Rain forests do not burn because they are wet. They are no longer wet. There are fires with fire fronts hundreds of kilometers long. Over 1000 homes have been lost, and 6 lives so far and summer started 2 weeks ago, normally no houses are lost. An area 15% of Utah is presently burning.
I have a daughter who is a rural fire officer. She tells me the soil moisture is the lowest recorded, at around 8%. At this level, in a bush fire, not only do the trees burst into flame (most of our forests are eucalypt) but the roots burn and stay burning, so fires restart days after they appear to be out. Also with wind you have a fire storm, including embers starting fires 5k ahead of the fire front.
Our scientists say this is as a result of climate change. They have been predicting it for years. The fire experts keep saying this is unprecedented. Australia is the driest continent already, and this is being made more extreme. There is little rain forecast till at least February.
Our main inland river system, (like the Mississippi) is no longer flowing. Dry in places, thousands of fish dying. Never happened before. Our pacific island neighbours are asking for our help with rising sea levels.
We have a group in our governing conservative party, who most members vote for, who are climate deniers, so not only do we not have a climate policy or energy policy that are credible, the party have trouble saying climate change.
Because many members believe they should follow their church leaders and be good Republicans, which in the Australian context means extremely right wing. This is confirmed by the church teaching against gay marriage, and equality for women. We had a vote on gay marriage a couple of years ago, and after that members were recruited by the extreme right group. So the consequences of our position on gay marriage is that we are on the extreme right and part of this is that most members are also climate deniers. This group is also anti-Muslim, and see refugees as threats.
I was at a 50th birthday party last week and someone at our table asked if the daughter was fighting the fires. During the following discussion all the other members at the table repeated the climate deniers line that the reason the fires were not behaving like usual was the greenies were not allowing the firies to burn off in the off-season. In our state there is no restriction on burning off but there was only a month this year that there were not wildfires. So no time to burn off. These were people I thought were more moderate.
I had assumed it was obvious to all that we were experiencing a climate emergency. I was amazed to find the extreme right (my fellow members) are blaming the left wing, not their lack of policies/action. False news spread by the right, so they don’t have to take responsibility and act. Ideology is powerful and scary.
We also have Trump refusing to help the world deal with this problem, and members will probably vote for him again.
Do I really want to associate with these people? They are not my kind of people. There is an emergency and they refuse to act. Pass by on the other side, with whatever excuse.
It is very difficult to worry about church issues or other blogs, when you are under threat from bush fires, and so much of your country is burning. Climate crisis is so much more important to those that are living with it.
There were also droughts heat waves and extreme weather across much of the world this last summer, including fires in California.
We used to teach that all truth was part of the gospel. Climate science is science = truth. Climate change is making the world less habitable, surely the prophet should be a voice of warning. Has the extreme weather reached Utah yet? Maybe then?
Featured image from The Atlantic website, credited to Dean Lewins / AAP Image via Reuters. Caption: Rural Fire Service volunteers and New South Wales Fire and Rescue officers protect a home on Wheelbarrow Ridge Road during the Gospers Mountain fire near Colo Heights, southwest of Sydney, Australia, on November 19, 2019.