Features Australia

Confessions of a climate denier

A mini-tornado hits north Sydney: what on earth can it mean?

23 November 2013

9:00 AM

23 November 2013

9:00 AM

OK, I got it wrong. My climate change denialism has collapsed under the sheer weight of contradictory evidence. ‘Still think it’s all a hoax now?’ mock my leftie buddies, gleefully recounting the latest apocalyptic data spewing forth from the pages of the Fairfax press or dominating airtime at the ABC. Thus far my steadfast commitment to the Official Global Warming Sceptic tag has withstood the sustained attacks of October’s catastrophic bushfires (so early!), the super-typhoon that struck the Philippines with such tragic consequences (strongest winds ever recorded!) and even the devastating floods that devastatingly flooded wherever it was the most recent devastating floods flooded.

But no more.

There is no longer a shred of doubt. This is no laughing matter. Climate change is real, it’s here among us, and it’s threatening our daily existence. The evidence is irrefutable.

I refer of course to the Mini-Tornedo of Hornsby.

Sorry, folks: a tornado? In Hornsby?

Gaia has spoken, and has made her displeasure clear in ways that even I can no longer ignore. Hornsby, after all, isn’t some far flung Pacific Island where the locals are grimly clinging to the tops of the coconut trees by their fingernails as their entire way of life disappears under the pounding tropical surf. Nor is it the home to dehydrated polar bears, panting penguins or overcooked plankton. Hornsby is, well, Hornsby.

‘The sky went dark green, and everything went eerie and quiet,’ said one startled woman to 2UE news. ‘You must have been standing in the very heart of the tornado,’ explained the breathless radio host.

Heart of the tornado? Hornsby? I suspect that this would surely be the first time Hornsby has ever been at the heart of anything, let alone the most profound existential threat to mankind and the greatest moral challenge of our times. Let’s not forget, this is the bit of urban sprawl that sits just on the edge of Sydney’s swanky north shore suburbs, neither in nor out of the main game, too ugly to be a village but not quite ugly enough to be a town, that is unceremoniously skirted around and ignored by the torrents of commuters who daily flee up the F3 to the Central Coast. Who goes to Hornsby? Does anybody ever stop there? Or live there? Why on earth did the Planet-to-whom-we-give-the-benefit-of-the-doubt decide that this was the appropriate place upon which to visit her wrath? Gaia does indeed move in mysterious ways, but Hornsby?

My suspicions were immediately aroused. If climate change is indeed real, and Earth is determined to send an unambiguous message to the sceptics among us, it makes sense that She would do so right on our own doorstep smack bang in the middle of our everyday, materialistic, self-gratifying, capitalist lives. After all, a tornado at your local Westfields is pretty damn freakish; a potent enough symbol to sow doubt even among the Doubters.

To wit, the glass roof of the shopping mall went spinning off into the air, whilst gigantic electricity-guzzling lamp posts swivelled in the ferocious breeze like swizzle sticks in a CO2 cocktail. A Sydney Trains demountable was overturned leaving six blokes on a smoko lying flat on their arses. Trees crashed down onto polluting cars. Down the road a group of slightly luckier cars found themselves being shuffled around the parking lot like matchbox toys at the hands of an ADHD kid after his third Coke.

Sitting in the cinema, terrified out of their wits by Tom Hanks being kidnapped and plunged into darkness by a group of sadistic Somali pirates, a group of Hornsby old-age pensioners were suddenly plunged into their own terrifying darkness and taken hostage by the Goddess of Climate.

And then, only a few minutes after it had unleashed its pent-up fury, the Mini-Tornedo of Hornsby simply disappeared into, er, thin air. A peaceful, balmy calm descended over the north shore, and the sun feebly poked its nose through the clouds. Birds tweeted. Twitterers, too. The relief was palpable: ‘Thank God, it’s over.’

But is it? Where did the tornado come from? How did it get to Hornsby all by itself? Who’s to blame? Quivering with anticipation, I turned to the experts.

According to the Daily Telegraph: ‘Bureau of Meteorology manager of weather services for NSW, Andrew Treloar said Monday’s tornado followed a severe thunderstorm between Manly and Hornsby.

‘Mr Treloar said it was possible that a water spout sighted near Manly about 2.l5pm may have marked the start of the tornado.’

Shit! Manly! The Manly. That’s when the pieces all fell into place and my comfortable world of climate change cynicism came crashing down around me like the glass dome of Westfield Hornsby.

The mini-tornado was never intended for out-of-the-way- whoever-heard-of-Hornsby. It was aimed fairly and squarely at the epicentre of trendy, wealthy, sceptical, Speedo-wearing north shore smugness: Manly.

This will be the very same Manly readers of my compendium The Compleat Climate Change Denialist’s Handbook (aka Beyond Satire — Julia Caesar & the Kevin Sutra, Connor Court) will instantly recognise as being home to those monstrous Deniers singled out for eternal damnation by one of Fairfax’s and the ABC’s most popular and highly respected Climate Change Believers!

‘Surely it’s time for climate change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies before being lashed to a pole at a certain point in the shallows off Manly? If they are right and the world is cooling…their mouths will be above water.’

Ohmygod! Gaia’s read my book.

For some of us, Hornsby has changed everything. No longer can we kid ourselves, stubbornly hiding under the doona of denialism. We’re all at risk now. It’s real.

Hornsby is one of us, and we are all Hornsby.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Twitter @rowandean

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • shanshanity

    Marry me.

  • global city

    I know what you mean. It rained so hard yesterday that it actually made my windows wet. Gaia is telling us something!