Features Australia

Bushfire of the vanities

11 January 2020

9:00 AM

11 January 2020

9:00 AM

‘You are literally evil. Dante has a level for you… Now I know that you’re the type who would laugh at a train off to Auschwitz.’ Just one example of the typically caring, nurturing messages I’ve been getting from Australian greenies over the last couple of days. My crime? Telling it like it is about the bushfires.

The Australian bushfires, as every rational, half-way informed person knows, are a natural, annual occurrence which this season have been exacerbated by two man-made factors: arson and the ongoing failure by government and local authorities to clear the scrub, underbrush and hyper-inflammable eucalpyts, which have turned what should have been routine burns into raging infernos. Nothing to do with ‘climate change’ whatsoever.

Unfortunately, right now, it’s the irrational, uninformed loons who are grabbing all the headlines. ‘Make no mistake. The tragedy unfolding is climate change-based,’ declared noted expert Russell Crowe in a message delivered to the Golden Globe Awards. (He was too busy to attend — claiming, histrionically, that he was ‘protecting his family from the devastating bushfires.’) Cate Blanchett, also at the Globes, was so convinced that this was a ‘climate disaster’ that she used the phrase twice in two sentences.

But it’s not just the usual ragbag collection of Hollywood luvvies, inner-city eco-loons and embittered leftists who are promoting this mendacious green claptrap. Much more worrying is that once-sensible conservative types too are now starting to buy in to the greenies’ fake news narrative.

‘Mankind is testing the very limits of our only home, this fragile planet,’ wailed former UK Conservative defence minister Tobias Ellwood, in a Sunday newspaper piece linking ‘Australia’s tragic inferno’ to wanton use of fossil fuels. ‘Australians must listen to the voice of conscience that speaks from their burning bush,’ said Daniel Johnson — son of noted conservative commentator Paul — as he urged Australia to give up its coal-export market in the interests of ‘humanity’.

These would, of course, be perfectly respectable arguments to make if there were even a smidgen of a hint of a fragment of any evidence that man-made climate change were responsible for the 2019/2020 bushfires. But there isn’t.

Sure the (heavily compromised and green-biased) Bureau of Meteorology has been doing its best to fuel the climate change narrative by furnishing the (similarly compromised and green-biased) media with lots of ‘hottest day evah’ stories. The raw data, however, tells us that while the recent drought has undoubtedly been severe there is no evidence that this is part of a long-term trend. Australia has experienced this kind of very hot and very dry conditions many times before: it’s known as ‘weather’.

What has changed significantly is not the climate but the whole approach to managing Australia’s landscape. As David Evans wrote in an article six years ago — bushfires being the gift that goes on giving for sceptical journalists — ‘the first Europeans in Australia noted over and over that Australia looked like a country estate in England, like a park with open woodlands, extensive grassy patches and abundant wildlife.’ There is an account from the early 1800s of driving a horse and carriage from Hobart to Launceston, before there were any roads, simply by driving along the grassy park underneath the tree canopies. ‘Try doing that today,’ Evans wrote.

The reason you can’t is that it’s the eco-loons who now make all the rules. Back in the day — and until quite recently — Australians followed the aboriginal practice of regularly burning off the underbrush. But today, this sensible land management technique has either been curtailed or completely forbidden.

According to a cynical green misinformation campaign, promulgated by the Guardian, the idea that green activists are responsible for this mess is a ‘conspiracy theory’. Try telling that to the Queensland farmer who in 2017 was fined nearly $1 million in fines and costs for making his fire breaks too wide; or to Liam Sheahan, the fireman in 2002 fined a total of $100,000 for illegally clearing — for fire safety protection — the trees around his home in rural Victoria. Seven years later he was vindicated when his property was the only one left standing after bushfires destroyed his town.

‘But the Greens have never been in power so how can you blame the Greens?’ is one of the more popular weasel excuses I’ve heard recently. The answer is: they don’t need to be. Greens may be an unrepresentative minority, but they — and their bleeding-heart fellow-travellers — whine well above their weight. Even Liberal politicians are terrified of being caught not caring enough about Mother Gaia. Some are more guilty of this than others, of course; Malcolm Turnbull being the very worst. But none has exactly covered himself in glory resisting the advance of the green blob — not even John Howard, who thought that sticking a preservation order on Australia’s trees and declaring them a ‘carbon sink’ would be a cunning way of addressing his Kyoto Treaty obligations.

The plain fact is, as anyone who lives outside the cities knows, Australia has been turned into a flammable death trap by green ideologues indulging their Thoreauesque fantasy trip that nature is too pure and special to be managed by man. How ironic — a point I made in the title of my book Killing the Earth to Save It —that their benign neglect just leads to even greater destruction.

According to one estimate, as many as half a billion animals may have been wiped out in the latest conflagration. This seems to bother the bleeding hearts much more than the twenty or so human fatalities or the several hundred families whose homes have been destroyed. If these people were capable of rational thought, they might pause to consider how many fewer ‘roos would have been incinerated, koalas torched or goannas immolated had landowners been permitted to clear some of the massive, excess fuel load that has made these fires so deadly. Australians are right to be angry about this man-made disaster — but they should direct their wrath towards the people really responsible: not poor, harassed ScoMo, or climate sceptics in general — but rather those dangerous green lunatics.

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