Photo credit: Queensland goverment website.
Like most Australians, I have been shocked and saddened by the devastation wrought by the floods on the eastern seaboard. I have also been quite proud of our excellent emergency management authorities, and the way most Aussies have taken the courageous and generous steps of helping their neighbours. The Queensland flood appeal donation site is here.
We are a very long way away from Queensland. In Perth our summer continues as before -dry and hot.
We have experienced a 40 year drying trend in the south west of WA, which seems to make us one of the places in the world where climate change is showing itself very early.
In contrast to the rest of the continent, the southwest of Western Australia experienced a very dry year, continuing the long drying trend which extends back to the late 1960s. For the southwest region as a whole, the 2010 rainfall total was a record low 392 mm, well below the previous low of 439 mm in 1940. Rainfall in the cropping season (April to October) in southwest Western Australia also set a record with just 310 mm falling; the previous low was 348 mm in 1914. source: Bureau of Meterology.
The CSIRO suggests that if the world could begin to reduce our atmospheric carbon levels, WA weather would get wetter, but that this would be very slow indeed (500 years!) source: CSIRO
This week DH and I have been thinking about a new insulating paint which has been recommended to us, which can reduce internal temperatures thus reducing the need for air conditioning. We already have a painted cement tile roof, so painting with the insulating paint would not be too difficult.
I have also been researching the purchase of a good quality personal shopping trolley, so that we can reduce car use for those short trips to the shop when we have run out of milk.
We have re-jigged several of our vegetable garden beds, by adding water conserving coir and the materials from my worm farm and compost bin so that we can continue to grow the kinds of fresh food we can at home. Today we harvested some onions and tomatoes.
Each time we grow a crop (or half a crop if it fails!) this we learn more of the skills we need to become more self-sufficient, which means we rely less on goods transported over long distances.
We need to do what we can, all of us, to live more simply, for the sake of the earth. Weeks like this week remind me of what I have been trying to simplify my life for, and how much further we all have to go.