Fiddling while Rome burns…

The Amazon burns and Brazil appears to take little interest in just what those 9500 fires will do to our planet. On Monday, Sao Paolo was reduced to a nightsky filled with choking smoke. I’ve just read a simple and easy to understand report on the Amazon fires from

I like that President Macron has called for the Amazon fires to be front and centre at the G7 talks this weekend but I can just imagine the outcome as each nation rushes to protect itself and its economic interests globally.

But Australia is not an innocent bystander. Our right-of-centre Prime Minister told the threatened Pacific Island Nations exactly what he felt about climate change at the Forum on Tuvalu recently.

I’m tired of complacency on this planet. I’m sick of corporate greed and governments toadying to corporations. I have a grandson now and I want a worthy planet for him to inherit.

But how hard it is for our small family to make a difference on such a global scale.

What can we do?

Because mark my words when I say we have to make some sort of effort. ‘We’ meaning not just my family but yours, and yours, and yours!

I despise plastics. My precious oceans are choking in the stuff. My blood-pressure rises when I enter a shop to find ¾’s of my purchases will be wrapped in plastic. So I garden to grow as close to natural foodstuffs as I can.

But because I’m a gardener, it frustrates me constantly when I buy seedlings and plants and they come in plastic pots and the bits and bobs for healthy garden growth comes in plastic bottles and packs with no apparent interest by the nursery industry in the monster it is creating on a daily basis.

I hate petrol-fuelled sports of all kinds – boats, cars, bikes and even planes. What a waste!!!!

And there’s a thing. Yes, it’s wonderful to travel and visit different cultures but how many of you actually pay a carbon footprint tax and have you ever researched just how that tax is spent? Paying a ‘tax’ is such an easy way to shift the blame and enjoy ourselves in the doing, isn’t it?

(I rather like Singapore’s simple illustration of a carbon tax…)

Our family don’t fly much anymore if we can help it. Tasmania is a long way from anywhere, let alone the sites about which I choose to write. For myself I’m glad, because at least I personally am not contributing to a worse global forecast than we actually have. I’m fortunate to have access to a wonderful team of researchers in the countries about which I write, and in that way, and through video, stills and the wonders of communication and research, I can write emotively and subjectively in my novels. I bless my team, I really do, and count myself fortunate with their friendship.

Tasmania (the small island state of Australia on which I live) produces 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. Because its energy usage is naturally generated (wind, water and solar) it is only 0.16 % of Australia’s output compared with Queensland, a coal-dependent state at 30.33%. Australia as a nation, produces 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. (The State of Tasmanian Climate Change Office). So Tasmania is punching well above its weight with a reduced carbon footprint. But remember I mentioned complacency?

(Aerial view of our farm during a snow drop in 2015- taking by a family member on way to Sydney for work. Our farm is the bottom half of the picture.)

Let’s turn that back to our immediate family. We farm. We grow crops and graze sheep for wool and meat. So we recognise that we have a carbon footprint.


Or should I say BUT

If we plant 150 evergreen trees, we can offset our family of six’s carbon footprint for our lifetime.

We plan to plant 1000 evergreen trees. In addition to protecting us for a couple of lifetimes, that may serve to offset others’ footprints as well (providing they don’t fly thousands of miles every year). But I wonder if they care, or what efforts they personally are taking to make a positive mark on this planet instead of a self-indulgent one. The allusion to Nero fiddling while Rome burns comes to mind.

Thus, inevitably, I suppose we’re planting trees to give our family a sense that we are fighting to protect our planet, as grand as such a notion might seem.

We’ll be planting trees that do well on the farm – blackwoods and eucalyptus varieties.

We already have vast groves of Wattles and Prickly Boxes  (not my favourite trees but a wonderful source of life for bees)

…and the understories have native grasses and fallen logs to make perfect homes for indigenous species of bugs, reptiles and furry wildlife.

After that, I can only hope the world’s population gets active, gets out there. Does things to make a difference to our world.

That includes all of you, my friends. What will you do?