Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thinking about 2009 and beyond as the bushfires burn.....

Waking up this morning to yet another extreme day (temps will be over 35 again) and with the smell of a distant bushfire in the air, I can't help wondering how Copenhagen talks re Climate Change will work out. My thoughts also wander to my grandchildren and I wonder what the planet will be like for them.

Over recent years, my serious art has depicted climate change (scroll down page to see "Spirit of the Land) and the drying of the Australian landscape. Indeed, I thought it important enugh as a subject to take it to Florence and there I was awarded a prize. But I wonder if it was because the judges saw the artworks as being relevant to today or was it the techniques I use to dribble and layer and colour the paintings. Did anyone even notice that my painting was a statement on what is happening to our beloved 'earth'. I know Charlotte Lugt got the message and was very excited that an artist would paint about the climate.

Those paintings glow out from the walls at you eerily, they're hot and dry and parched......they warn you of impending heat and fire; not unlike waking today and smelling smoke from fires close by. The acrid eucalypt smell pervades my room and brings back memories of fires seen over my lifetime.

Australia is hotter now than I ever remember, certainly dryer now in this area than I have known it to be. And with summer only one week in, I wonder how we will cope. My mother used to say "like mad dogs and Englishmen, standing out in the hot day's sun!" and that is what we have become. I am personally thankful that I can arrange my day around the midday heat but when are we going to introduce a siesta for Australia to help people who work through the heat.

I attended a rural women's conference recently to hear of what changes need to be made on our farms to cope with the continuing upward climb of temperatures. Hotter and wetter summers for this area, dryer and frostier winters.....different grasses, new ways of growing crops. All food for thought. At least there is a dialogue going on. I am reminded of how adaptable humans are. I wonder if we are governed now by money and regulations to the point where we can't change though. While people are flexible and adaptable, banks and governments aren't.

Our Prime Minister is off trotting around the globe to his conferences. Today they talk about Climate Change in Copenhagen and how to offset carbons in the environment. One wonders if he wouldn't be better off at home planting a tree or two instead. Carbon credits are basically now another commodity for the big banks to trade and the rich to get richer on. On the ground, there is little being done......reafforestation, replanting back native pastures and scrub lands, rebuilding wetlands and protecting species are all off the agenda as 'they' talk about how to keep the money flowing and stay with coal trading etc. Surely we need to be talking about new energy sources such as wind power and solar power and how to get them replacing coal as quickly as possible.

I continue to paint away in my studio; I continue to read Peter Andrews and his book "Back from the Brink"; I continue to live my rather simple life and downsize where I can and I continue to be intrigued by a planet that will survive long after 'humans' are extinct and I wonder what the 'new' species will be like.......hmmmm maybe I'll paint them!