This 8 January 2020 video shows a curlew digging deep into mud in the Netherlands.
Rudi Baetslé made this video.
By Margaret Rees in Australia:
Australia: Victim of East Gippsland bushfire voices anger over government negligence
10 January 2020
Over the past months, broad swathes of Australia have been hit by bushfires unprecedented in their duration and intensity. Millions of hectares have been destroyed, 25 lives have been lost and over 2,130 homes destroyed.
The crisis has highlighted the refusal of successive governments at every level to heed warnings by experts that fire seasons will continue to worsen. It has underscored the failure of the entire political establishment to take any action on climate change, which is a contributing factor to the blazes, and the dire consequences of the gutting of essential services.
East Gippsland, in regional Victoria, has been among the hardest-hit parts of the country.
Mallacoota, a seaside town in the area, was surrounded by fires on all sides last month, trapping thousands. Scenes of hundreds of residents sheltering on the town’s main beach shocked people around the world. After weeks of being unable to leave, most of Mallacoota’s population was evacuated by naval ships and aircraft over the New Year period.
This week the WSWS spoke with Suzanne Davies, who lives with her husband at the Point Hicks lighthouse in the greater East Gippsland region.
Davies, who lives with her husband at the Point Hicks lighthouse in the greater East Gippsland region. The lighthouse is and about 95 kilometres from Mallacoota and adjacent to Croajingalong National Park, famous for its diverse wildlife.
Three-hundred-and-forty holidaymakers were staying at Point Hicks when a fire warning was issued on December 30, calling for residents to immediately evacuate. The only departure route is a poorly maintained dirt road that spans 45 kilometres to Cann River.
The Davies had to ensure that all those staying at the site, including campers in the sand dunes, left in time. After the road was cut off by fire, the Davies were rescued by helicopter.
Suzanne explained: “With the fire between Point Hicks and Mallacoota, in the morning they were shutting down all the national parks in East Gippsland, but we were told we would be fine. But twenty minutes before 5pm, I was told that I had to evacuate over 340 people, whether in the accommodation at the light station or in camps. The fire wasn’t impacting then, but there was a potential.
“So we had to tell everyone—most of whom had only arrived the day before—that they had to leave. We had people who were upset, some who were angry and others who were refusing to go. We had to be very calm and advise them. They did all go, and we stayed that night in the head light-keeper’s home.
“The next morning, at about 4 a.m., my husband woke me. Usually one of us gets up at 5.30 a.m. to monitor the weather for the government bureau. He told me to look towards Mallacoota along the ocean. Even though we were in the dark, we said: ‘Oh my god, we’re in trouble, and so is Mallacoota.’
“They choppered us out to Orbost. I couldn’t get back to Buchan, the community that I am from. I’ve done a lot of recovery following fires over the years, but nothing as big as this one. This is our whole country, New South Wales, everywhere. It was lucky we got all those people out. After the fire came, the access bridge was just twisted metal. There was no way out. The light station hasn’t been affected, but all the animals have been.
“We got to Lakes Entrance, where we have two grown-up children. Then we had to evacuate from Lakes Entrance. My husband stayed. The others came in a convoy, we’ve all come down to the Mornington Peninsula. I have to go back to Buchan.
“But there were no communications. No landline, no mobile phones, no internet. So I have been here, writing offers of support. When I go back, I’ll be coordinating some of that.
“Everywhere that I’ve gone, they ask me how I am. Everywhere that I’ve gone, everyone—men, women, young people and the elderly—all say: ‘This government has to go.’
“The timber industry blames the greenies. We greenies—people who want this planet and the environment for our children, and our grandchildren and beyond—they can call us whatever they like.
“This fire has shown that it has come to a tipping point. Now people are starting to realise about Rupert Murdoch’s papers and all those Liberal-National Party idiots for coal.”
Suzanne has been a community worker in Buchan, a small town in the forest, 285 kilometres from Melbourne, since the catastrophic fires there in 2003.
“We had no communication in 2003 except landline, so we could have phone trees out to the areas. It played with everybody’s psyche in 2003 in Buchan. The recovery process was very protracted. Some people are still having counselling from 2003. This time will be way more protracted.
“One man, Mick Roberts, perished when the recent fires swept through Buchan. Two friends were helping him paint his house. They left for the river, but Mick went back for something from the shed. There was a pyrocumulonimbus cloud—like an atom bomb—the fires create their own weather. That cloud collapsed and then rained fire down on everything. People don’t stand a chance.”
WSWS reporters noted that the 2003 fires were a warning of what was to come, which went unheeded by the authorities.
Davis replied: “I reckon that’s true. In 2003, I had Country Fire Authority incident control teams from Queensland and South Australia here. They said: ‘We have never seen fires like that.’ We then had fires in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
“The scientists have been telling us for 35 years of the risks. We could have been the leading country for renewables. Every country has to step up. There have to be some leading countries. The US and Australia should be. The way the politics are—it is impacting totally on this climate crisis. It is all the multinationals, big business, money and greed.”
The WSWS commented that despite power lines being a leading cause of fire ignition, in most areas no attempt has been made to move them underground.
Davies commented: “My father was a local electrician in the Dandenong Ranges before the SEC [State Electricity Commission] was privatised. After the 1968 fires there, that’s when dad started to think about it.
“He went to the SEC and asked them to put all the lines underground. They didn’t listen. They never listen. He said: ‘This will cost money, but it won’t cost money in the end.’ My dad was bloody well right. I don’t usually swear but I’m angry.
“People are really hurting—communities, forests, wildlife, and water. Our country is in crisis. The trauma and the stress. In Mallacoota 5,000 people stranded on the beach. We might be able to get this government out. …
“What gets me about the Murdoch press, the Liberals and the Nationals is that they try and instill fear in people about ‘overseas threats’. The amount of money they spend on submarines and fighter planes, and Scomo’s personal plane that costs $250 million. That is taxpayers’ money, it should be spent on internal water bombers and resources. We have an internal threat, we don’t have an external threat.”
XR activists target Australia’s London embassy demanding urgent action on the climate crisis: here.
The catastrophic fires that have engulfed large areas of Australia starkly demonstrate the failure of capitalism and its political servants at every level of government. The indifference and complacency of political leaders, towards the disaster affecting ordinary working people, is a lesson that will not be forgotten. The political establishment defends a social order in which every aspect of life is subordinated to corporate profit and the interests of a wealthy elite, regardless of the consequences: here.
In November of last year, the wildfire that started in California, U.S.A burned areas that amount about the size of Seoul and destructed over 500 buildings for two weeks. In 2018, six fires started simultaneously in southern California and spread out to the neighboring areas, burning total of 405 km2 with 86 fatalities and 200,000 victims for three days. Also, large-scale wildfires often occur in the northern inland of Russia. The forest fire occurred in July 2018 burned the total area of 3,211 km2 which is 5.3 times bigger than the city of Seoul and, the wildfire, in May 2019, started to spread out and burned down even greater land. So far, extensive wildfires such as the mentioned events are believed to be mostly caused by dry wind, however, the recent study explains that global warming is the kindling that starts such fires: here.
This video says about itself:
The female Cahow returned to the nest burrow around 2AM on January 10th, and nearly an hour later settled in to lay her egg. The male was waiting for her when she arrived and the pair spent that hour preening and making adjustments to the nest prior to the egg’s arrival.
The adults will take turns incubating for the next 53-55 days till the egg hatches in late February/early March.
This 10 January 2020 video says about itself:
Bermuda Petrel Adults Switch Off Newly-laid Egg | Nonsuch Expeditions | Cornell Lab
Everything happens quickly at the start of the Bermuda Cahow‘s nesting season! The female returned around 2AM and about an hour later had laid an egg! This clip is from later in the night, as they switch off incubation duties around 5:20 AM.
This photo shows anti-climate change demonstrators in Sydney, Australia. The banner on the left says that right-wing Prime Minister Scott Morrison was bad at science at school.
Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
In Australian cities, tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demand that the government do more against climate change. They are particularly opposed to Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison, simply called ScoMo, who at the most reluctantly recognizes that there is a possible link between climate change and the devastating forest fires in the country.
An area of 100,000 square kilometers (about 2.5 times the Netherlands) has since been destroyed by the fires. There are 158 fires in the state of New South Wales, 39 of which are not yet under control. Nearly 2000 homes in New South Wales have gone up in flames.
There are 21 fires in the state of Victoria, which are currently more threatening than those in New South Wales. In Victoria, 240,000 people have been ordered to flee from the fire.
The biggest climate protest today was in Sydney, where about 30,000 people took to the streets. In other cities, such as Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, thousands of demonstrators took part in the Sack ScoMo protest.
“The world is on fire and the future is at stake because our worthless Prime Minister does not know how to solve the problems,” a young woman in Sydney told reporter Roel Pauw. An older woman said: “We have drought, we have forest fires and our coral is dying. We have not done anything for thirty years. You must first accept that climate change is a fact and that action should be taken.”
“You don’t get that concern about the future out of your mind, especially if you have someone like this on your shoulders,” said a young father pointing to his little son.
The protesters chanted slogans such as Our future is burning and The liar from the shire, the country is on fire. By ‘the shire’ the demonstrators mean Sutherland Shire, the part of Sydney where Prime Minister Morrison comes from. Among other things, they blame him for the Australian government’s refusal to tackle CO2 emissions from the coal industry.
The demonstrators in Melbourne wore umbrellas because of the pouring rain. The wet weather is good news for fighting forest fires, but it is not raining everywhere.
“Even with this rain in Melbourne, we still have a long way to go to fight these unprecedented fires,” state prime minister Andrews of Victoria said in a television speech. “The coming hours will be very, very challenging. And we know that the forest fire season will last for many weeks.”
This 8 January 2019 video is called Australia’s wildlife decimated by wildfires.
This video is about whooper swans dancing in Belarus.
On Saturday 11 January, there will be a demonstration in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, against the danger of war on Iran by United States President Donald Trump.
There will be speeches by Sadet Karabulut (MP of the Socialist Party), Femke Roosma (Green Left party), the Amsterdam peace committee and Stop the Arms Trade.
The organisers write (translated):
The current crisis began with the cancellation by the US of the international atomic agreement with Iran – an agreement which Iran observed, according to observers.
The people in Iraq and Iran have been protesting for months against their authoritarian leaders. Again, war machines deprive them of the opportunity to build up demonstrations.
The Netherlands supplies weapons for these wars. The Reaper drone with which the attack on the Iranian general was committed is partly produced by Fokker in the Netherlands. The Netherlands wants to send the warship De Ruyter to a European military mission in the Persian Gulf. The ship has not yet departed. The Amsterdam Peace Initiative and Stop the Arms Trade call on the Dutch government to refrain from participating in this mission.
The risk that we are unintentionally drawn into a war that Europe does not want is huge. The Netherlands must take diplomatic steps and not deploy military means.
The Amsterdam Peace Initiative and Stop Arms Trade once again point to the role of letterbox companies established in Amsterdam, which allow international arms producers to evade taxes. These include the arms corporations Lockheed Martin, United Technologies and Boeing; their stock prices shot up immediately after the attack. We call on the Amsterdam city council to initiate the initiative council proposal. The Amsterdam Peace Initiative and Stop Arms Trade once again point to the role of letterbox companies established in Amsterdam, which allow international weapon producers to evade taxes here. These include the arms companies Lockheed Martin, United Technologies and Boeing; their stock prices shot up immediately after the attack. We call on the municipality of Amsterdam to urgently implement the council initiative proposal for tackling letterbox constructions.
Peace activists from Zaanstad are going on 11 January.
HOUSE VOTES TO LIMIT IRAN WAR By a vote of 224 to 194, with three Republicans and one independent in support and eight Democrats against, the House approved the war powers resolution forbidding President Donald Trump from attacking Iran unless there’s an imminent threat or Congress declares war. [HuffPost]
AT TRUMP’S FIRST 2020 RALLY, HE DEFENDS SOLEIMANI KILLING Trump defended his order to assassinate a top Iranian military leader, painting his decisions as commander in chief as a prime reason to reelect him. “By subsidizing Iran’s maligned conduct, the last administration was leading the world down the path of war,” Trump said. [HuffPost]
The German government is preparing to support a possible US war against Iran. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD—Social Democratic Party) and Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU—Christian Democratic Union) made this clear once again on Wednesday. Having previously defended the US assassination of Iran’s leading general Qassim Suleimani—an illegal act of state terrorism—they condemned the Iranian retaliatory strike against US targets in Iraq: here.