Hell has descended onto Australia as the sky literally turns red, and the country burns.

I’ve been fairly sure for a while now that, once we began to see the clear (disastrous) impact of climate change ‘in our own backyard’, fair-minded Australians would be convinced of the need to act with some urgency (it would probably be too late by that point, but I did think it would change people’s minds nevertheless).

The bushfires (and associated conditions) that we’re seeing in Australia right now are clear evidence that the climate is changing and that it’s a real problem. Areas are significantly dryer than usual, and even areas that have had fires go through them relatively recently are going up like a tinderbox. Some rainforest areas are now so dry(!) that they will go up in flames like everything else.

What I’m seeing, though, is a doubling down by many that it’s all some sort of conspiracy by the ‘greenies’ and, somehow, even though they do not form any State Governments, they are controlling all policy in this area. When confronted by facts, it just seems to add to the confirmation bias.

The other line is that our greenhouse gas emissions are so small by world standards that nothing we do matters. It’s probably true that these conditions were somewhat inevitable due to many years of inaction, but it’s also true that our continuing greenhouse gas emissions are way out of proportion to our actual size. We are certainly punching above our weight — and we’re now also seeking (sometimes successfully) to help block serious action on the world stage. All of this (and the massive impact of our fossil fuel exports) means that we are locking more of these sorts of conditions and worse. We are sowing the wind and we will reap the (bushfire) whirlwind.

Will any of this change voting patterns enough to see real action on climate change?

Each of the electorates hardest hit in NSW currently (South Coast, Bega, and Monaro) are held by Coalition MP’s. Let me make it perfectly clear: I’m *not* saying that anyone who voted for the Coalition ‘deserves’ these fires. Absolutely not! I’m simply pointing out that nothing will change if things remain the same. The Coalition, more than any other party, is aligned with the fossil fuel industry and their current policy simply won’t be enough.

Will these events change anything come election time, or will we all have forgotten by then?

If this doesn’t change anything, what will it take? I fear that this is becoming for us as a nation a kind of equivalent of guns in the U.S.; that we will continue to see heartbreaking devastation, and that nothing will change.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong.