Queensland summer’s are known for stormy weather. This year we did not need to wait until summer, the stormy weather began in Spring! I missed the Spring days as there were so few of them. Spring arrived and so did the hot stormy weather. Then we had a return to cold winter days. Yes, in the middle of Spring. Is all this to do with climate change or just a change in weather patterns?
Just off the coast of Queensland we have the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The GBR is a 2,300km long ecosystem and was given world heritage status in 1981. Given the changes in the climate there are signs that the GBR is at risk due to rising sea temperatures, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Changes are continual in our waterways and through the carelessness of people pollution is widespread. Yesterday, the Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan AO, a builder and avid sailor, was honoured in Sydney with a State Memorial Service. Ian and the Clean Up co-founder Kim McKay AO, have left a lasting legacy. It all began in 1989 when Ian had the idea to clean up Sydney Harbour. The Clean Up Australia movement is not just about cleaning up, but about preventing rubbish from entering our environment. The GBR must be responsibly managed, due to climate change and natural disasters, such as Cyclone Debbie in 2017. Natural disasters can have a serious impact on the environment.
Other impacts on our environment are people. People dumping rubbish wherever they please without a care for the environment. Recently, we all became more aware of the effect of single use plastic bags on our environment after the major supermarkets and others shops banned single use bags. I see a lot more people, carrying bags and baskets when shopping. While on the surface this seems a good idea, the banning of single use plastic bags may not improve our environment or get rid of plastic in our ocean and rivers. For example, the major supermarkets have replaced single use plastic bags with the thicker plastic bags at a cost of 15 cents each. I have seen people shopping with their trolley’s piled high with the 15 cent plastic bags. Will these bags do more harm to the environment than the so-called single use plastic bags? Time will tell.
In the meantime, in Queensland we are heading for more stormy weather. Yesterday, it was predicted we would have a wild thunder-storm in Toowoomba. It did not arrive. Then we were told that we would have cyclonic winds (category one) today and tomorrow. Fortunately, they did not arrive and today we have perfect Spring weather. But four weeks ago we had wild stormy weather two days in a row. We were away at the time and fortunately no fallen tree branches or damage to our house or Cluckingham Palace (the chicken coop). The coop and chickens survived the wild winds and heavy rains. Unfortunately, for two of our neighbours there was damage to their house from falling tree branches. Then friends a few blocks away, in the second storm, lost a treasured 80-year-old palm tree that fell on and destroyed their carport. Trees fell in streets and parks – there was a lot of damage.
We will have more stormy weather once summer arrives in a few weeks. All Queenslander’s can do is to prepare for the stormy weather, look at the forecasts and make sure children are kept safe and away from drains and waterways after a cyclonic down pour. Also, saying the mantra to our friends and family “if it is flooded, forget it” will help. While we can have stormy weather in Queensland, we still have some amazing weather to enjoy. As the saying goes, here in Queensland it is – “beautiful one day and perfect the next”. Despite the stormy weather Queensland is a great place to live!