A scorched fu­ture for farm­ers

The Week (US) - - News - Louise Freck­el­ton

The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald

Aus­tralian farm­ers like me are suffering, said Louise Freck­el­ton. Cli­mate change has parched my land and killed my live­stock and crops. I live not far from Can­berra, in south­east­ern Aus­tralia, and from Christ­mas Day through New Year’s we had an “in­tense heat wave” with tem­per­a­tures in the up­per 90s all day and near 80 at night. “Af­ter this kind of so­lar ra­di­a­tion on­slaught, we won’t have any pas­ture left, we won’t be able to feed our sheep.” Like most Aussie farm­ers, I long ago adopted best prac­tices, rais­ing na­tive grasses and ro­tat­ing graz­ing from pas­ture to pas­ture, but these tac­tics go only so far. The lat­est cli­mate change

sci­ence says Aus­tralia is in for more ex­treme heat and longer fire sea­sons, and farm­ers sim­ply won’t be able to cope. “Our dams are nearly dry.” These days we spend most of our time try­ing to en­sure that our chick­ens and lambs don’t die of heat ex­po­sure, by putting frozen bricks in their wa­ter and hos­ing down their pens. Un­less our govern­ment and oth­ers take the lead, we will face a “fu­ture of wa­ter scarcity, longer, hot­ter heat waves, and firestorms.” In this year’s na­tional elec­tion, Aus­tralians can’t let politi­cians dis­tract them with fears of im­mi­gra­tion or ter­ror­ism. “There is noth­ing more ter­ri­fy­ing than an in­creas­ingly hos­tile cli­mate.”

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