The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

As We Sow: Australian Wildfire Edition

So, as you’re probably aware, Australia is experiencing vast wildfires. About 20 times larger than the California ones, ten times larger than the Amazonian ones, and twice as large as the Siberian wildfires.

The Prime Minister of Australia is essentially refusing to admit this has anything to do with climate change: “This sort of stuff just happens and is supposedly a result of just not doing enough burn-offs.” (Spoiler: No.)

Social media is full of stories and pictures of people fleeing to the nearest body of water, sky lit red behind them.


Here’s the thing: Australia’s government has basically not only done nothing about climate change, but poured on the fuel. A controlling number of Australia’s voters were good with this.

This is the logical result of the actions and inaction of the Australian government.

I doubt that the PM truly cares. It’s not just an ideological thing, the coal and various minerals he wants to remove from Australia and sell to foreigners will still be accessible, and if Australians are forced to leave land, well that just makes it easier to extract minerals.

So this isn’t just what Australia’s government was okay with, it may well be what Australia’s ruling class thinks will make their lives easier.

They don’t make their money primarily off Australian peons, they make their money off foreigners buying stuff.

Ah, the politics of resource extraction states. (Politics I am very familiar with, living in Canada, which has chosen to become more and more a resource extraction state over the course of my life.)

Anyway, there’s no sign so far that people are taking any of this seriously, in the sense of actually doing something to make future events more likely. Australian’s white, sure, but it’s far from the center of power. Even if Australia’s wildfires are huge, the fact that California could have big burns and not matter is more important, because California is a power center, and, even then, elites still didn’t really care.

They clearly figure the money they’re getting for destroying the ecosphere will protect them from the consequences.

Interesting bet. I hope they lose it.

Money would be rather useful, as I don’t get paid by the piece. If you want to support my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.


Happy New Year!


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  1. Phil in KC

    An interesting bet? Indeed! I wonder how long elected officials can hold off the anger and rage of those who are affected by the fires? Will their billionaire handlers protect them? Or if the elected officials can\’t BS the electorate, will the billionaires abandon them and find some other way to protect their interests? Australia is a test case. Watch closely!

  2. KT Chong

    This video is past its expiration date, but it is relevant so here it is again…

    Honest Government Ad | We’re F**ked:

  3. On reaping as we sow, y’awl remember the movie Wall-E? Not even a dozen years since its release and no one talks about how this movie tells us to stop littering the earth.

    But there’s more… first metaphor is a religious one, if you wish: the earth is a garbage dump, uninhabitable, no one lives here…

    Humanity has been turned out of the garden.

    Second metaphor is both a physical reality and religious, if you wish, metaphor: our bodies have become reliant on mechanical conveyance systems to just move around, anything physical is a struggle; we will have adapted, evolved…

    Not only will we have turned ourselves out of the garden, but we can’t go back.

    The final metaphor is space is vast. We who have been trying to save the world have made a meme of “There Is No Planet B”. This is the only ball of mud we know of we can live on – or more accurately harboring the only atmosphere we know of we can live in – and any other that we think just might, just maybe, we’re not sure but there’s other balls of mud out there … are a long way away. Thousands of years of travel in mechanical conveyance systems, in a closed, manufactured environment. The future of humanity may be a rag, tag fugitive fleet fleeing the tyrannies of our ancestors. A fleet, technology, we don’t have.

    Not only can we not go back, but we have no place to go.

    There are no more new frontiers, we have got to make it here.

  4. Herman

    It is not just the elites who don’t care, most ordinary people don’t care either. People are addicted to consumerism and I don’t just mean this in a moralistic way, I mean that people literally need consumerism to fill the space left by meaning and freedom, neither of which exists in our modern techno-industrial society. The consumer cornucopia is our compensation for giving up any meaningful control over our lives.

    If people here doubt what I write then read about how SUV sales are rising despite most people knowing that they are bad for the environment. The same thing goes for our gadgets which require environmentally destructive mining practices and even brutal child labor.

    Most people, including most leftists, really don’t care. It is easy to mouth green platitudes but if their lifestyle was ever threatened most people on the left would turn to the political right very quickly, and this includes young people too, not just the supposedly evil Baby Boomers who have become convenient scapegoats. Anyone who thinks differently is naïve. Nothing serious will be done about the environment until we are faced with a huge catastrophe that cannot be ignored.


    Pursuant to your comment, Herman, Trump has touted this as one of his many alleged successes. Ford’s investing 1.5 billion dollars in Michigan plants to build more SUVs and trucks. Just what the world needs. Couple this with Trump rolling back CAFE standards and I have to ask, how the hell can anyone have morally voted for this prick all things considered? I understand morally not voting for Hillary but to then vote for Trump in lieu of Hillary is morally bankrupt.

    A number of car manufacturers had responded to the increasingly strict CAFE standards. For example, we bought a new Honda Accord this past June and we have been averaging 36 mpg combined. This is 8 to 10 mpg better than our 2000 Honda Accord (we keep and maintain cars a long time). On a recent long distance trip my wife experienced 44 miles per gallon over a trip distance of 375 miles. The Honda Accord does not lack sufficient power. It has a turbo for when you need that power, otherwise its extremely efficient 4 cylinder engine provides fantastic gas mileage and that makes Trump and his cronies very unhappy and displeased. I wouldn’t be surprised if he outlaws cars that get greater than 20 mpg combined in near future if he’s reelected POTUS for life.

  6. Alan Coovert

    I got rid of the two most negative influences in my life, my car and my TV. Without a car, I walk, ride my bike and take the bus. Without a TV, I feel like I actually live better and feel somewhat happier not being bombarded by constant propaganda. I know it’s not much but I feel like some individual effort is required to mitigate my impact on the biosphere.

  7. edmondo

    how the hell can anyone have morally voted for this prick all things considered? I understand morally not voting for Hillary but to then vote for Trump in lieu of Hillary is morally bankrupt.

    I was one of those who – when faced with a choice between Trump and Clinton – found voting for Trump to be far less evil than voting for Hillary. Call me whatever names you wish but if faced with the same choice as we had in 2016, I would vote for Trump as the lesser evil every time.

  8. NR

    edmondo – You voted for someone who thinks climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. You can justify it to yourself however you like, it won’t change that fact.

  9. Ché Pasa

    For many years now, Our Rulers have made abundantly clear that no matter what, we’re essentially on our own when it comes to climate change and its consequences. They do not care what happens to the Rabble. They cannot be made to care. As the disasters pile up, they become more and more like Scott Morrison, seemingly oblivious and disinterested — but not. They know. They know what’s happening. They know why. They don’t care about that. They care about themselves, their power, their money and all the protection and mitigation it will by them.

    Time. They can buy time for themselves. If we, the Rabble, can’t, too bad, so sad.

    The scenes in Australia are mirrors of what’s been happening in so many other places (Canada, too). Just as the intensifying hurricanes and typhoons are mirrored over and over and the losses pile up. What we get from the ruling class is a collective blank stare.


    We’re living during the Apocalypse, and there’s not a lot most of us can do about it. Those who can will do what they can, but many don’t have the option. We’ve seen visions of the future in the rubble of the wars of aggression, the flight and plight of millions of refugees from wars and climate catastrophe, the walling off of potential refuges.

    It’s not even the future, it’s happening now.

    But Our Rulers have been preparing for decades. Not only do they intend to survive, they intend to make the rest of us as miserable as they possibly can. They’ve tested and proved the effectiveness of many tools to neglect and control the masses as conditions worsen and their rule becomes more precarious. But they aren’t afraid.

    Just watch Scott Morrison for a clear example of what we’re facing. He’s absolutely certain his perspective on the situation is the correct one, and all the hollering and yowling about it from the “left” is utterly wrong. If people die, so what? As long as it’s not people like him! If a continent burns, so what? His place is safe. As long as that’s the case, it doesn’t matter what happens to anyone else. He’s not alone. His is the attitude of the ruling class in general.

    And he is absolutely certain there is nothing you or we can do about it.

    “Tough luck, suckers!”

  10. Willy

    I’m not so sure if our rulers want to themselves, be downsized. If their consumer livestock suffers, then their quarterly profit statements shall as well meaning they risk being voted off their lucrative islands by the board and then they’ll have to go live like all the other golden parachute rabble. Sounds facetious, but they’ll be relatively powerless, a fate worse than death for power players.

    Maybe the few remaining rational business thinkers uninfected with the consumerist disease will have greenish ideas for reinvestment?


    Since you mentioned Scott Morrison, these Australian locals are none too happy with him. Had his security not been in place to protect him, this could have quickly gotten out of hand and they could possibly have done to him what the Italians did to Mussolini and his mistress.

    I take perverse pleasure in this being one upside of the apocalypse. How I will smile with glee amongst the flames, smoke and ash as the 20% are dragged from their castles and torn to shreds once their Samurai have flown the coop or their Samurai have been torn to shreds too.

    I have no mercy or compassion for the 20% when that day comes and I do believe that day will come and sooner than we think. Considering it’s that backend of the holiday season, instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head (whatever a sugar plum is), I have visions of Donald Trump and his ilk being disemboweled amidst the apocalypse and his fat, fleshy body left for the birds of prey, any that are left, to pick clean.

  12. Stormcrow

    Che Pasa:

    But Our Rulers have been preparing for decades.

    In order to meaningfully prepare, you must first understand the threat,
    and then and muster sufficient competence to deal with it.

    Our Rulers are about as competent as the nobility of the Romanov
    dynasty. And a close reading of any really decent history of the
    Russo-Japanese War or the Eastern Front of WW I will tell you how
    competent they were.

    Ian Welsh:

    They clearly figure the money they’re getting for
    destroying the ecosphere will protect them from the consequences.
    Interesting bet. I hope they lose it.

    They will.

    When the entire planetary biosphere goes toes-up in a reprise of the PT
    extinction, they’re going to be ringside. Because there’s nowhere else
    they can go.

    Not when, 50 years after the first human landings on the moon, we still
    don’t even have a temporary lodgement there. To say nothing of the
    replacement biosphere the PTB are going to need if they want to do
    anything but die a bit more slowly than the rest of us.


    Here’s one of the Samurai. Remember these folks when the time comes. They are the enablers and they’ve sown a bountiful harvest of blowback.

  14. Hugh

    “Tough luck, suckers!”

    That pretty much sums it up. In 2008, the world’s financial system blew up, and it did so through a mixture of willfully insane financial products and the largest frauds in human history. These were perpetrated on us by our rich and elites. Not one of them went to jail. Nothing was reformed. And to top it off they bailed themselves out at everyone else’s expense to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars.

    At the time and since, I have said we fail to understand their mindset because we try to compare it to our own. I have used the example of the goose that lays the golden eggs to explain the difference. Our conception of criminality is to steal the goose and profit from its eggs. The kicker here is that most of us would never steal the goose in the first place. But our rich and elites would steal the goose and the eggs. More than this and what truly sets them apart from us is that they would kill the goose, eat it for lunch, and then go looking for another goose. In so far as our rich and elites think ahead, this is how they do it. So no, they really aren’t looking to limit the damage they do. Most of them don’t even have a cursory survival strategy. Their survival or that it might be at stake simply doesn’t occur to them and doesn’t influence their actions. They loot to a crash and then loot the crash.

    Fast forward ten years and the American Southwest is burning up (as predicted), Siberia is burning up, and Australia is burning up. And the Scott Morrisons of this world could care less. Tough luck, suckers! Now where is that next goose?

  15. There is some informed back and forth on this in the comments at the article “JoNova: Aussie ABC Disappearing Evidence They Helped Climate Activists Campaign Against Controlled Burns” @

    The meta of disappeared evidence is clear, but what can be concluded from it is not. It’s quite possible that management of controlled burning was not a key factor, but would distract from the catastrophic climate change narrative which has, ahem, considerable support, including by some of the media. Hence, memory-holing in service of a favored narrative.

    The comments of Nick Stokes deserve attention; but, on the other side, perhaps the most interesting one was by an old timer “kalsel3294”, who was involved with controlled burning when is was controlled by locals. See his/her comment @

    If I was forced to draw a conclusion based solely on comments from Nick Stokes and kalsel3294, I would not primarily blame activists, of recent years; nor would I conclude much has changed in management of controlled burns since 2009. However, I would conclude that, due to economic and political changes over the last 60 years, management of controlled burns is has grown increasingly inferior, as burnable material near roads that would be critical in fighting fires has increased, over the last 60 years.

    kalsel3294 concludes,
    “The locals, those with properties to protect, the local knowledge, and who give their time freely, not only to carry out the burnoffs, but turn out when there is a fire seem to be pushed further and further down the chain with the green politicians and the bureaucrats taking control of what was an essentially an all volunteer organisation. Now any burnoffs are largely done after the worst of the fire danger has passed.”

    I’d be curious to see if even Nick Stokes blames “climate change” more than he does management… Stokes is a regular, and a somewhat credible, skeptic of climate change skeptics, on the WUWT site.

    Scott W Bennet’s comment was also illuminating, even if it’s “anecdotal”

    In order to have rational discussions, one have to have honest investigators who will look to move beyond anecdotal information to large numbers of statistically significant factoids. Is Australia capable of that? For all I know, they are as messed up as the United States is….


    Speaking of Australia, just today I was in a doctor’s office, and read about some kind of anti-cancer substance discovered there, by cattle’s that would rub their eyes into some ground fruit. I’m guessing it must be this agent, described in snopes:

    What snopes doesn’t say, but the article in the doctor’s office does, is that dermatologists lobbied to get what proponents claim is a natural substance, to be regulated (I guess as a drug). Their argument was that it was toxic. Apparently, the healing substance is particularly good for skin cancer (at least those involving squamous cells, whatever they are, IIRC). The article further went on to say that the same substance(s) was isolated from eggplant. And the amounts of eggplant involved are clearly not toxic. (Which raises the question of why you just can’t eat eggplant; but I just skimmed a bit of the article, before being summoned by my doctor.)

    The article made the very plausible insinuation that the dermalogists’ business model was being threatened, and this was their real motivation. They actually don’t give a crap about curing your skin cancer.

    We exist in a “matrix” of corruption, and deception to support that corruption. Ian’s suspicion of elite corruption related to the magnitude of Australian fires is probably well founded.

    Ah, but what are the details? And what deception is being foisted on the public? What agendas are, at their root, elite agendas, and recognizable as signal against the noise of human error and incompetence, as well as competing propaganda and non-elite agendas?


    N.B. Snopes, like wikipedia, can have invaluable information, spiced with complete nonsense or misleading factoids. Reading this particular snopes article, e.g., they state (correctly) that

    ” Further, not all cancer is the same, and while EBC-46 could be effective at destroying some types of tumors, the drug will never be a “cure for cancer.””

    Yeah, I already knew that there over a hundred types of cancer. If some ignoramus on the internet, or drinking a beer at the local bar, thinks differently, what of it? Sheesh.

  16. Wayne Suffield

    I\’ve lived in Australia for 65 years; I\’ve been a political tragic for 50 of them. Your thumbnail sketch of the bushfire crisis here is essentially correct, but allow me to add a couple of pernicious components.
    Firstly, we like the UK and the US, are a Murdochracy. By that , I mean that a majority of voters and pre-voters are informed at the headline and television screen-nag level by Murdoch media along with a smattering of mostly like-minded \’neoliberal\’-minded owners. In at least 4 of our state capitals there is a newspaper monopoly; the headlines are screaming from one mouth. A sweetener for the powerful and monied is that there is virtually no limit to the amount that can be spent on political advertising. Hence Clive Palmer, a mining magnate who owed (maybe still does) separation pay to thousands of workers, spent 70 million on campaign adverts. Sufficient people voted for him and their preferences flowed strongly to the conservatives who snatched victory by one seat. So, we are a Murdochracy.
    Secondly, fundamentalist christians are significantly over-represented in our parliaments. Our PM is a pentacostal as are several of his government members. His speeches are peppered with prosperity theology terms. I doubt this cabal is troubled by this crisis. Perhaps they believe they are a step closer to The Rapture.
    Keep up the great work, Ian Welsh.


    It\’s getting real, real close to nut-cutting time. We either kill these suited fuckers or we die. Choose which one.

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