Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adventures in Unemployment: Mars Attacks?

My beautiful wife hates nothing more in the world than talking about the weather, so she'll hate this post. Being unemployed affords you a lot of benefits to go along with the crippling loss of income and health insurance. For instance, I never really have to worry about how to dress when I leave the house. There was a time when I would back and forth between the front door and the closet four or five times trying to decided if I should take an overcoat or not. But, that's behind me for now.

One thing I never had to think about taking when I left for work was a respirator. That wasn't the case for the 5 million people who live in and around Sydney the other day, when they woke to find their city enveloped in a cloud of red dust. The pictures, like the one above, look like something out of "Mad Max", "On The Beach" or some other post-apocalyptic scene. I'm sure Sydney-siders were shocked to wake up to an orange/red sky, but no one can really be surprised. The whole nation has been in a severe drought for over a decade which has helped to ramp up typhoons, wild fires and generally dry out the centre or the country. As I observed last year Australia's center looks a bit like the surface of Mars, what with all the loose red dust.

When that loose dust gets blown (that sentence felt oddly dirty to type, that's normally Inky's game) it can form a dust storm. When things are very, very dry and the wind is unabated that dust storm can rage across a whole nation and blanket a major city. In the end a dust storm is relatively innocuous, but it is emblematic of how weather can get out of hand, and that is not good for the rest of us. Between mud slides , wild fires, flooding, erratic temperature swings and the odd occasional killer hurricane we should be pretty concerned that we in the path of mother nature's storm. Literally.

I'm no tree hugger, but I do think we all need to do something to quell this tide. Think about how much potable water we use to to flush the toilet and then realize that graywater can wash away your poo just as easily. Everyone wants to make global warming and conservation into a wrong/right or left/right thing, but it just isn't. It's a live/die thing and it's happening in big and small ways all around us.

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