And finally the penny drops. I can be slow sometimes.
There is a reason the far-right keeps working the “blame bushfires on greenies” line at every opportunity (for example, when Miranda Devine slotted it into a gunk post ostensibly about education).
That reason? Fires are happening more often.
You can't attribute this to climate change, so you need something to blame. And “greenie opposition to hazard reduction burns” is easy. After all, Australia keeps voting Green politicians into places (in a minority nearly everywhere), and “greenies” oppose hazard reduction burns, right?
I'd have to be counted as a greenie. Skipping any personal voting information because it's none of your business, I run a solar-powered, off-grid, off-town-water tourism business. And of the 14 hectares, only about 3 hectares are economic: the rest, I intentionally subsidise to remain as virgin bush because I bloody well want it to remain that way. And since there's a hanging bog feeding a permanent creek, I'm providing about a billionth of greater Sydney's potable water at any given time.
Is that greenie enough for anyone? Good, let's continue.
There's about seven hectares of the land that the RFS wants to burn, and I agree. My reasons are purely selfish and economic: a decent buffer against a fire-storm is good for my business, should the worst happen.
But in seven years, it hasn't happened. Why?
Not because of greenie objections. Because of the combination of:
- Climate change – which leads to a shorter back-burn season
- Resources – volunteers can't be randomly called up on Wednesday merely because the weather's good
- Weather – you can't burn if the ground is wet or there's high winds, which is pretty much a description of the Blue Mountains.
Anybody who tries attribute these three items to “greenie opposition” is a moron of the first water. Or they're – the point of this post – playing to a city political agenda.
Because that's what Miranda and all her acolytes are doing. The voters aren't out here where the fires burn: they're in McMansionville, wondering how it happened and who to blame. Blame, however, is hard to shoulder when you're putting three people in a seven-room air-conditioned house with three toilets. Better to subscribe to Miranda's agenda, that I'm worrying about bushfires because the greens are preventing backburns.
But that's the point. Climate change is what's screwing around with hazard reduction burns; the right-wing's greenie-hunt is a witch-hunt in the most accurate sense of the term.