Despite the flooding here it’s not raining in the Amazon. It should be, according to the BBC, ‘A dry spell caused by high temperatures and reduced rainfall has diminished the Amazon river in Peru to its lowest level in 40 years, and is causing severe economic disruption throughout the country.’
It’s called a La Niña, and I heard it first from orchid enthusiast Jay at the Poinciana cafe in Mullum. He described the trend as opposite to the El Niño, and said we can expect further inclement weather because of it.
Indeed El Niño and now La Niña affect both Australia and South America – causing opposite weather patterns across the globe. Like the degradation of the Murray Darling, the state of Peru’s rivers now threaten that country’s economy.
The AFP reports ‘The low water levels have stranded several boats and suspended shipping services, closing several ports and harbours in Peru, which rely on the river for transport.’
No doubt industry will overcome short term geographic and technical obstacles, but the question remains: are we experiencing weather shifts due to human activity, or is this just another longer term pattern of the planet’s climate cycle?
An incredibly toxic sludge from Hungary now threatens the Danube river, due to bauxite (aluminium) mining. It begs the question – how well equipped are Australian bauxite mines to respond to flooding? And what of uranium mining, now that the La Niña weather pattern threatens this continent?
Environmentalist David Suzuki will be in Byron Bay at the end of the month, and although he doesn’t claim to have all the answers, he sure is a good person to ask. Elders such as Suzuki bring reason and wisdom to these debates, and their opinions are of great value to humanity’s quest to be better managers of the planet’s finite resources. Perhaps it’s not the greatest timing from Gillard for water restrictions – apparently production of the fourth Mad Max movie has been suspended due to the unseasonable green pastures of the film’s location in Broken Hill.