Australia is officially in the midst of a drought. Apparently it’s the worst drought since reliable records began in 1910. Even if you’re not a farmer it’s pretty obvious it’s hardly rained at all around here.
I went to visit my parents in the country a couple of weeks ago and as I was a passenger in the car for a change I was able to look out the window and see that the wheat and barley crops that are normally a lot taller and more abundant, just aren’t this year.
An awful statistic to come out of this drought is that every four days, one farmer is committing suicide in Australia. This means that every four days one Australian farming family is devastated by the loss of a family member because of the weather and the flow on effects that has on a family’s livelihood.
I think the only good thing that can come out of this drought, hopefully, is that the Australian government who won’t even sign the Kyoto Protocol will look more carefully at global warming and what we can do as a nation to help combat it. WWF-Australia’s research points out that global warming has contributed to this drought.
As a consumer the drought will personally affect me in a number of ways. The most obvious will be the higher prices I will pay both for fresh produce and for items such as bread and milk that farmers produce. Beer prices will also go up.
In addition to this South Australia has today introduced tougher water restrictions. Now there’s only three days a week that I can put the sprinkler on for my small lawn. If I didn’t have a young kid I’d probably let it go or replace it with something more tolerant to no water. I hope that the people who water their driveways and paths get fined really heavily. There’s nothing wrong with using a broom to get rid of dirt.
As I grew up on a farm and we relied on rainwater for our household needs I was brought up not to have very long showers. I remember being amazed at a guy who I sharehoused with some time ago having half hour showers. There’s no way we were every allowed to do that.
The other small thing I’ve started doing as of today is buying produce direct from the farmers at the new local farmer’s market that opened down my way a few weeks ago. I’ve paid membership and all so I’m committed to go shopping there now to get my money’s worth. The only downside is that I have to take JJ and he nags me non-stop to buy him food. He’ll eat fresh fruit but it is so much nicer to go shopping without that little voice constantly asking for food.