I am not the first to say that COVID is a dress rehearsal for climate change. Turns out the claim is kind of inaccurate, as climate change is already staging it's own play while we are out back, rehearsing with COVID. Climate change is here, ready or not - and pandemics are just one strand of that playbook.
Our steady media diet of COVID cases counts, hospitalisations and dodgy tennis stars are masking the much bigger stories of typhons, ice melts, floods, fires, famine - and our flailing future. On the upside, the many initiatives, inventions and innovations led by business to mitigate climate impacts are also largely masked, so it's not as if nothing is happening around here.
Businesses are born innovators. It's how they survive. Governments on the other hand are not. They survive because they are. And by any measure, pretty much every government around the world has f*cked up COVID management, exposing not just cracks but major fissures.
"IF PEOPLE KNEW WHAT A NIGHTMARE SCENARIO WE WILL FACE IF WE DON’T KEEP GLOBAL WARMING BELOW 2°C, THEY WOULDN’T NEED TO ASK ME WHY I’M ON SCHOOL STRIKE OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT."
Post COP26 inaction, it's pretty clear we're well on our way to at least 2°C increase in temperatures. The COVID pandemic has become our version of Greta's school room. The immediacy of having to manage a pandemic has us focused on one strand of survival as we face down a pandemic, but what if a pandemic is only one of a set of multiple strands? Each as unpredictable as the next.
Broken supply chains behind empty supermarket shelves, closed restaurants and bars are virus side effects that the federal government never got a model for. Government modelled the disease and potentially even lockdowns, but not freedom. For big food - and many small businesses with offices or retail outlets, the freedom cure seems to have turned out at least as bad as the lockdown disease.
As one bungle after another floats off down the street like disposable masks tumbling in the wind, you have to start feeling sorry for Scotty, whether you think him competent or not. It's hard to imagine how any government could navigate the complexity of a pandemic mess, when you rely on BAU to predict the future. The most consistent outcome seems to be the endless institution of positions or rules that can't be backed up.
It's as if anything involving Prime Ministerial management or complex delivery and service is breaking or broken. And if you don't believe me, try to buy a RAT test in order to comply with regulations around COVID management instituted by the very government who didn't order enough RAT tests in the first place. Kind of like vaccines. (Clearly that learning cycle is too short.)
So when the proverbial hits the fan for climate - flood, fire, famine, cyclone, with all these learnings from COVID, will we get a bit more than a mandated order for something it's impossible to comply with? It's a good question. Because the summers of 2019 - 20 when Australia was literally on fire, will return.
WHILE SCOTTY IS AN EASY TARGET, HE'S NOT ALONE IN THE WORLD. IF A GOVERNMENT CAN'T MANAGE COVID, HOW DO THEY MANAGE THE FALL OUT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, ESPECIALLY WHEN SWEET-FA WAS COMMITTED AT COP26 FOR 2030?
FIRES BURN HOTTER, FLOODS RISE FURTHER, ICEBERGS MELT FASTER, SEA LEVELS RISE, TORNEADOS RAGE AND WE CAN'T EVEN GET A MANDATED RAT TEST.
There is something ominous about the way all this is unfolding. Not helped by the 'satirical' message in our Christmas gift, ‘Don’t Look Up’. That creeping realisation we might all be amoebas in some rich guy with a rocket ship out of here's petrie dish. And that the boss wo/man is bonkers.
The good news emerging from all this is that we are all Citizens, people of the planet. The not so good news is that the people in charge are also Citizens, people of the planet. And thinking those Citizens have a more altruistic mission or a superior intellect that will somehow magically solve our problems is wishful thinking at best and bonkers at worst.
There's no rocket ship. But there are plenty of good hearted, ultra clever, Citizens.