Adapting to Climate Change by Washing the Driveway

Climate change is about extremes and adapting to those extremes. Brisbane experienced a 10-year drought from 2001 to 2011. During that time, washing your car was illegal and hosing down the driveway was punishable by social death. Neighbors dobbed in neighbors as our lawns turned brown and our flower gardens died. We were adapting to climate change. 

2022 marks the third year in a row that Australia is experiencing the challenges effects of La Niña. Eleven cyclones are expected in Queensland this season (we “normally” get 4 crossing the coast). The dams are full after a record year of rains, and tensions are running high as we enter cyclone season. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a water subsidy and is encouraging people to use as much water as possible. Water is being released from dams in anticipation of high rainfalls in the next two weeks.

Adapting to climate change by washing the driveway. Photo courtesy of Majella Waterworth.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning. Things are going to get worse before they get worse. 

The weather report used to be 5 minutes at the end of the news. Now, it leads the bulletin. The weather has become the news around the world. Currently, Australia has massive floods in Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales. People have died, caught in flash flooding, and unexpectedly driving through creeks that were a trickle just a few hours ago.

Politicians and administrators are having to overhaul an antiquated warning system which is not working in these extreme weather events. It is the new normal.

On a personal note — our house flooded in March and the repairs are not yet completed. It was minor and the damage has not stopped us. However, we are now faced with the possibility of another. Time to clean out the gutters, check the drains, and empty the water tank (installed during the drought). Family members living near the Brisbane River had to gut their house for repairs — chances are they will be doing it again.

The areas currently being flooded down south were also hit by the bushfires the year before. How many disasters can a society recover from and just keep going?


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