“I don’t really take my guidance from films … I rather tend to rely on more objective scientific data than what’s contained in a documentary.” That’s why Professor Howard BSc, PhD is steering HMAS Australia out of sight of the melting ice caps, the drying dams, the billowing industrial gas emissions and the overwhelming consensus of the scientific world that something disturbing is happening to the planet and something major needs to be done about it.

Rather than dancing around the issue, as Professor Howard does with alarming dexterity, we’d prefer to listen to this eloquent description of HMAS Australia’s predicament, presented by the filmmaker in question, Al Gore, on ABC Radio this morning:

Australia in many ways is more at risk than any other nation. You have climate extremes now because of your latitude and your place in the middle of the ocean, an island continent and those extremes are predicted to get worse … You have, here in Sydney, in Brisbane, in Perth and elsewhere, shortages of drinking water. You have more fires, you have threats to the Great Barrier Reef, you have more Category Five cyclones and, most importantly of all, the soil moisture is being threatened as scientists have told us it would be. Australia is the driest of the inhabited continents and you’ve ingeniously created this magnificent civilisation in a place where the water is marginal and yet global warming threatens that. We can solve it but in order to avoid that harm we have to see it as a moral issue and discharge the responsibility we have to those who come after us.

Oh, and if Professor Howard won’t take his guidance from that quarter, perhaps he will end up listening to the World’s Most Powerful Media Owner and The Most Influential Australian Ever. Yup, Rupert Murdoch has leapt on board the environment bandwagon, as we report with astonishment in item 1.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey