10 years of Gippsland Climate Blogging

Your Carbon Footprint by Ray Dahlstrom

The first blog in this column was posted on the 28 November 2012 – nearly ten years ago. The early blogs were mainly part of my political campaigns – running for office and trying to form a ‘climate’ party. This mainly involved letters and press releases to the local media. Gradually news items, opinion pieces including those by guest bloggers, and images, were all added to the mix and by mid-2015 the blog had become a regular twice weekly affair. At 300 to 500 words per blog, I estimate that about 250,000 words have been written in 600 plus blogs.

The aims of blog have not changed. The subject matter has stayed local and restricted to wider Gippsland, and where wider commentary or news has been involved written by local authors. The latter especially applies to book reviews and general comment on climate change. My style has been deliberately folksy and personal where appropriate, accurate, and endeavouring to keep the science as simple as possible. It has attempted to remain positive and hopeful in the long process of combatting the forces of denial and vested interests, although occasionally negative pieces have slipped through, one of which, an early piece on wet bulb temperatures, has had quite a number of readers over the years.

The monthly readership has been between 800-1200 for the last five years with occasional peaks above. My most read blog remains a piece on the CSIRO bushfire predictions in 1987 published before the black summer bushfires took off in Gippsland at over 7000 reads.

Partly due to my workload, and partly relief at having the climate deniers and delayers booted out of Federal government I have decided to reduce the blogs from twice a week to weekly. It will also no longer be as regular with occasional missing weeks, but the struggle goes on. The vested interests, their acolytes and the deniers are still with us, holding positions of power and influence in parliaments, the media and various other organisations; they have not gone away.

The recent election of an ALP government in Canberra seems momentous but in reality it is a small step in the right direction. During World War II Winston Churchill said: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” So, hopefully, it is too with the struggle for real action on the climate emergency.