Slow Catastrophes: Living with Drought in Australia


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ISBN 9781925495430

Jones, Rebecca






Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.3 cm


Living with drought is one of the biggest
issues of our times.

Climate change scenarios suggest that in the next fifty
years global warming will increase both the frequency and severity of these
phenomena. Stories of drought are familiar to us, accompanied by images of dead
sheep, dry dams, cracked earth, farmers leaving their lands, and rural economic
stagnation. Drought is indeed a catastrophe, played out slowly. But as Rebecca
Jones reveals in this sensitive account of families living on the Australian
land, the story of drought in this driest continent is as much about
resilience, adaptation, strength of community, ingenious planning for, and
creative responses to, persistent absences of rainfall.

The histories of eight
farming families, stretching from the 1870s to the 1950s, are related, with a
focus on private lives and inner thoughts, revealed by personal diaries. The story
is brought up to the present with the author’s discussions with contemporary
farmers and pastoralists. In greatly enriching our understanding of the human
dimensions of drought, Slow Catastrophes provides us with vital resources to
face our ecological future.

Featured in The Weekly Times here.

About the author
Rebecca Jones is an environmental and Australian historian in the School of History and Centre for Environmental History at The Australian National University. She is author of Green Harvest: a History of Organic Farming and Gardening in Australia and has published widely in environmental history, Australian history and rural health and wellbeing.

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