Flooding In Australia: 2011 Brisbane Floods

1562 words - 7 pages

Any discussion of contemporary environmental crises, which result from humanities interaction with the environment, can be a tricky discussion. Many international reports and conferences are indicating that global environmental problems are intensifying (Bailes, 1985) . A German writer in the 18th century summed up our predicament when he said “ nature, we are embraced by her , and are powerless to separate ourselves from her” (Bailes, 1985), this is representative of the essentiality behind human interaction towards nature, not only for our survival , but for the maintenance of nature itself. Environmental history as a discipline itself is relatively new, however its roots stem from the beginning of recorded history within any piece of writing recording and discussing environmental problems resultant of humanity’s interaction with the environment (Skabelund, 2001). Essentially it the culmination of written observance relating to the relationship between human society and the natural environment throughout recorded history(Bailes, 1985). I believe that by appreciating the role of environmental history in the reform of our relationship with the environment, we gain greater understanding of modern environmental issues. The focus of this essay will be around the Issue of flooding in Australia, with a focus on the 2011 Brisbane floods.
Flooding of settled areas within Australia has become such an inherent event, it is expected yearly during the rainy season. This is due to a mixture of fact that the severe wet season, running from March-April, and October-November, Features cyclones and heavy monsoon rains(Govt, 2013), as well as the composition of the majority of Australia’s coasts being developed due to their great property potential, leaving a large percentage of Australians at risk of flooding. My focus will be on the 2011 Queensland floods, as they were the second highest floods of the century,(Honert, 2011), With the highest economic cost. The copious amounts of documentation of the human and economic effects of the 2010-11 floods, by a number of news and journal sites, $5.6 billion in economic costs for recovery (56,200 insurance claims with $2.55 billion in payouts(Honert, 2011)) and 35 human deaths(Murray, 2011), prompted a number of studies, commissions and reports, which attempted to recognize the issues and begin examining solutions. My initial discussion will surround the numerous dams and the part they played in this disaster, with a focus on Wivenhoe dam. This is because a number of reports concerning the flooding found that the majority of damaging floods, in this case, were a result of mismanagement of the dam release system(Inquiry, 2012).
Dams in themselves are examples of how environmental history can assist us in overcoming environmental crisis. Somerset Dam was proposed after the 1893 Brisbane flood caused severe Damage to downstream residents.((Queensland), 2000) Another example is the focus of the following paragraph,...

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