This is the MV Pasha Bulka, a coal carrier which ran aground on Nobbies beach in Newcastle in June 2007 while waiting to load 58,000 tones of coal.
The previous day I had been photographing Wyangala Dam which at that stage had diminished to 3% capacity. Much of the dam was cracked earth, dead trees and dust. Strange to think I had just spent the day photographing the results of Australia’s most prolonged and severe drought in recorded history and here was the Hunter region experiencing the worst floods in many decades. I drove through the night arriving at 3 in the morning in driving rain. Waiting two hours until first light and under the cover of an umbrella with the help of my assistant we set up the camera capturing this shot; the aftermath of the storm. I love the bird clinging to the light-post, keeping so still, so vulnerable. It adds an element of the whimsical.
This is an important scene because Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter, with a total of 115.3 million tonnes exported last financial year. Japan, China, The Republic of Korea, India and Taiwan are the top five destinations for Australian coal exports. Our coal is helping to power the great factories and power stations of Asia.
Anthropogenic climate change is brought about by human activity, mostly industry. This image continues to remind me of the complexities of the issue at hand. Australia exports coal which helps create an affluent lifestyle for it’s citizens. This coal helps to fuel factories which produce commodities which we all enjoy but at a heavy cost to the environment. This industriousness is impacting the climate, meaning we’ll see more sever and unprecedented climate-related events. The storm and the draught I witnessed being a case in point.