We pay shamefully scant attention to our dear cousins Down Under-- not entirely without reason, of course. Its population-- just over 18 million [over 22 million in 2011]-- is small by world standards, and as an economic entity it ranks about level with Illinois [now higher, but still ranks below Turkey and Indonesia on the GDP chart]. Its sports are of little interest to us. From time to time it sends us useful things-- opals, merino wool, Errol Flynn, the boomerang-- but nothing we can't actually do without. Above all, Australia doesn't misbehave. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn't have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner.WHY, you might be asking yourself, knowing this did Acadia choose to go there? Why not Honduras or Vietnam or Botswana?
Twelve years of drought have plagued industry and communities in south-eastern Australia. Some view the drought as the first in a series of extreme weather events that will occur on the continent as climate change worsens. The Murray-Darling river system, which provides water for the country’s most intensive agricultural land, now fails to reach the sea 40 percent of the time. In addition to the human systems under stress, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization has identified Australian ecosystems as “potentially the most fragile” on earth in the face of the threat.