2020年3月5日 星期四

The End of Australia as We Know It 不只摧毀生命 野火過後的澳洲未來

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2020/03/06 第297期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Below a New Dam, a Grim Turn for the Mekong 泰國湄公河下游築壩 破壞生態
The End of Australia as We Know It 不只摧毀生命 野火過後的澳洲未來
Below a New Dam, a Grim Turn for the Mekong 泰國湄公河下游築壩 破壞生態
文/Hannah Beech and Adam Dean
譯/李京倫 核稿/樂慧生

湄公河下游築壩 破壞生態

The water is so clear on the Mekong River in northeastern Thailand that the sunlight pierces through to the riverbed, transforming the waterway into a glinting, empty aquarium. It is beautiful, but it means death.


At this time of year in Thailand, this stretch of the world's most productive river should be brown and swollen with silt. Instead, a prolonged drought and a huge new dam over the border in Laos, the first on the lower Mekong, have stolen the nutrients needed to sustain life.


On another bend, the Mekong almost disappears entirely, a trickle of stagnant water surrounded by a lunar landscape of sere hillocks and desiccated roots. This is the season that fish normally spawn here, but there is no water.


"Our nets are almost empty," said Buorot Chaokhao, who has fished the Mekong's waters in Nong Khai, Thailand, just across the riverine border from Laos, for nearly five decades. "Maybe our way of life on the river is finished."


The lower Mekong, which makes its way through five countries, was one of the world's few remaining free rivers. But a hydropower boom, coupled with extreme weather patterns attributed to climate change, is radically remaking the waterway.


In October, the turbines of the first lower Mekong dam, the Xayaburi, began churning upstream from Nong Khai in Laos after a series of test runs last summer. The effect of the Thai-funded dam was almost immediate, residents said.


The Mekong ran clear and depleted, appearing an eerie, luminescent blue on sunny days. Algae bloomed, choking nets. Now a monthslong drought has pushed the water level even lower so that parts of the river are no longer a waterway at all but a desert of dead plants and dried-out crustaceans.


With about 10 more dams planned for the mainstream Mekong's lower reaches and hundreds more on its tributaries, a lifeline for 60 million people is being choked. Tens of millions more will be affected as farms and fisheries are compromised, even as the rich and powerful across the region profit from the hydropower business.


"We're asking the question: Is this the breaking point for the Mekong?" said Brian Eyler, director of the Stimson Center's Southeast Asia program and author of "Last Days of the Mighty Mekong." "The Mekong's ecosystem is adaptable and resilient, but the worry is that the river's massive resource base won't be able to overcome all these dams and extreme weather."


The End of Australia as We Know It 不只摧毀生命 野火過後的澳洲未來
文/Damien Cave and Matthew Abbo
譯/李京倫 核稿/樂慧生


In a country where there has always been more space than people, where the land and wildlife are cherished like a Picasso, nature is closing in. Fueled by climate change and the world's refusal to address it, the fires that have burned across Australia are not just destroying lives or turning forests as large as nations into ashen moonscapes.


They are also forcing Australians to imagine an entirely new way of life. When summer is feared. When air filters hum in homes that are bunkers, with kids kept indoors. When birdsong and the rustle of marsupials in the bush give way to an eerie, smoky silence.


"I am standing here a traveler from a new reality, a burning Australia," Lynette Wallworth, an Australian filmmaker, told a crowd of international executives and politicians in Davos, Switzerland, last month. "What was feared and what was warned is no longer in our future, a topic for debate — it is here.""We have seen," she added, "the unfolding wings of climate change."


Like the fires, it's a metaphor that lingers. What many of us have witnessed this fire season does feel alive, like a monstrous gathering force threatening to devour what we hold most dear on a continent that will grow only hotter, drier and more flammable as global temperatures rise.


It's also a hint of what may be coming to a town, city or country near you.


In a land usually associated with relaxed optimism, anxiety and trauma have taken hold. A recent Australia Institute survey found that 57% of Australians have been directly affected by the bush fires or their smoke. With officials in New South Wales announcing Thursday that heavy rain had helped them finally extinguish or control all the fires that have raged this Australian summer, the country seems to be reflecting and wondering what comes next.


Politics have been a focal point — one of frustration for most Australians. The conservative government is still playing down the role of climate change, despite polls showing public anger hitting feverish levels. And yet what's emerging alongside public protest may prove more potent.


In interviews all over the fire zone since September, it's been clear that Australians are reconsidering far more than energy and emissions. They are stumbling toward new ways of living: Housing, holiday travel, work, leisure, food and water are all being reconsidered.


"If there's not a major shift that comes out of this, we're doomed," said Robyn Eckersley, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne who has written extensively about environmental policy around the world. "It does change everything — or it should."




本文關鍵字是change,作者為了凸顯這個主題,用了不少新舊對比,如birdsong讓位給silence、monstrous force吞噬what we hold most dear、optimism不敵anxiety,另外government與public anger是同時間兩種現象對比,讀起來特別有張力。

標題的as we know it意思是現行的、現存的、眾人熟知的,通常含有「現況即將改變」的意思,如:Nuclear warfare will mark the end of civilization as we know it.

第一段說大自然closing in,這個動詞片語常見的意思是「慢慢圍上來」:Enemy troops began closing in at dawn.。另外一個意思是「包圍使之不能使用」,例如:The airport was closed in by fog.主詞是天氣或大自然現象時,意指「變得糟糕」。


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