“10 Cyclones Holding Hands”

This is a bit of a “side bar” to my main focus on cities, but I was struck by the metaphor used in the SMH today about the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. To describe not only the scale of the most recent bleaching event, but also the violence they used “10 Cyclones Holding Hands” –

To quote the article: “Professor Hughes said tropical cyclones can cut a 50km-wide swatch of destruction of corals, but this year’s bleaching event was like “10 cyclones holding hands and marching across the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef”.” But, at the same time, if 10 cyclones were actually to “hold hands” it could help. To quote, “cyclones can also help. The category-five Cyclone Winston that slammed into Fiji in February, brought widespread rains over parts of Queensland as a tropical depression, helping to lower sea temperatures by two degrees and sparing much of the southern corals from severe bleaching, Professor Hughes said.”

Though stormy metaphors are useful, even if the negative/destructive side of the trope is the one most often emphasised. Here, it seems like the destruction is equivalent to “ten cyclones holding hands”, but also the reef needs some kind of literal and metaphorical equivalent of “ten cyclones holding hands” in a collective effort to help build conditions for the reef to bounce back and survive in future.


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