A friend and colleague from Europe visited in October 2010 for the first time in almost a decade. I had peppered him in the intervening years with emails bemoaning the long drought, the record heat, the lack of rain, the bushfires, the water restrictions, the young and old trees dying, the rivers ceasing to flow and finally drying altogether. I had described the harshness of the brown landscape devoid of vegetation, the ground cracked and all living things, terrestrial and aquatic, battling to survive. While his stories of European cold and snow reassured me that everywhere was not like here, I sensed a fearful note in his emails as his visit drew near. He was prepared for the worst.