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A Critical Response to Climate Change and Cities.

By Rebecca Speiser.

Within our modern day society, we are continuously bombarded with news headlines across the world, concerning issues such as poverty, war, discrimination and significant breach of basic human rights. While these documentations reach an astronomical scale, how often do these events significantly resonate with us as non-third-worlders? Sure, these highly graphic images ‘blow up’ all over news and social media outlets, deeply saddening its viewers while provoking sighs and comments like “How awful” and “Did you see the news? Terrible isn’t it..”. But in a generalised sense, these events become quickly erased as soon as the new images of Kylie Jenner’s’ acclaimed lip surgery floods the newsfeed of Facebook.

This can be closely associated with the extremely understated matter of climate change; except this is an issue, unlike extreme poverty, that direclty affects every single human on this planet. It could be understood as one of the single world issues that no matter if you are the President of the United States, Queen of England, or a simple middle class worker in the outskirts of a big city, the nature of climate change does not discriminate.

But why do we dismiss it as quickly as issues that don’t directly effect us or our everyday lives? Because it’s inconvenient.

Change is inconvenient; higher prices are inconvenient, using a water timer for your shower is inconvenient. While there are evidently countless and far deeper issues within society and our world regarding why our battle with climate change is undeniably complex, I believe that this is fundamentally the reason people are so quick to dismiss what is occurring around us.

Ever since the human race began advancing towards a better, brighter future filled with radical science in the Enlightenment period and extraordinary technological developments during the industrial revolution, all through until today were everyday we see the next best consumable goods being mass produced and distributed worldwide, the price of climate change is one these global enterprises are simply unwilling to pay. As goes for everyday citizens who simply can’t justify spending an extra hundred dollars on groceries that are organic, products that are recyclable, or sacrificing basic human needs to the good of global warming.

Some may argue that global warming may not be at the forefront of our societies agenda or main focus because it hasn’t affected us yet, but what could then be said for the sufferers of the Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 or, on a smaller scale, regular victims of extreme seasonal change ranging from -4 in the winter, to 113 in the summer? I think these people would beg to differ.

In my hometown of Sydney, Australia we are incredibly fortunate not to have experienced anything as severe as what occurs north in Queensland in terms of cyclones and hurricanes, or the deadly, raging bush fires down south in Victoria, there have been countless cases of where climate change as disrupted our everyday lives.

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Dust storm, 2015, Sydney Harbour

A man takes a picture of Bondi Beach's sand as heavy winds blow it inland, April 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Jason Reed

Sandstorm in April 2015, Bondi Beach

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Storm, (declared as natural disaster) April 2015, New South Wales

It would be, ignorant to assume that we haven’t made any advancement toward a greener, more ecologically sustainable environment, however there is still immense progress to be made. Whether it be the responsibility of the Government or those in control of the increasingly damaging oil and coal extracting companies, or a case of recycling at every chance you can, something has got to change. What will it take for people to listen, to be affected by what they see on the news, to begin shifting what they are so deeply accustomed to and start making a difference?

Questions:

What do you think, if you could pinpoint, is the fundamental reason society ignores these undeniable issues?

Is there something you think the Government could do on a national scale to implement policies, further than what they already have, to act as preventatives for climate change?

What do you think you as an individual, or as a part of a group, could do to help make a difference?

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