It’s interesting to see how people have reacted to the extreme weather of the last week or so.
Of course the majority of people now accept that weather events like storm Eunice are likely to become more common over time because of climate change, but there are still those who don’t join the dots and recognise quite how much of a challenge this is going to be going forward. A life changing challenge if we don’t start taking it seriously.
In our area the storm resulted in a power failure that took 3 days to restore and we were then without water for 2 days. At best it was frustrating and inconvenient, at worst – the vulnerable were at risk, and businesses (ours included) suffered as we were forced to close for a week. The anxiety locally was palpable, and that expressed itself most commonly as anger all over our local community social media pages – largely projected to the powers that be ‘why isn’t this fixed yet?’, ‘this is unbelieveable, they have to provide us with compensation’. While these views are understandable, because we pay for these services and want value for our money, we are in danger of being too close to the problem to have perspective.
Extreme weather events mean that our power companies and water companies are unable to work in dangerous conditions – so fixing the problems couldn’t be rushed. The country as a whole isn’t prepared for this type of problem – infrastructure is flimsy. Utility companies will need to reconsider their emergency planning as these events become more frequent – we know for a fact that our local water company doesn’t have generators at their pumping stations for when there is a power outage for example. But clearly – fuel generators aren’t a climate friendly answer either.
We as consumers need to remember that it’s in part our lifestyles that have contributed to the problem – this isn’t us versus them. We are all in this together. While we can, and should, hold our government to account for legislating for change, and utlity companies shouldn’t profit when they have failed in their service, we are part of the solution too. Change starts from the bottom up. We might not think that our day to day consumer habits are in anyway related to the big problems the planet faces, but they are. From your food waste to single use plastics, from your house insulation to your water usage, your car journeys to your clothes purchases – nothing can be ignored any more.
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