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‘It’s about survival’: Athens mayor focuses on getting capital through extreme heat

[Helene Smith at The Guardian]

"Barely six months into the job, the mayor of Athens’s top priority is simple: ensuring that the people of Greece’s capital – mainland Europe’s hottest metropolis – survive the summer. After a June that was the hottest on record, the city has already witnessed record-breaking temperatures and wildfires."

We're deeply into the climate crisis at this point; a major city having to make major changes in order to "survive the summer" is just another example.

When you get into the detail, it's terrifying - particularly considering that we're still only at the foothills of where the crisis will lead us:

“It’s not a matter of lifestyle, or improving the quality of life; it’s about survival when 23% of the green lung around Athens has in recent years been destroyed by fires. It’s vital we have more trees, more air-conditioned community centres and more water stations on our streets and squares.”

Over time, we're going to see mass migrations and real, sustained changes to the way people live. We're also going to see a great deal of suffering. These are things we've been warned about for many decades, but the stories are transitioning from projections from climate experts to being the news headlines.

The onus is on the international community to respond to the crisis with robust energy, but we've been waiting for decades for this to really happen. Instead we get carbon trading schemes and economic deals that don't cut to the core of the problem.

There's an individual responsibility, too. These days that responsibility goes beyond making sensible choices about our own energy use (although most of us don't) and extends to voting, taking to the streets, and making it clear to our leaders that continued inaction is not acceptable.

If there isn't change, wars will be fought over this. In a certain light, they already are.


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