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I moved to Sydney less than five weeks ago and the city has been shrouded in smoke haze on and off since then. I joke this is my "Sydney hazing" but it's only now—having worked on climate change for over a decade—that I'm suddenly feeling burnt out. This is not in any way to compare my experience to those who have lost their homes, communities and loved ones to the bushfires.
But the smoke cuts through Australia's clouds of climate denial that pretend we are neither vulnerable nor responsible.
Climate - Space - Community - Cloud - Weather
We often refer to the "atmosphere" and "climate" of a particular space or community. We can be "on cloud nine," "under the weather," or "snowed under." We know the weather affects people's moods. My research, and that from a range of disciplines, is increasingly finding that human emotional, social and embodied experiences are intimately related to the weather and climate.
So, might people's climate concern be changing now Sydney and Canberra have air quality on a par with Delhi?
Research - Weather - Changes - People - Perspectives
Research is mixed on how extreme weather changes people's perspectives on climate change. After severe storms and floods hit the UK in 2013 and 2014, scientists found those directly affected were more worried about climate change and supported climate change policies beyond direct, flood-related mitigation.
On the other hand, climate-change sceptics polled in the US in 2011 were more likely to recall the summer of 2010-11 as a normal one, despite record-breaking heatwaves across the northern hemisphere.
Research - Change - Information - Aversion - Facts
Some research has suggested climate change can prompt "information aversion", where we actively or subconsciously avoid distressing facts and construct a safer, more comforting narrative.
This tendency may be what drives such bracing platitudes as: "Australia is a sunburnt country"; "We've always had fires"; "Us Aussies are tough!"
Face - Masks - Majority - Australia - Smoky
A few face masks aside, the majority of us in Australia's smoky cities have appeared...
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Why do democrats never have to face the reality of what's on the ground, like 2000 years of marriage.