By Neha Madhok, Senior Campaigner
We’re all affected by climate change. For some it’s watching drought affect their farm, for others it’s fiercer and more frequent bushfires. For those of us in the city, it’s the heatwaves as temperatures soar, and the home-destroying storms that follow.
I grew up in outer south-west Sydney in the 90s. I can’t imagine how kids in western Sydney schools are coping with 2018’s already record-breaking temperatures.
I remember sweltering days in demountable buildings at my high school in Macquarie Fields, ceiling fans circulating humid air, followed by long trips home on non-air conditioned school buses or packed trains.
And that’s not just my experience. The everyday realities of living in greater Sydney are a result of successive governments taking the 2 million people in western Sydney for granted.
The west has significantly more concrete – warehouses, roads, and short-sighted tree culling – that has lead to trapped heat and temperatures that regularly soar into the 40s. Commuting means being crowded onto trains that aren’t always air-conditioned for hours, or sitting in traffic on scorching roads. And of course, transport costs continue to rise.
As the heat intensifies and people struggle to afford to keep cool, we’ll see further reduced educational outcomes, as kids packed into overheated classrooms aren’t able to perform as well. We’ll see underfunded hospitals become more and more crowded with heat related, preventable illnesses. We’ll see a future where the mere fact of living in the ‘wrong’ part of Sydney can determine your quality of life.
Our expensive city is already becoming unliveable, and as energy prices rise along with the temperatures, it’s getting harder to live in the city I’ve grown up in.
That’s why I’ll be at the rally next Saturday. I want a future where my friends and family can live without suffering through 47 degree days. Can you make it too?