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How we save the city

Our Challenge

Illustration in a hand drawn style with pencil of three stick figure characters. The first character has dark skin and short hair. The second is in a wheelchair and has curly hair. The third has long straight hair and glasses and is holding a shovel. The characters are having a conversation, each has a speech bubble above their heads. The first says, I’ve heard we only have 10 years left to save the planet! The second says, Yes scientists say that changes have to be rapid, immediate, large scale, and far reaching. The third says, Wow! That is a big ask! Let’s get stuck in!

Extreme weather events - wildfires, urban heat, droughts, flashfloods, cyclones and storms - are bringing a new level of chaos and harm to our cities. The fast-growing model of urban development based on ceaseless economic growth is pushing our natural world to its limits, with almost half of non-human species now under threat. Long-standing social challenges of poverty, inequality, hunger, malnutrition, oppression and fear are everyday realities for far too many people. 

These are just some of the challenges that highlight the reality of the climate, ecological and social emergencies that cities are experiencing. We know that these converging emergencies are not natural phenomena, but human-made problems which mirror the growth of our globalised, corporate-dominated, industrialised urban world.

To save the city we have to radically and rapidly reduce carbon emission, but in a way that protects and restores nature and leaves no one behind.

Scientists have warned that unless there are immediate, rapid, far reaching and large-scale changes to how we organise our society, stopping dangerous levels of global heating will be beyond reach within a matter of years.

Every city faces these challenges. They have to rapidly detox away from dependency on high carbon emissions and rapidly get on a path to zero carbon emissions. This is a wake up call for everyone involved in city life. Our city players have to make some big moves to tackle the triple emergencies. Every year counts and inaction will only make the task more difficult. We have to think big and start now.

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