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Emergency alarm is a symptom of inaction

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Climate emergency alarms should already be sounding. We need climate action now to revert environmental collapse
Issue 2851
Emergency alert notification

This emergency alarm will alert all mobile phones (Picture: Government UK)

The government is sounding the alarm—but it’s only a test. On Sunday of this week at 3pm all phones with a 4G or 5G signal will receive an emergency message. An alarm will ring for ten seconds, and phone users will have to swipe up to stop it. 

The government said that the emergency alert could warn people about impending wildfires or floodsThey also said that the alert could be used to warn about the threat of terrorist attacks or nuclear strikes in the future. 

But the trial of this alert sends a message, and not just to your phone. It tells ordinary people that they need to get used to more regular crises caused by those at the top, whether that is extreme weather events or war. And ultimately it sends a message that the ruling class will continue to run their system as it is, and if ordinary people are lucky, they might get a notification when something goes wrong. 

All of this mirrors how world leaders have begun discussing climate change. They don’t pretend that the crisis doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, they talk about adaptation or the things that we should do to live with rising temperatures. 

And they also argue that it isn’t possible to cut down on fossil fuels right now. This was evidenced by the meeting of climate ministers who are part of the G7 powerful grouping of nations last week. They continued their assurance that burning more natural gas is essential because of Russia’s war with Ukraine. 

Ordinary people can’t accept that nothing can be done about the accelerating and overlapping crises, including climate change and pandemic, that are stalking our planet. And we shouldn’t accept the best thing to do is batten down the hatches and adapt to more extreme events either. The stakes are way too high. 

A recent report by the university of Southampton has found that climate change is making flash droughts “the new normal”. The most affected regions will be north Asia, Europe, the Sahara, and the west coast of South America, according to the report. 

We shouldn’t accept a new normal of floods, fires and emergency alerts. Instead we must sound an alarm of our own. To beat back climate change we need a series of resistance, riots and strikes.

Extinction Rebellion was set to begin “The Big One” on Friday, where it planned to assemble tens of thousands around parliament. Protests like this are the best way of sounding the alarm and rejecting the terrifying  “new normal” that the ruling class wants us to accept. 

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