Climate change represents an increasingly serious threat to the wellbeing of humans and the planet alike. Hurricanes, droughts, flash floods and heatwaves are all becoming more frequent and severe across the globe. Rising seas are already impacting countless homes in coastal areas. Yet, the millions of people who have already fallen victim to the negative effects of climate change have largely gone unnoticed by the media – who prefer to focus on the victims of more ‘dramatic’ tragedies like terrorism. As a result, I decided to travel to the United States to meet with some of the victims of climate-induced disasters, to provide a platform for them to share their stories. Following the destructive impacts in Texas of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the rising seas submerging some roads in Miami, and the record-breaking wildfires spreading across California, this seemed like an ideal country to visit to network with a wide range of climate victims. Due to this, I travelled to Boston, Miami and Houston to meet with such individuals.
Prior to leaving for my trip, I was concerned about the sensitivities involved in the project. Some of the interviewees I arranged to meet with were victims of the worst impacts of climate change; with one person in particular suffering the loss of family members and the destruction of their home. However, after completing my ‘Go Abroad’ experience I realised that it is precisely because of these tragedies that I had to push through the difficulties of the project in order to help raise awareness about the changing climate, and the victims of its threats. Whilst on this trip, I learnt that just because an issue is under-represented in the media (as climate change often is) does not necessarily mean that said issue is not worth taking action against. I also became much more aware of the fact that even in more developed countries, with better home construction standards and higher levels of education about the threats of climate change, people of any and all backgrounds can face severe social and economic losses to this phenomenon.
Having returned home from my invaluable trip to America, I will now write up accounts on each of these victims’ stories and publish them on an online blog, along with oral histories (audio recordings) voiced by the victims themselves. This, I hope, will go a small way towards attracting some much-needed attention to the importance of tackling climate change moving forward.