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Lorena Allem and Nick Evershed
Josie Douglas sits on a verandah overlooking a ridge of red rocks and earth, scrubby with saltbush and spinifex near the centre of Alice Springs. It’s late afternoon and only 31C – a reprieve from a run of days in the high 30s and 40s.
But Douglas knows that from now on it will only get hotter.
Last summer was the hottest on record, and the driest in 27 years in central Australia. Five per cent of the town’s street trees died. A heat monitoring study showed that on some unshaded streets the surface temperature was between 61C and 68C.
“Central Australian Aboriginal people are very resilient. They have evolved to cope with the harsh and variable desert climate, but there are limits.
“Without action to stop climate change, people will be forced to leave their country and leave behind much of what makes them Aboriginal. Climate change is a clear and present threat to the survival of our people and their culture.”