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Extreme Cities

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With our current political atmosphere, the ominous threat of climate change is now more relevant than ever. The effortless ability to portray social and economic aspects as a fluid solution to climate change is presented by Ashley Dawson in his book Extreme Cities. Dawson is an English professor at the City University of New York at Staten Island and specializes in environmental humanities. Extreme Cities blatantly states that with our current economic system, the effects of climate change will be exaggerated regardless of the go green movement. The analysis of how cities and governments are setting climate change on the back burner provides readers of an introduction of the climate change revolution regardless of any prior climate change knowledge. Extreme Cities was written in 2017 after the political election of Trump and Clinton, establishing even more of the importance of climate change fluency. The author divides the book into six chapters, which all pertain to a certain aspect of climate change in regards to these extreme cities.

The introduction chapter in the book explains what an extreme city is and how the cities are more voluntabe to climate change, increasing storm surges and increasing heat temperatures. Dawson in each chapter illustrates New York as the model city for climate change and how it affects these “extreme cities.” Within each chapter, the author refers to devastating storms, hurricane Sandy and Katrina, to emphasize the vulnerability of these cities and their citizens. Throughout the book, Dawson refers to a major theme of how cities are creating temporary solutions, like sea walls, in order to prolong a momentary sense of safety and protection from the inevitable repercussions of climate change. As the book progresses, the final chapters, four through six, Dawson articulates a call to action in which he urges the reader to reinvent how our society is structured. The author constantly reiterated the need for a long-term solution, rather than a band-aid fix. In the final part of the book, Dawson emphasizes possible solutions, thus ending the book on a positive and optimistic outlook on the future of climate change.

The ability to successfully propose a call to action that can be applied to a magnitude of populations is extremely difficult, although Extreme Cities has achieved a great foundation. The final chapter in Extreme Cities is the most influential and pertinent in the book. The author parallels the same energy as the social movements of Black Lives Matter with said energy needed to be applied towards finding a solution to climate change. Dawson boldly states that completely removing our society from the fossil fuel industry will be the only solution to stopping climate change. With the same social power of the injustice movements, Dawson believes that society can eliminate fossil fuels. This advocacy is not spoken lightly, the amount of consumer power need to eliminate a trillion dollar industry needs to be applied full force on every social and economic aspect.         

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