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Euroviews. Blackout fatigue threatens our climate change resilience

Brace. That’s the blanket instruction we’re given each time a storm approaches. 

Brace for train disruption, brace for property damage, brace for unsecured objects taking flight. 

So people change their travel plans, they move their car into the garage, and they tie down their garden furniture. 

But how do people brace for something as out of their control as a blackout? How do you brace for darkness?

In what’s been a relentless season of storms, we have seen power cuts on a huge scale. Just last month, more than 230,000 households in Ireland suffered outages. 

Alongside the scale of these power cuts, there’s also the issue of the frequency. Some regions are repeatedly experiencing blackouts, and when Storm Jocelyn hit, many were still reeling from Storm Isha. 

One English county, Cumbria, has endured consistent mass power cuts for the last three months in a row. When the next storm comes will we instruct them to brace again?

We can stock up on candles and torches, but there is very little that can ease the distress of being left without power for an undetermined period. 

Over time, this distress will become weariness and ‘blackout fatigue’ will take hold across Europe.

The need for resilience is often spoken about in the fight against climate change. This is usually used in reference to infrastructure or agriculture, but it applies just as much to people. 

The tangible effects of the environmental crisis are starting to be seen and individuals are increasingly being asked to lead more environmentally friendly lives.

It’s clear that some sacrifices will need to be made in the face of such an existential threat. But people need to feel empowered to make a difference, not worn down by the dark. Every preventable outage chips away at