|FEELS LIKE EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE |
Abnormally hot temperatures have huge effects on day to day life. Not only do they result in death, but they have massive infrastructural implications - highlighting just how connected the issue of climate is to everything else. Two important social infrastructures that are impacted hugely are transport and healthcare. In the UK, means of transportation are literally melting, from roads to airport runways. Different solutions are being used to reduce the effect. To keep trains moving, this week alone bridges are being painted white or covered with foil and commuters are being asked to avoid transport when possible. Inside the temperature is rising too - this means operating theatres are too hot to perform elective surgeries, with some being cancelled. To slow down the rate of glaciers melting, people in Switzerland are covering them with geotextile blankets, which are reported to help keep temperatures down. It’s impacting entertainment too - Pearl Jam had to cancel gigs because of vocal cord damage from the heat and wildfire smoke in France.
“Action is urgently needed to adapt frontline neighbourhoods to cope with extreme weather, with more green spaces and trees for shelter, home insulation to keep homes warm in winter and cool in summer, and air-conditioned community centres for people to get some respite from the heat.” Mike Childs, Head of Science, Policy & Research at Friends of the Earth (source)
We know from a recent IPCC report that 3.3 to 3.6 billion people are living in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate change. So, while the extreme heat being central to the news cycle is new for some, it’s a frightening sign of what’s to come. These dangerous weather events are and will continue to happen more frequently: Sonia Seneviratne, ETH Zurich Climate Scientist, says "on average on land, heat extremes that would have happened once every ten years without human influence on the climate are now three times more frequent."