Today I was happily reading my new issue of Natural History, which is what I like to do after reading Dirt Rag, and I came across an article by Bill McKibben, the author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out.
In the article, McKibben discusses the prospects of survival of our species given the seriousness of climate change/global warming. Anyone who does not think this is a serious issue either has their head in the sand or is simply ignorant. Rather than criticize, however, I would just like to offer up some sobering statistics excerpted from McKibben’s book and article:
Nine of the 10 deadliest heat waves in human history have occurred since the year 2000, and even the Pacific Northwest now experiences stretches of triple digit temperatures. McKibben notes that “70% of the homes in Portland are now air-conditioned.”
Okay, so you might be thinking, “So what? We live in a modern, technologically advanced society, so maybe they just wanted to add AC to their home… because they can afford it… or because Americans have so much money that they look for things to spend it on."
I think not.
The rise in global temperatures has increased the chance of mass heat-related deaths in India by 150%. In the summer of 2016, temperatures in parts of Pakistan and Iran experienced temperatures at or above 129°F for a couple of days in July—these were the highest recorded temperatures ever measured on earth!
Worse, during that same heat wave, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman had triple digit temperatures combined with high humidity that produced a heat index of over 140°F. But wait… in 2015 a city in Iran experienced a heat index of 165°—the second highest ever recorded on the planet!
I need a breather…
Now I’m going to talk about the two extremes—the Tropics and the Arctic—it is estimated that by 2070, tropical regions that now get maybe one day of truly oppressive heat per year can expect between 100 and 250 days of oppressive heat per year. And the Arctic… well, it is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. The Arctic, my friends, is the canary in the coal mine.
The summer of 2018 was the hottest ever recorded on Mother Earth. To quote McKibben, "Africa recorded its highest temperature ever in June, the Korean Peninsula in July, and Europe in August; in America, Death Valley produced the hottest month ever seen on our continent. The world saw the warmest night in history when the mercury in one Omani city stayed above 109°F till morning..."
We can expect a very hot summer folks!
~Lori, CPT (ACE and NASM)