Climate change is raising temperatures. Most of us currently live in the Goldilocks Zone. That’s changing. Fast. To survive, we need to change with it. Most of all, it’s about the heat and how to cope with it. Because our bodies can only take so much heat before shutting down.
We are confronted simultaneously with our vulnerability to catastrophe and our profound unseriousness in the face of it. It’s as if the fires are starting to spread through Rome and all we can do is argue about the fiddling.
Areas that have been quite habitable are becoming less so as they get hotter due to climate change. Crops fail. Livestock die. Fish seek cooler water and move. So do mosquitos. Water becomes scarce. This absolutely can lead to political instability as well as increased poverty, disease, and higher death rates.
Killer heat waves in London and Paris. People existing in concrete houses in baking Indian cities where there is little reliable water. Glaciers in Antartica becoming unstable due to ocean water underneath them heating up. The author discusses this and more, in a gripping style and with copious documentation.
Cities are heat islands, with little thought given how to make them habitable during heat waves. Asphalt sucks in the heat. Lack of trees makes it all much worse. Paris has zinc roofs which absolutely look gorgeous. But they are death traps for the top floors when the temperatures spike. Of course, NIMBYs there want no changes and regulations make it nearly impossible to replace roofs. A familiar tale. Oh yes, let’s do something about climate change, as long as I am not inconvenienced.
Houses and apartments can be designed and retrofitted to be less hot. Cities can have pedestrian-only areas. Trees can be planted everywhere. Solar and wind power is now often less expensive than fossil fuel in generating electricity, a welcome trend. Streets and roofs can be painted white to reflect rather than absorb heat. There are solutions. We just have to do them. Before it’s too late.