Spend a few minutes on the internet, and you’re likely to see a headline about “record-breaking” heat or drought.
What does this add up to? Severe drought, decreasing water supplies, and major threat of wildfire, not to mention the danger of the heat itself. Extreme heat is one of the deadliest consequences of the climate crisis, and as the temperature creeps up so too does the risk it poses to us all.
Fortunately, we have the solutions to the climate crisis and to extreme heat in particular. California’s budget last year included $800 million over the next two years to address this issue. Lawmakers have proposed bills to protect us from increasing temperatures, and the state released its Extreme Heat Action Plan this spring.
We need to keep electing legislators who not only vote in favor of policies that combat the climate crisis but also are willing to get their hands dirty to find and implement solutions.
We also need to do things on our own to mitigate the heat in our own homes and communities. Here are some tips for keeping cool this summer, so you can not just manage the heat but thrive this summer:
Stay hydrated. It may seem overly simple, but it’s crucial: Make sure you are drinking enough water and liquids on hot days (and all days!). Don’t just drink when you are thirsty.
Limit outside time. Run errands in the mornings or evenings when it’s a little cooler. Put on some sunscreen. Opt for wearing loose clothing with light fabrics and colors. Try to spend as much time in the shade as possible when you’re outside. Park your car in the shade or use a covering to shield the sun.
Air conditioning. Use AC when necessary (though keep in mind the increased energy use and risk of blackouts). If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, consider spending part of your day somewhere that does, whether it’s a friend’s home, shopping mall, library, or cooling center. Check here to find a cooling center near you.
Home installations. If you are able to, install any of the following measures in your own home: insulation, double-paned windows, window shading, air sealing, cool roofs, or rooftop solar panels.
Check up on others. Check on your friends, family, and neighbors, especially children and those who are older or have medical conditions exacerbated by the heat.
Do NOTs. Don’t leave people or pets in the car, at all; don’t engage in strenuous physical activities outside in the high heat (it’s not worth it, go when it’s cooler in the morning or evening); don’t overdo eating hot, heavy meals.
Resources and Further Reading: