From: 350 Org
Last Friday, President Obama and various national and local government agencies issued statements about an impending heatwave, directing people to stay inside, drink plenty of water, and watch for signs of heat stroke. Over the weekend, 26 states issued heat advisories, and press swarmed to public parks to photograph people sunbathing and cooling off in fountains. All across the country people are mopping their brows and greeting each other with looks of exhausted recognition. It’s too hot.
Heatwaves are familiar — we like to think of them as intense and uncomfortable, but temporary. Except this year’s heat wave is something more. It covers nearly all 50 states, and is occurring simultaneously with heat waves in Europe, China, and the Middle East [Kuwait broke the record temperature for the Eastern Hemisphere at 129.4 degrees this week]. It follows on the heels of a hot streak in India last year that is responsible for 2500 deaths. According to NASA, every month of 2016 is the hottest on record, and this last week has been no exception. And even with all the government warnings, somewhere around 6-8 people have died due to heat this week in Arizona and Detroit, and we’ve got at least one more day of scorching temperatures.
This intensified heat wave is part of the unfolding crisis of climate change, and all the impacts — the wildfires, the drought, the crop failures, the public health emergencies — were choices. The people dying today from climate impacts were killed in a board room 20 years ago by executives who decided that it was worth it to squeeze another few decades of profit out of the fossil fuel industry. MORE