Surf's up! Here comes the heat wave. Chicago is expecting the hottest temperatures of the year--over 100F heat index. with high humidity. The heat will only add to the already explosive atmosphere in our city, all over the country, and it seems the whole world.
NOAA reports that 2015 was the hottest year on record world wide. And it is going to get hotter. Right now, Barrow Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle, is basking in 80-degree temperatures. This is what climate change looks like. It affects all of us. The people most affected are the most vulnerable--poor people, children, old people, sick people, marginalized people, people who live in war zones, people who don't have anywhere to go. They are the first ones to feel the effects of changing climate.
In this wave of rising temperatures, some creatures will thrive. Disease carrying mosquitos will move further north. Diseases of the tropics, such as dengue fever and the Zika virus, will become more common here, too.
There will be more severe weather, more floods and droughts, more instability, more violence. The dystopian futures we imagine will be all too real.
But we have learned from disasters--the heat wave of 1995, and Hurricane Katrina, have shown us the necessity of helping each other, working together, leaving no one behind. Yes, we can do it! We are imaginative and resilient people. We have gone to the moon. We have an international space station, with scientists from many countries working together. They are growing sunflowers and zucchini there, just like in your backyard.
Read more about the 1995 heat wave here.
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