Three days ago, a man in his forties died after collapsing from the heat in Italy. Many countries in recent days have been subject to heatwaves, with a new one approaching Europe and North-western Africa. Temperatures may average at 40C° in these regions while reaching up to 48.8°C in Italy, a temperature which could prove to be very dangerous.
In light of this
In light of this, many precautions have been issued like staying indoors and avoiding dehydration by minimising drinking coffee and alcohol, while tourists are using sprinkles and thermal water to stay cool. However, this heatwave is only the newest of the problems. Temperatures have been exceedingly high all summer, with three consecutive days last month being recorded as the hottest ever. Similar heatwaves have struck areas like China and Eastern Asia, taking temperatures near the dreaded 50°C.
This is having unprecedented but not unpredicted consequences. In parts of the world that have less developed communities, deaths have been common. People who cannot afford air conditioning or large enough houses for their expansive families are often forced to be crammed indoors with many other people in the sweltering heat. For farmers, the drying out of crops and health issues with livestock have been of great concern as well, directly affecting their livelihood. People with outdoors jobs have also been affected drastically, such as delivery drivers and field workers. Getting out of the sun may not be an option for them as it would lead to an inability to put food on a table, but staying in the heat results in a variety of health issues they may not be financially able to resolve.
Aside from that, the heat wave may affect economies. With people being advised to stay indoors, this would put a strain on economic activity. Severe climatic events also hamper agriculture, causing a huge problem for countries reliant on it. It also causes other abnormal weather events, like cyclones and storms exemplified by climate change.
So why is the heatwave so severe in the first place?
The answer to that is fairly simple, and can be summarised with two words: Global Warming. This is a phenomenon scientists have been warning about for many years, yet mega corporations and governments that contribute the highest amounts to the planet burning up have failed to take notice. Instead, they encourage the average person to ‘go green’ and consume less plastic, cut down on gas emissions and reduce their carbon footprint. While going green is a good idea regardless, it is also notable that even if millions of people made efforts to cut down their carbon footprint, the effect would be miniscule while if a large company were to do it, it would be a much larger step in the right direction.
Still, while diverting the blame of global warming to everyone else, global warming affects poorer countries most that contribute to it the least. A while back we saw floods in Pakistan caused by the effects of climate change, even though the country contributed about 1% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Now though, instead of being a looming fear, global warming is at our doorstep, and the heat is seeping in already.