This week the UK saw its hottest temperatures since records began. An average July used to see temperatures topping at 23 degrees Celsius but this week we peaked just above 40 degrees, which would have been unthinkable when I was growing up. Working in such hot conditions without air conditioning was really difficult. If this is going to be the new norm, we have to change the way we do things.
With meteorologists now predicting a further ‘heat dome’ over Europe in August and the extension of hot weather into September (which has been apparent for the past few years), the time has come to think carefully about how we ready ourselves for such hot weather.
Yes, in Southern Europe they are used to having very hot days, but they are also closed during peak sunshine hours for a siesta. As well as this, their homes are painted white colours to reflect the sun and have shutters on the outside of their windows to block out the damaging rays. Air conditioning is part of their strategy too. In Britain our homes are designed to trap hot air. We have double glazed windows and extra insulation which make things worse.
Governments need to start thinking about working conditions during such hot periods. Perhaps they will consider:
– funding air conditioning for key workers and hospitals as well as subsidising this for low income households
– making affordable shutters an option to darken houses during hot days and reduce internal temperatures
– adapting school days to suit the weather (perhaps starting earlier and closing at midday or having a siesta)
I notice that President Biden has set aside 2 billion dollars for air conditioning and sun protection. This is great but I hope he and other governments are putting even more money into finding ways to counter the effects of global warming.
The following things need addressing right away:
– ensuring all power stations use renewable energy supplies such as wind, hydro or solar
– funding a better network of trains and buses to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads
-taxing and discouraging frequent flying and overuse of aeroplanes
– widespread tree planting schemes and re-wilding
Hopefully some lessons have been learned from this week’s heatwave. It would be sad to see no changes taking place, given this massive wake up call. We all know that climate change will become more of a problem over the next few decades. We really need to act now to protect our homes, our health and our crops. Thank you for reading my article. If you enjoyed it, please consider following my blog for similar future content.