What’s Going On Here?
Record temperatures have been experienced in Europe and North Africa. On Friday, France recorded its highest temperature ever, a sweltering 45.9oC. Schools have been shut, exams suspended and roads in Germany have been closed as they are melting!!
What Does This Mean?
Could this be the new normal? Although scientists cannot say this is directly caused by climate change, the likelihood of extreme weather events, particularly heat waves, are likely to increase as a result of rising greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, scientists have stated that the current heatwave was made at least five times more likely as a result of climate change.
Why Should We Care?
Heatwaves like this are not a walk in the park [or a beer in the park!]. At the temperatures recorded, current infrastructure struggles to cope, buildings overheat and many places become unliveable/unworkable. For context, 35,000 people died in the 2003 French heatwave [where the highest temperature had been recorded until this year]!
Unfortunately, this trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon, and will only worsen as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. With the effects of climate change starting to impact the places we all live and love, it puts further pressure on society to think about how we can create an environment that prevents further climate change and is adaptable to extreme weather events, such as heat waves.
Current solutions can make the problem worse – did you know that during the June heatwave last year, an increase in energy demand to power cooling systems e.g. air con, guzzled enough energy sufficient to power 2.5m households!
Rather than reaching for the electric fan or air con – check out these super-cool planet-friendly tips to keep the temperature down during a heatwave:
- Go green – literally! Houseplants can lower the indoor room temperature as well as creating a calming environment.
- Have a digital detox – electronic appliances like your phone charger and laptop emit unnecessary amounts of heat when plugged in.
- Avoid that roast dinner – it may be hearty, but the heat emitted from your oven will only warm your house further! Save your energy bills and try a new tasty [veggie/vegan?!] no-cook dish instead!
- Hang a wet sheet – hang a damp sheet across the open door – sounds weird but it will lower the temperature of air circulating in the room – magic!