I spent most of the last summer huddled indoors, desperately trying to escape the heat. The year before that was just as hot and gave me a newfound appreciation for air conditioners. Was it my imagination? Where summers always this brutal? For those of you wondering the same thing, I can tell you now; summers are getting hotter.
Whether you believe climate change is a human-made phenomenon or not, there is no denying the data being collected about our climate. Summers are indeed getting hotter which might sound nice for holidaymakers but can spell disastrous results for our home planet.
Who to believe?
There is a massive amount of misinformation floating around about climate change. While originally referred to as “global warming,” climate change describes the effects of mass human inhabitation on the earth’s climate. Many people believe that our lifestyles and the resulting pollution is choking our atmosphere and slowly producing a “greenhouse” effect.
As layers of these “greenhouse gases” build up in our atmosphere, our planet is effectively insulated, trapping heat from the sun and creating wild changes in weather. It certainly seems like this is happening. But is it all our fault?
There is evidence to suggest that the earth has gone through huge periods of climate change well before humans become so ubiquitous. Some scientists claim that during the earths 4.5 billion years of existence, it has gone through 5 ice ages already, and we are due for another one.
Regardless of what you believe, there is no denying that temperatures are rising, and weather events have become much more extreme. There is hard satellite data that reflects this change.
Effects on human health
While you might think extra sunshine and warmth is a good thing, it can cause major problems for humans and animals alike. As the sun shines down on earth it bombards us with ultraviolet radiation; this radiation is incredibly dangerous and in large doses can kill a human quite easily.
Excessive heat can cause cramps, exhaustion, and as mentioned above, death. Excessive heat can also cause pre-existing conditions to flare up. UV radiation at high doses (such as the Aussie mid-day sun) can even cause immunodeficiencies and congenital disabilities.
As the temperature rises, those in urban population centers will be hit harder. Built-up areas will absorb and retain heat longer, effectively turning cities in urban heat islands. This heat island effect has already happened, with many city dwellers spending time indoors while blasting their air conditioners.
Experts predict that heat-related deaths and illness will dramatically increase over the next decade as more people move to urban centers and the temperatures continue to rise.
How to stay cool
With an apocalypse brimming on our doorsteps it’s easy to get disheartened or even angry. Staying cool is even more important now than ever, and with some simple fixes you can keep cool while the earth melts.
Air conditioners are the easy chose; they are effective, and newer models are surprisingly energy efficient. I personally like this Rinnai air conditioner, but any unit will do the trick. For best results, many air conditioners have an auto mode, which will keep your home cool without wasting precious energy or turning your house into an icy tomb.
For those not fortunate enough to own a Rinnai air conditioner, you will have to manage with some old school techniques. Wearing loose, natural fabrics, as well as keeping hydrated will go along way in keeping you cool without an air conditioner.
Many homes will absorb heat from the sun during the day and retain that heat overnight, keeping your home warm and not very pleasant to sleep in. Swapping out your curtains with blackout curtains can help keep the sun’s heat away. Those who have installed blackout blinds and kept them closed during the hottest parts of the day report an average of %30 reduction in room temperature.
Changing out your linen and pillows can also help you have a cool night’s sleep. Natural materials such as buckwheat grains absorb more moisture and breathe better than synthetic fabrics. Practice these techniques and you might discover you don’t need an air conditioner… but they definitely help!
How can we help?
The future might seem bleak, especially if you let the news fill your head with noise. Even if humans aren’t contributing to climate change, should we sit idly while the earth warms up? Not acting could spell the end for our species, but it’s not too late to change our way.
It would be easy to cower underneath your Rinnai air conditioner and let summer blissfully pass you by. Sure, you could exist like this for decades maybe even live the rest of your life like this, but there won’t be any future for your children or your family.
Acting now against climate change doesn’t have to downgrade your quality of life, its more about making small adjustments to our daily routines. By reducing our energy consumption, we are reducing the emissions made from fossil fuel derived electricity thus reducing the number of greenhouse gases.
Switching to a green energy provider will have a more direct result, squeezing companies out of business that still insist on operating coal-fired power plants. Many energy providers will allow you to decide how much of your power is coming from renewable sources.
For ways to help fight climate change as well as keeping fit and learning new skills, consider replacement. What does this mean? Replacing activities that produce emissions with ones that don’t is a straightforward method of reducing emissions. For example, replacing your daily drive to work with a bike ride or public transport will reduce your footprint on our planet.
No, it’s not your imagination, summers are getting hotter. The earth is getting hotter, and as a result we suffer more extreme heat events and wild weather. You can sit inside and blast your air conditioner, or you could act now and help reduce emissions and provide a safer, brighter and cooler future for the next generation.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.