Hot Summer Days
Sometimes I really can’t take the heat.
Today is the summer solstice. To honor this first day of summer, it was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit along this 42nd parallel north.
In other words, it was rather hot.
I ran some errands earlier in the day to avoid the worst of it but it was already too late — the heat had risen to at least 90 by then. Once I am outside in this kind of heat, it makes me very, very tired. I suppose it might even be a symptom of heat exhaustion.
So I went home and back into the air conditioning and stayed there. Eventually I slept for a very long time in the late afternoon.
Fortunately for me, I did not have a lot I needed to do today, but I wonder how I will handle the increasing number of hot days for the rest of this summer and in the future. Overall, it’s disruptive. There are things I would have done today if not for the heat. Although I did do some reading, editing, and a bit of writing. I suppose the really hot days are good for my writing routine. Still.
Once upon a time I was very ambitious to work on climate action and adaptation and resilience at the societal level, but now I mostly focus on how to personally survive it all. I’ve become preoccupied with resilience at the individual and family unit level. I imagine you might be as well.
When my kids were younger, I remember thinking how much more vulnerable children and single parent families are to extreme heat, especially when you must rely on a personal vehicle every day. Vehicles can’t really take the heat either, you might have noticed. Newer cars, sure, maybe — but older ones? It can be really scary when you are stuck in traffic in a car that is overheating. Especially if there are kids to care for, and the air is sweltering.
But drive we must, as everyone is compelled to get to work, living paycheck to paycheck, the good ol’ American way. We do what we need to do.
However, as a society, we really need to slow down. We need to create social support structures so that we can slow down, especially on the hot days, so that we can stay cool — and alive.
We need to alleviate the pressure to take risks there is no reason to take. As we are faced with the certainty of increased extreme heat days, we need a human centered approach to hot weather (as with many things, such as housing — you know, shelter).
So while we wait for the world to get it together on mitigating climate change, here are a few things to look out for when it comes to heat stress: headaches, dizziness, weakness, and fatigue can all be indicators you need to get out of the heat. Give yourself permission to slow down, and stay cool.
Stay home if you can.
The economy can wait.