It's getting hotter still

Wayne
Campbell

Monday, July 15, 2019

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Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening. — James Hansen

Did you feel the intense heat on Saturday, June, 22, 2019? Perhaps not! Jamaica's tropical climate makes the island warm for most of the year, so many of us had no idea that June, 22, 2019 was different. Jamaica registered the highest temperatures ever recorded in Kingston on that day.

According to the Met Office, the record temperatures were equivalent to just over 39.1 degrees Celsius or 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it was that hot!

Is the world getting warmer? Definitively so!

How have you been coping with the summer heat? It seems that the days are longer and the nights seem punishingly hotter. The average Jamaican home does not have air-conditioning. Of course, we would all like the comfort of having air-conditioning in our homes, but the economic reality dictates otherwise. In many homes you will find standing fans in almost every room; that is the best most of us can do. A number of church denominations have adjusted their mode of dress during the summer months of June, July and August in order to facilitate members and visitors alike to wear appropriate summer wear to church. This has been a welcome relief! It is not unusual to see congregants in jeans and sandals at church on a Sunday morning in their summer wear.

On the other hand, the workplace does not make possible such flexibility regarding dress code for their employees. Men, in particular, are not readily afforded the flexibility in their dress code. Men who hold executive positions are still required to tie and suit up in both the public and private sectors in this hot weather.

According to NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), the average global temperature on the planet has increased by 0.8 Degrees Celsius since 1880. The truth is we do not pay enough attention to matters of the environment. There are many who continue to deny the existence of climate change and global warming. We continue to destroy the atmosphere almost daily. Our oceans and beaches are polluted. Our fishes are now eating plastic and are dying.

In a study published by the Nature Climate Science Journal found a link was established between warmer summer temperatures fuelled by summer heat and the death of numerous fish in Wisconsin. Andrew Rypel, a fish biologist at the University of California, said, “What we're really documenting here is how climate change is going to affect the composition of ecosystems, how populations can go away, and how species can die.”

An article published in the local newspapers on April 8, 2019 reported that Professor Mona Webber, a marine scientist, sounded a warning that the Kingston Harbour is seeing high levels of contamination that could pose serious health risks for individuals who visit popular spots along the coastline for recreational swimming and fishing. The level of pollution from faeces and harmful chemicals is so high that Professor Webber, director of marine sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona, said the water should not come in contact with human skin. Kingston Harbour ins Jamaica is the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world.

SDG #13

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 13 speaks to climate action and the urgency with which humanity must act to combat the negative effects of climate change. It is obvious that with rising greenhouse gas emissions, climate change is happening at rates much faster than projected, and its effects are being felt globally.

According to the United Nations, in 2017 greenhouse gas concentrations reached new heights, with globally averaged mole fractions of CO2 at 405.5 parts per million up from 400.1 in 2015. Deforestation results in an increase in CO2 and other greenhouses gases, which increase the Earth's temperature. We all are connected in this global village, and therefore whatever one country does or fails to do will have an impact on the rest of us.

Hurricanes are developing before the official start of the season. They are more powerful and destructive than ever before. Unfortunately, hurricanes are also forming outside of the official end of the season as well. All these weather phenomena are directly related to climate change and global warming and the experts tell us that the worse is yet to come.

Keeping hydrated

It is very important to keep yourself hydrated, especially during the summer months. The more your body sweats is the more fluids you need to replace.

Have you been noticing how much you've been perspiring?

It is recommended that you drink water instead of sugary and alcoholic beverages in order to keep yourself hydrated. During this time of extremely hot weather one runs the risk of getting heat stroke, heat rash, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. There are those who prefer fruits and vegetables, so if you fall into that category its very much fine to eat your water. Some prefer to chill or freeze their fruits and vegetables, and that is just okay. A number of fruits and vegetables come readily to mind, such as coconuts, watermelon, oranges, and cucumber. I strongly suggest that we all invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it close to us filled with water. Some of us prefer adding natural flavouring to the water. There is nothing wrong with adding a slice of lemon, cranberries, strawberries, or cucumbers, as this is much better than drinking a soda which can be so tempting.

Many of us have a concern regarding the type of fabric and colours that should be worn during the hot summer days. It is advisable to wear clothing made of breathable materials such as cotton, linen and jersey. Synthetic or man-made materials tend to absorb both moisture and heat leaving you feeling hot.

A sunscreen is also a good idea. Many moisturisers have the sun protection factor (SPF) included, which is useful in blocking the harmful ultraviolet rays.

Amidst all the negative news, there are opportunities abound for new industries and new technologies.

Mother Earth is speaking to us. Are we listening? Climate change is real! We should all brace ourselves for hotter days, as well as nights.

In the words of Frances Beinecke, the science tells us that if we fail to reduce global warming pollution, global temperatures will rise to dangerous levels and unleash devastating extreme weather events and accelerate destructive sea level rise.

Wayne Campbell is an educator and social commentator with an interest in development policies as they affect culture and or gender issues. Send comments to the Observer or waykam@yahoo.com.


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