Is It Too Hot for Fun in the Summertime?
Newsletter Extreme weather is upending the way we experience the season. Last week I got an email that I was dreading. Good afternoon parents, began the message from Camp Combe in Putnam Valley, New York. It is with a heavy heart that we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2023 camp season. Due to the recent severe storms, the camp has sustained extensive damage. Nine days earlier, a slow moving weather system dumped torrential amounts on the East coast, . Now the day camp that my two children had attended for the past four years leaving them reliably exhausted and happy was done for the year. Cynthia Delfino, the chief executive of the YMCA of Central North Westchester, said that what remains of Camp Combe is now an odorous, mucky mess. Weve never, ever, ever had something like this, she told me. But this is the new normal we need to prepare for. For people around the world, summer has long been something to look forward to a sometimes lazy, sometimes frenetic, hopefully sunny few months when the days get longer and time itself seems to stretch out. In many countries, children get a respite from the school year. Families embark on road trips, camping expeditions and beach sojourns. And while summer is by no means canceled, theres no getting around the fact that extreme heat, flash floods and poor air quality all of which are made worse by climate change are now upending the way that billions of people around the globe experience the season. Summer camps have been disrupted from New England to Greece, where 1,200 children had to be as flames approached. A camp in Sardinia limited beach access to the early morning and canceled outdoor sports. Climate change is also altering leisure time in India. For centuries, that began around June ushered in a particular joie de vivre, . She remembers that summer used to be a time of abandon of ice creams and holidays in the mountains. But Indias rainy season has recently become more violent and unpredictable. amid unusually heavy downpours that pummeled the northern part of the country and caused widespread damage earlier this month. The British government is in Spain, Italy and Greece. Major tourist sites, including the Acropolis in Athens, have closed because of heat. And in Florida, jumping in the ocean is no longer a reliable way to cool off when ocean surface temperatures are (38 Celsius). In Australia, summers have become overshadowed by fears of extreme heat and out-of-control wildfires, like the ones that devastated much of the country in January 2020. I love summer, its my favorite season. I like to be warm, said Ellie Cooper, a therapist in Adelaide. But loving summer makes me feel guilty and scared because of the threat of bushfires. Its not hard to imagine a future where summer no longer conjures up innocent visions of ice cream, sunbathing and swimming. This July is on track to be , the European Union climate monitor said on Thursday. And future years look to be even hotter, as humankinds emissions of heat-trapping gases are compounded by the recurring climate pattern known as El Nino, which is just getting started. Humans always find ways to adapt, and already, people are finding ways to navigate new seasonal extremes. My colleague Elda Cantu, who recently wrote about , said that in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, the governor had announced a public campaign for people to donate air-conditioning units to schools. Trackers, a summer camp in Oregon, has taken over an old Marshalls department store in downtown Portland and converted it into an indoor facility for , The Atlantic reports. In Canada, summer camps equip children on canoe trips with N-95 masks in case wildfire smoke gets thick, . Cabins are equipped with air-conditioners, and campers stay inside to avoid the sun during the heat of the day. During an unprecedented wildfire season, counselors are making pretend fires out of cardboard painted red and orange. And theyre sitting around that giant fire, still singing songs. Even in cities where heat is nothing new, extreme temperatures are forcing people to adjust. In Rio de Janeiro, Rita Fernandes, the president of a leading carnival association, remembers seeing people fall sick in one street party as noon approached earlier this year. It was unbearable, she said. The ground was boiling, heat was rising from the asphalt. But Fernandes said the party will go on. Some carnival festivities already start as early as 7 a.m., and may soon start even earlier. Maybe people can all jump in the sea with their costumes on, she said. But the party wont end. Vegans are good for the planet. You probably knew that already. But my colleague Cara Buckley from the University of Oxford: People who eat only plant-based food are responsible for 75 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than those who eat more than 3.5 ounces of meat a day. (Thats less than a quarter pound burger patty, by the way.) Researchers followed the diets of 55,500 people in the United Kingdom and used data from 38,000 farms in 119 countries to reach that conclusion. Food systems are responsible for about , but meat products are by far the most costly to the climate and the environment. Compared to meat-heavy diets, vegan diets resulted in 75 percent less land use, 54 percent less water use, and 66 percent less biodiversity loss, the study showed. This reinforces the message that the amount of meat we consume is strongly related with our environmental footprint, the studys lead author, Peter Scarborough, told Cara. Small changes from being a high meat eater to a low meat eater can make a huge difference in environmental impact. If youre curious about exploring ways to eat less meat to help the planet, . Seven major automakers, including General Motors and BMW, said they would . The Supreme Court issued a temporary decision to clear the way for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, . A new Agriculture Department report, reviewed by E&E News, predicts that U.S. forests will start quickly losing their ability to . Hayley Smit of the Los Angeles Times wrote about of interviewing a hiker in Death Valley who died a few hours later, most likely from the heat. President Biden will announce new measures to . The Washington Post used thermal images to show how Phoenix is using technology and cool surfaces to . Climate change is a major factor in this summers . today, as spiking temperatures and a blanket of oppressive humidity prompted widespread heat warnings in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. The heat will probably peak in the region on Friday, when about 118 million Americans, more than a third of the population, were expected to be in the danger zone, where the heat index a measure that combines temperature and humidity would rise into the 100s, according to a New York Times analysis of National Weather Service and U.S. Census Bureau data. Over the next few days, New York City could see its hottest stretch of the year. Read . If you appreciate what youre reading, please consider recommending it to others. They can . Browse all of our . Reach us at . We read every message, and reply to many! is a correspondent on the Climate desk, covering the intersection of public policy and the private sector. Follow him on and Twitter.