Hot, and Getting Hotter
Baked into the landscape of Los Angeles is a sneaky threat to public health: heat. Concrete and asphalt have pushed LA’s average temperature 6 degrees higher than the desert around it. Climate change is making this urban heat island hotter still.
IT'S GETTING (DANGEROUSLY) HOT IN HERRE...
On this week's episode we talk about why certain communities are more vulnerable to catastrophic weather events like hurricanes and heat waves. Saying "mother nature doesn't discriminate," ignores the fact that discrimination exacerbates her wrath.
Urban heat, where you live
In their San Fernando Valley apartment, Marcela Herrera and her son, Edwin Diaz, are warriors against heat. But Southern California is a huge sprawling battlefront.
"In Los Angeles especially, in the last five to ten years, we’re seeing that air conditioning and cooling systems are becoming more of a necessity," says one housing advocate. "And it’s affecting people every year."
Hot classrooms, hotter playgrounds
August and September have long been Southern California’s hottest months: which means students go back to classrooms at the worst, most expensive time. Teachers, too, feel the heat.
An environmental and labor economist has found that students taking a test when it’s a sweltering 90 degrees out are 12 percent more likely to fail compared to students taking a test when it’s a balmy 72.
"Hot temperature can matter in this acute way on a high stakes exam," he says. "But it might also matter in terms of sort of the slow burn rate this cumulative effect over time."
WILL COOLER CITIES PREVAIL?
The City of Los Angeles has declared war on the urban heat island effect, by focusing on landscape-level changes that could cool the city down. But it's got a long way to go to get there.