In summer 2022, Europe was struggling with an extreme heatwave. In many countries, the temperature rose above 40ºC. In Spain and Portugal, over 1,000 people died of heat-related causes in one day. In the UK, which hasn’t had such weather in almost half a century, since the deadly heatwave of 1976, the sun literally melted the asphalt. Not only that, the heatwave also fuelled wildfires throughout the continent, forcing many people to flee their homes.
The thing is, we knew it was coming, because scientists (and Greta Thunberg) had been warning us for years and years. Yet some people still question the reality of climate change. Right before the heatwave peak, there was a tragicomic interview on GB News: a weatherman was warning about the heatwaves becoming more and more common, lengthy and extreme, and the TV hosts just laughed it off. The social media couldn’t help but notice the similarity to a scene in Don’t Look Up, in which news anchors refuse to hear about the coming apocalypse.
Perhaps, this heatwave becomes the wake-up call for humanity. Unless we do something right now, not only will it repeat in the future, but it will get even worse. The 2022 heatwave is the result of mere 2ºF of global warming, but scientists say that by the end of the century, it will be another 4ºF. It all comes down to greenhouse gas emissions. While we cannot really influence large corporations, we can each take some simple steps to reduce the damage: use less plastic, cut down on meat consumption, switch from car to bike, give up fast fashion, plant a tree, and generally be more attentive to the environment.