Tuesday, March 21 - Wednesday, March 22, 2023 Living with Extreme Heat: Our Shared Future
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We have been talking about the impacts of global warming for decades, but policymakers have only just begun to address the threat of extreme heat. Click here to read the colloquium report and thought pieces from participants.
The past eight years have been the warmest on record, with heatwaves affecting every region around the world – often with grave consequences for people’s lives and livelihoods. Heatwaves are of especially critical concern in cities, where the built environment traps and amplifies heat, and entire neighborhoods can become heat islands.
As with any natural disaster, heatwaves hit the most vulnerable the hardest, increasing morbidity among the sick, elderly, and those communities with the least resources to adapt or protect themselves – locally and globally.
With the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicting that heatwaves will become both hotter and longer, policies are urgently needed to build resilience to extreme heat. To explore potential policy solutions, Perry World House convened its 2023 Global Shifts Colloquium, “Living with Extreme Heat: Our Shared Future.”
The first day of the colloquium was dedicated to policy exploration through an experts meeting. The workshop convened medical doctors, public health experts, urbanists, architects, engineers, academics, and government representatives, among others, to address the impacts of extreme heat on public health, food security, labor and vulnerable urban communities. With a focus on policy solutions and technical innovations, expert discussions were structured around four panels;
Healthcare: exploring how to best incorporate heat into care planning, including attention to mental and children’s health.
Food Security: investigating how agriculture and livestock can adapt to cope with extreme temperatures and drought.
Labor: looking into how heatwaves affect labor productivity and policies to protect vulnerable workers including migrants, women, and informal laborers.
Cities: investigating policies that can protect vulnerable urban communities and advance creative technologies to meet cities’ energy demands and adaptation needs in the context of extreme heat.
Photo by Eddy Marenco
The colloquium also featured two public events. The first was a conversation with the chief heat officers of Monterrey, Mexico; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Santiago, Chile; and Miami-Dade County, as well as UN-Habitat’s Global Chief Heat Officer. This conversation laid out how chief heat officers develop and coordinate cohesive city government responses to extreme heat, and the challenges and opportunities they encounter.
“In a warming world, chief heat officers help adapt, prepare, and protect”: Learn more about the chief heat officers and their work in this Penn Today article previewing the colloquium.
Photo by Eddy Marenco
The second event of the colloquium was a keynote discussion with bestselling author and journalist Jeff Goodell. He discussed his forthcoming book, The Heat Will Kill You First, which explores how heat is changing society and emphasizes the urgent need to prepare for a drastically warmer future.
Watch the conversation on our YouTube channel. Please note that this recording will only be available until April 21, 2023.