The Lancet’s Countdown on Health and Climate Change for 2020 offers a pretty sobering assessment of the impacts of climate change. As I noted the last time I posted about one of these reports, it’s important to remember that, while flooding and sea level rise get much of the attention, heat waves cause much of the harm to public health.
I found this statistic particularly sobering.
In the past two decades, heat-related mortality for older persons has almost doubled, reaching a record high 19,000 deaths in 2018.
Last time around, I rejected Heat Wave for Robert Frost, on the ground that Heat Wave was too upbeat. However, since we’re entering the holiday season at the crest of a pandemic, I think we need upbeat. In fact, sobering may be the last thing any of us needs right now.
Therefore, with the holiday in view, and with the recognition that extreme heat and extreme storms are both increased and exacerbated by climate change, I offer not one, but two songs by Ethel Waters. Stay safe and stay upbeat. The new year starts on January 20, 2021.