Monday’s summer solstice followed an unsettling 13 consecutive months of record-setting heat on this planet, in a year that is on track to be, yet again, the hottest ever. Across the American West, warnings of dangerous heat have been issued, spanning four states and some 40 million people. At least five deaths have been attributed to the heat wave so far in Arizona, which hit 120 degrees in Yuma.
In Yosemite National Park, President Barack Obama, visiting with his family, noted the near disappearance of a glacier that once covered a mile of the valley. “Climate change is no longer a threat,” he said. “It’s a reality.”
Temperatures this high are not something to mess with, and every toddler left in a hot car or hiker who gets lost without sufficient water inspires fresh reminders. So respect this heat. Wear sunscreen. Avoid alcohol. Drink plenty of water. If you work outside, hydrate; if you’re an employer, provide shade, rest periods and at least a quart of water an hour for each employee.
Never miss a local story.
Don’t leave children, elderly people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes. Don’t leave children unattended near a pool, and even if you aren’t using your pool, lock your pool gates.
Temperatures this high are not something to mess with, and every toddler left in a hot car or hiker who gets lost without sufficient water inspires fresh reminders.
If you see a dog panting alone in a hot car, call an animal control agency or 911. Though state lawmakers are weighing a well-publicized bill allowing Good Samaritans to free such trapped pets, it hasn’t passed yet.
If you go to the river or the lakes to cool off, use life preservers. (This video at sacb.ee/6Dsy will show you how to save yourself from drowning if you get caught in a current.)
Meanwhile, be a good citizen. Don’t smoke or take matches onto wildlands or hiking areas. The operators of the power grid in California have asked that customers conserve energy to avoid power outages.
State officials decided in May to let urban water suppliers self-certify that their water reserves are sufficient.
Now is a good time to consider changing some habits or invest in upgrades that will make your home more energy efficient. Every little bit helps, even in an apocalypse.