350 Milwaukee is happy to introduce a new column by one of our members that will appear periodically. We'll let her introduce herself:
Hi! I’m Michelle.
I’m an engineer, a mother of 2, and a member of 350MKE. Since I’m very passionate about protecting our environment and climate, I like to participate in environmental orgs like 350. I’m originally from Milwaukee, but now I live in Switzerland. With climate change, it’s good to have a global perspective, so to provide a European viewpoint, I’ll be sharing “Climate Perspectives from Europe”. I hope you find them interesting.
Please send me your thoughts and questions. You can reach me at [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or on Instagram @environmentalist_mama ([link removed]) . I look forward to connecting virtually or in-person when I’m in Milwaukee visiting family.
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This Summer’s Heat Wave:
You may have seen headlines about the recent heat waves in Europe. But what is it actually like to live here? I live with my husband and 2 young kids in Switzerland. In our city, the average high temp in July is 78°F. This summer, we were in the upper 80s and 90s (up to 97°F) for weeks in a row. Only 10% of homes in Switzerland have AC, and our apartment is not one of them. So we were sweaty and uncomfortable. I worried about the safety of my children as they slept in the heat. We did what many people do when it’s hot and there’s no AC: We put blankets in the freezer, slept with ice packs, took cold showers before bed. And on the fun side, we went to the pool and beach many times, ate popsicles, and enjoyed fun moments with our kids.
So why don’t more people have AC over here? There are multiple reasons: in some areas, special permits are needed to install AC. Plus, our apartment, like many homes, has windows that swing open like doors. So it’s difficult to add window units.
During this heat wave, I learned about broken jet streams. Since the Arctic is warming up so much, the jet streams are altered compared to "normal" which then causes weather systems to linger over a given region (like Europe). What would have been a hot day here or there is now weeks of continuous hot days.
We are thankful that personally for us, the heat wave was not dangerous. In fact, even with the heat, we had a really good summer. Unfortunately, thousands of people in Europe lost their lives to the heat. And heat waves are tragic everywhere in the world. India, United States, North Africa, the Middle East, and China all had extreme heat this year.
So, let’s keep climate action at the front of our attention. We have the solutions, and together, we can make a difference!
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