US Becomes World's Hottest Country
Welp, it’s officially sweltering. Chickens are laying hard-boiled eggs, hot water’s coming out of both taps and seatbelt buckles are causing first degree burns. Back in the 2010s, Baghdad, Iraq was named the world’s hottest city, suffering temperatures as high as 120°F. But things change—it’s the United States’ turn to lead the pageant.
Recent reports say that some of Earth’s hottest places will be in the US this year, not some faraway dune-filled desert. California is “already experiencing a 26% increase in wildfire activity” according to CAL Fire and there are threats of drought conditions. What’s not to love?
The hottest spot is Death Valley, California. If the name weren’t enough to scare you off, this diabolical image should do the trick.
In 1913, Earth’s hottest recorded temperature—a whopping 134°F—was taken at Death Valley’s Furnace Creek. This week, temperatures are hanging comfortably in the mid 120s, making the Mojave Desert a contender for the title of world’s hottest. Coupled with droughts and the fact that we’re still a few days out from the summer solstice, it's safe to say things are looking steamy.
There’s never been a better time to befriend someone with a pool.
How Did We Get Here?
Despite warnings dating back as far as 1965, we’ve allowed pollution to spiral out of control and influence our climate. In 2016 alone, nearly 50 billion tons of CO2 made it into the atmosphere, 70% of which came from just 100 companies.
Greenhouse gases collect near the poles and reflect heat back on the planet, warming our oceans and melting the ice caps. The only way to stop things from getting worse is to cut out fossil fuels and prioritize renewable energy.
Unfortunately, thanks to unbelievably successful cover-ups from oil companies, many have doubts that CO2 emissions are a culprit, instead blaming Earth’s orbit cycles. Heat waves existed before man, deniers say, and heat waves will happen again.
Not only is this kind of apathy useless, it’s not even true! Yes, there were prehistoric heatwaves, but millennia-old ice cores show how temperatures today are anything but normal. In just 100 years, we’ve spanned the coldest and hottest temperatures of the last 11,000 years.
What Happens Next?
There’s plenty of data proving that humans are responsible for the recent spike in global temperatures—dying coral reefs, extended wildfire seasons, insect extinctions and more—but evidence alone may not do the trick.
The world’s governments need to enforce The Paris Agreement to stop the biggest polluters from recklessly destroying our habitat. On an individual level, skipping meat a few times a week is one of the best things you can do. Avoiding single-use plastics also helps. Finally, keep an open, constructive dialogue with your climate denier neighbors about the facts of climate change—especially if they have a pool.