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Help during heat waves

Rachel Marsden thinks the British are trying to impose what she calls the “nanny” state because they are declaring the current heat wave a national emergency and advising people to work from home, drink more water, and avoid travel. She thinks the Brits can jolly well take care of themselves if they are too hot.

But heat waves are hardest on the most vulnerable in society, and they need all the help and education governments can offer. Deaths from heat are completely preventable, but the conservatives’ hands-off approach to people’s welfare increases the likelihood that summer heat waves will result in many deaths.

Since 1979 over 11,000 Americans have suffered heat-related deaths. And the most vulnerable are the elderly, those in nursing homes, those who live alone, young children, African Americans disproportionately, and the homeless. These are not people who can take care of themselves. The CDC recommends various kinds of outreach to these populations including education and offering cooling centers and encouraging states and local communities to have plans to respond to prolonged heat waves.

Marsden sees all this as an effort to use climate change and its effects as an excuse to extend government control of people’s lives. In fact, it is the failure of governments at all levels to protect the vulnerable that has led to so many deaths and so much suffering from the effects of climate change. And without significant government action here and all over the world, it will only get worse.

ELLEN BLAIS

Mansfield

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom

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