Before this July, I’d never thought so much about the perilous heat and the impossibility of escaping it.
In Changsha, the air was hot and heavy and the walk from my Spanish styled house to the office was dreadful, but worth the fifteen minutes of pain, because the house and the office were my oasis.
In the South of Spain, the sun was killer, but two feet away, in the shade, the temperature was pleasant (almost).
In Mexico, there was the Gulf.
Now, I live further from the equator than I ever have before and in the past few weeks somewhere between 50 and 100 gallons of sweat have seeped from my pores. Soon I’ll qualify as a tributary for a third world country!
Because my apartment building’s roof hasn’t been taken over by the grassroots initiative, White Roof Project?
Because I don’t live in NYC where the city-backed project, NYC CoolRoofs, works with property owners to incentivize covering roofs with reflective rather than absorbent material/color!
These programs are so good and so necessary. So many senseless, needless deaths and injuries occur due to heat exhaustion and cutting down on the heat island effect (cities are 15% hotter than suburbs during the day and 22% hotter than suburbs at night!!!) is a no-brainer. OR at least it should be! The simple act of painting a roof white reflects 70% of the sun – keeping top floor apartments significantly cooler (read: bearable!). Bonus: it reduces our impact on global warming.
Outside of NYC, there is hope… politicians like Bill Clinton, writing for Newsweek (and might I add looking very dapper with his arms thrown in the air under the title “it’s still the economy stupid”!) , are looking at this movement as a way to reduce the impact of the heat waves AND put people (like my favorite sometimes-painter, Norm Peterson) back on the payroll (for a while too – there are a lot of black roofs out there… google map it!).