In the Sunshine State, July brings steamy weather and frequent downpours. While our friends and families up north relish being outdoors, Southwest Florida year-rounders must be particularly mindful of heat-related hazards and cautious about intense weather events – not only hurricanes but also flash floods and lighting. Over the past two and a half years, lightning strikes resulted in nine deaths in Florida, nearly all between June and September, with eight of these incidents occurring south of Orlando. Lightning is unpredictable, so while cutting short a good round of golf or an afternoon at the pool may put a damper on the day, it’s better to play it safe and head inside.
Experts cite rising summer temperatures as the cause of more “hot lightning” strikes, or strikes that channel electrical charges for an extended period, often spurring wildfires that lead to poor air quality. In June, severe smoke from approximately 160 wildfires in Quebec caused a “hazardous” air quality alert in New York City and other mid-Atlantic metropolitan areas and even led to air quality warnings in parts of the Midwest. The yellow-orange haze in New York was described as “living on Mars”, and air quality was on par with the most polluted cities in the world for several days! Residents were cautioned to remain indoors, and schools canceled outdoor activities. In Florida, air quality rarely falls to hazard levels. However, older residents and those with respiratory ailments should stay informed about local weather and limit outdoor activities even when dry heat causes an unhealthy rise in ground-level ozone or if wildfire causes excessive smoke conditions.
If you find yourself indoors on hot or smoky summer days, joining a climate-focused summer book club or binge-watching a TV series are entertainment options that can also raise climate knowledge. Growing Climate Solutions suggests signing up for a different kind of book club – a Carbon Crew Team – starting July 6th – to meet new friends, read Damon Gameau’s book 2040, and devise a personal plan for reducing your household’s carbon footprint. Carbon Crew leader, Josephine DeVincenzi is organizing a Carbon Crew that will meet for four consecutive Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm. Contact her at Jodev51@gmail.com if you are interested in being part of this cool book club and taking your next step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. On the lookout for a new show? Apple TV+ premiered Extrapolations this spring, an 8-part series depicting how people’s lives might look on a hot planet Earth. Below is our review, but we’d like to know your opinion…Please chime in on our Facebook page!
We encourage Collier County residents to remain attentive to the US Army CORPS of Engineers (USACE) Coastal Storm Risk Management Study (CRMS). In partnership with Collier County, the Corps and held three public meetings on June 21 and 22 to obtain feedback on alternative approaches arising from the April charettes and public input. While the formal public comment period ended on June 29th, the USACE team has stated that they will continue to accept informal comments past this point. Meetings between the USACE and Collier County’s advisory committee may begin over the summer, and we encourage readers to attend and voice concerns and preferences.
Finally, we are assembling an exciting line-up of speakers for the Fall Y&How Lunch and Learn series which takes place on the first Wednesday of each month at noon. To kick off the series this September, we look forward to welcoming Mr. Dan Summers, the Chief Emergency Management professional for Collier County, who will present Beyond Batteries and Bottled Water, a summary of tips and tools about thorough hurricane preparation. Later in the fall, the Good Foods Institute will discuss the rise in ‘alternative proteins’ — think Beyond Burger and Impossible Meat — and how to cook with them. We hope to continue the season with a second look at EV cars, taking a deeper dive into a topic also included in last season’s Y&How – stay tuned for updates on speakers and additional workshops!