How many days of heat wave will there be this summer? Regardless of the answer, it is certain that the conditions will remain enduring compared to those already experienced by many inhabitants of this planet.
South Asia has just gone through the worst heat wave in its history for the month of April. In China as in India, a large number of records have been broken; in Thailand, the mercury exceeded 45°C, a first; in Bangkok, the temperature felt even reached 54°C. Given the extreme heat and humidity that combine in this part of the world, certain scenarios published in recent years in scientific journals suggest that South Asia will be one of the first potentially uninhabitable regions. by the end of the century.
A study echoed by the review The Lancet has also just analyzed the excess mortality produced by excessive temperatures in 854 European cities since the beginning of the 2000s. From 2000 to 2019, the cold killed 10 times more people than the heat, but specialists believe that the trend will reverse. And in which city on the continent is the heat currently causing the most deaths? In Paris. Hence the interest of the new urban plan of the French capital, which prioritizes adaptation to climate change.
It is therefore planned to create around ten parks, multiply the islands of greenery, protect the existing trees and continue the revegetation of all the schoolyards by 2050. An approach that, in my opinion, all major cities will eventually have to adopt.
The ideal would of course be to change our consumption habits and our lifestyles. Ah, closing shops and offices to dive into a Mediterranean siesta on an afternoon of intense heat! However, it seems that more air conditioning will be used — which will only accentuate climate disturbances.
But researchers also believe that the human body will develop its endurance. A special experiment is underway on this subject under the aegis of the Human Adaptation Institute (official name of a research group that is indeed French!).
Over a period of six months, 20 Europeans aged 25 to 52 and coming from different backgrounds were sent to three regions with extreme temperatures: Guyanese humid forest, polar lands of Lapland, northern Finland, then Saudi Arabian desert. 40-day expeditions to each location.
The objective of this scientific mission, called Deep Climate (sigh…), is to verify how, physically and psychologically, ordinary people manage to adapt to such climatic variations. Until now, such tests had been conducted either in the laboratory or with targeted groups, such as the military or athletes.
The results will be known at the end of 2024, but the daily Release recently devoted an interesting report to this experience… which made me exclaim: we could have conducted this investigation in Quebec!
Thus, the article evokes the “very versatile cold Lapland”, where the temperature varies between – 10°C and – 30°C, with sudden storms. I found this exoticism very familiar! And then, I must admit, the fear of the cold expressed by the members of the mission made me smile.
At the same time, I understood better that if railing against winter is a national sport of Quebecers and ends up making us laugh, we forget how it is not trivial at all to endure so much cold and snow.
Nor is it to plunge then into a spring where you can experience all the seasons in a single week — from the ice to the heat, like this year! As for the summer, it sometimes turns out to be just as overwhelming as the worst times of winter.
The 40-day blocks experienced by Deep Climate participants follow one another year after year in Quebec. Are we aware of the collective adaptation and resistance this requires? Isn’t that the real secret of our solidarity, which caused so much debate this spring when Prime Minister François Legault attributed it to Catholicism?
Science supports my hypothesis. Indeed, the Deep Climate experience already shows that fighting the cold brings people together. As one of the participants said, this revives “the primitive instinct of survival to unite”. More than elsewhere, the stay in Lapland developed the mutual aid within the group.
This is not to brag, but I had highlighted this trait as early as 2019 in my essay I redid the most beautiful trip : winter in Quebec means solidarity! It’s in “gang” pushing a car stuck in the snow. This affects our whole way of life.
Let us measure our privilege of being so hardened to face the disturbances of the future.