Education: “Heat: Effects on the Elderly and Other Vulnerable Populations”

"Heat: Effects on the Elderly and Other Vulnerable Populations"

The increasing frequency and intensity of heat waves due to climate change significantly threaten vulnerable populations, especially the elderly. Past events like the 2003 European and 1995 Chicago heat waves show the deadly impact of extreme heat, causing illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Models predict up to 97,000 annual premature heat-related deaths in the U.S. by the late 21st century if high greenhouse gas emissions continue. Social vulnerabilities, particularly in historically redlined urban areas, exacerbate risks for marginalized communities. Addressing this crisis requires both policy changes to reduce emissions and community efforts to improve resilience and protect vulnerable individuals from extreme heat.

Dr. Alan Lockwood, resident at Kendal at Oberlin, as been generous enough to share a 9-page pamphlet he has written on this topic titled, “Heat: Effects on the Elderly and Other Vulnerable Populations” for Physicians for Social Responsibility.

A quote in the epilogue is particularly impactful:

The solution is to halt the climate emergency; mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the threats posed by this crisis. Herculean tasks require herculean efforts. The forces of ignorance and greed propelled by disinformation are powerful but not insurmountable. There is very little time to act. But act we must if the legacy we leave behind is to be one of triumph and pride.”

Heat and the Elderly and Vulnerable Populations