The heat is very high in Britain. The U.K. recorded a temperature of 104.5 Farenheit at noon on Tuesday.
I want to explain why Death Valley is considered to be very hot here in London. Our summers used to include a couple of weeks in the early 20s, a good bit of rain, and people complaining that summer never really came this year. It's no longer possible. It's possible to bank on weather in the 20s, but also one week where it becomes impossible to remain sane as temperatures and tempers increase. We live in homes that were originally built to keep heat in, and so they are built to keep heat in. I have never lived in a place that had air conditioning. Most of us didn't know how to keep a house cool until a few years ago when this first started happening consistently, blithely leaving our windows open and saying "I'll just buy a fan if it gets hot"
What are we doing to deal with it? It's not well. The collective consciousness of the United Kingdom can be short-circuited by weather events. There will be British people in the parks because of the high temperatures. They think a cold bath is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity instead of hearing 40 degrees Celsius and thinking, "batten down the hatches, it's time for a cold bath." We can't understand what it means to live in that heat. When I went out to buy food, I found myself standing in front of an oven and not being able to remember how the shapes of the letters connect to the sounds you make.
All of our infrastructure was designed to be cooler. There has been a great deal of chaos. There were train tracks on fire, roads and airport runways melting, police smashing car windows to rescue boiling dogs, and beefeaters being given bottles of water to suckle from like baby goats. The parks in the south of England were like New Mexico.
The hotter it got, the more crazy the advice was. Don't put an ice pop in any of the body's less salubrious holes, carry frozen vegetables under your top on the train, and rub yourself with an onion. The heatwave madness is hilarious. The videos of a burnt Englishman yelling at a passerby about their right to enjoy a cocktail in their own wheelie bin are hilarious. Sky News ran splitscreen coverage of the heatwave with a live stream of the sun on one side like it was O.J. Simpson. It is ironic that Welsh pigs had to be lathered with suncream before the fair. One cinema chain gave away free tickets to ginger people. It was funny that chocolate deliveries were stopped because they remembered the summer of 1990 when the whole stock of a chocolate factory melted.
Some of it is not The climate crisis is on the verge of being written off. The professor told the Guardian that this is just the beginning. When our children are old enough, they will want a summer as cool as 2022, because 40C-plus heat will be a thing of the past. According to a news report, researchers are concerned that extreme heatwaves in Europe are occurring more rapidly than models suggest. They put these things in the freezer because nobody wants to read them while stuck in their house.
We were aware of all this. The heat became a culture war issue, not only because of climate change, but also because of the heat itself. People who haven't had a drink of water since they accidentally opened their mouth in the shower in the late 90's posted online about how allowing kids to wear their gym clothes instead of a school uniform is "woke bullshit." The author of an article said that people talking about the hot weather in relation to global warming is proof that climate change activists are medieval cults. The climate is getting hotter because the planet is moving closer to the sun according to James Whale. A weatherman on the right-wing news station was lambasted for not being excited for the heat and instead reporting on the deaths. The former energy and climate change minister said that this is not a brave new world but a "cowardly new world" where we are frightened of the heat. Since the beginning of the year, he has been given a salary of over $50,000.
It was raining in London last night. The rest of the summer is likely to be cloudy. This heatwave was a way to look at how fucked the country is for the climate crisis. It looks like the results do not look good.