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I am writing to you from a refrigerated environment. A small room with a powerful air conditioner. Outside, temperatures range around 90F. Sounds hot, but not so extreme, right?
I have an extreme (therefore rare) form of heat intolerance. It is not a disease: I just lack the ability to acclimate to hotter temperatures before the average person. It is genetic, congenital and expressed since childhood. The frequency of people like me is higher in the Northern Hemisphere, with an European heritage. It is not exclusive, though.
If sufficiently exposed to heat over 28oC, I have a few circulatory symptoms. Over 32oC, severe circulatory symptoms and the beginning of skin allergies. Over 34oC, I might go into anaphylactic shock, with blisters all over my body and respiratory arrest. The number of hyperthermia episodes is now over 15. Hyperthermia can kill in less than half an hour if not immediately controlled. If identified early, cold bath and high ingestion of ice cold water may control it. It is a result of total disruption of thermoregulatory ability by the hypothalamus: you stop thermoregulating, which you can check by your inability to sweat, mental confusion, dizziness, feeling sleepy, nausea and headache.
I am living in imprisonment, as I will describe. Soon, you will all be. The trends in Global Warming have changed since the mid 2000s. Each Summer will be hotter and longer. Even if you don’t have the genetic inability to acclimate, with the fast rise in global temperature, you will all live the life I live now.
Every single environment you are in must be refrigerated. You cannot walk from one to the next, which makes it complicated for you to go shopping during the day and hot nights (and they will be the norm, not the exception). After all, you need to get to your car. If you can turn on your car’s AC from remote, good: you can do that, wait for about 5 minutes and run for it. As you run under the sun, your metabolism will react violently. You will get to your car panting, feeling sick, maybe throwing up and the rest of your day will be lost. Because you had to walk through a parking lot.
If you have dogs, you won’t be able to enjoy their company for months. You can barely feed them late at night.
If, like me, you feel an almost instinctive need to walk long distances to feel free, forget it: you will live imprisoned for months.
If you are a girl who cares for your looks, bad news: you will postpone going to the salon. Leaving your refrigerated environment will make you sick, so you will wait and wait.
You will buy enough food to last for two weeks and you won’t get a single package of ham or cheese besides that. One visit to the grocery store will leave you wasted for the rest of the day.
If you are an athlete, your metabolism will go crazy: you are not used to sitting the whole day. You can’t workout when you want, but when the temperature allows you to leave your refrigerated environment.
You can’t see your friends. You can’t see your family.
Depression will crawl in fast because the human body was not made to be immobile. You will understand what locked up men feel. You actually want to fight someone. Somebody has to take the blame for all the misery in your life. Useless: this is Global Warming, and it will only get worse, every year, until you die and long later.
This is how I live when I am in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course I am providing an alternative, which is to live half of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and half of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. This will be the only way for me to survive.
But think about what will happen in 5 or 10 years, when my type of reaction will be the rule, not the exception?
The period between 1983 and 2012 was probably the warmest 30 years in more than 800 years.