Hello Mom, Hello Dad: Summer Camp Is Getting Much Hotter


Summer camp is a haven for millions of children every year. But Climate change, affecting so many aspects of our lives, is upending the camping experience., same time. I interviewed the administrators of camps in the United States to ask how the warming planet is changing little bits of paradise. These people tend to be keen observers of the natural world (why else would you put up with camp food and mosquitoes?) and had a lot to say.

Many places are warming up, of course, and some camps in the Pacific Northwest have changed their schedules to avoid exposing their children to the worst heat dome in recent times. But they also observed other phenomena that climate scientists say are consistent with climate change. The manager of the Michigan camp cited more frequent heavy rainstorms, harmful algal blooms, and – uh – a tick burst. “We’re doing tick checks now,” he said. They also teach their campers about the changing climate as part of their mission to connect with the natural world.

I visited Camp Longhorn in the Texas Hill Country, where I was a camper in the 1960s. Amazing place now in the summer of 82. The landscape around the camp is cedar and live oak, yucca and fig; rocks and boulders are covered with colorful lichens. It was also incredibly hot, heading into the 90s at 10am when I arrived, but being in Inks Lake helps bring the temperature down.

“It’s not hot – it’s summer time!” Said Bill Robertson, who runs the camp and is the son of founder Tex Robertson.

He said he wasn’t completely convinced about climate change. But Longhorn is doing the kinds of things that will help campers overcome the heat that other camps are increasingly having to do as local temperatures climb:

  • Keeping the kids wet. fountains. Activities in the water include swimming, sailing, and the “Blob”: a 30-foot-long and six-foot-wide, bouncing, slippery floating mat and great fun to jump off a diving board. (The original blob was a bag of military surplus fuel in the 1960s, but has been replaced over the years with custom-made versions that do not contain potentially dangerous metal fittings.)

  • Humidification, hydration, hydration. Many campers carry water bottles, and all use the Old Face-full, a water fountain that sends an elusive stream into the air.

Mr Robertson said these and other techniques are part of the Camp Longhorn tradition. “We didn’t build the road,” he said. “We’re just protecting.”

If you live anywhere in the United States or Canada, it goes without saying that June is a hot month. Temperature records fell across North America, especially in the last week of the month when Washington, Oregon and British Columbia were swept up by an extraordinary heat wave.

European scientists have now put the past month in perspective. it was Hottest June on record For the continent, they say, dwarfs June 2012 by about a quarter degrees Fahrenheit. And it was about 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the June average from 1991 to 2020. Climate change continues.

Heat increases the risk of fire: The small town of Lytton in British Columbia broke Canadian temperature records for three consecutive days, reaching 121 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it fell victim to one of the effects of all the heat: a forest fire that swept through the town and destroyed most of the buildings.

Climate change is contributing to worsening heatwaves. One of the consequences is that people can no longer count on a snooze: cooler evening temperatures. Here’s how high nighttime temperatures could make heatwaves more deadly.

Electric heat pumps are one way cool and heat homes at a much lower carbon cost better than traditional air conditioners and ovens.

Can nature help us cope with and even reverse the environmental messes we create?

The answer from scientists and environmental planners is a resounding yes. Can nature provide a free pass to avoid getting rid of fossil fuels quickly? There is a resounding answer from scientists on this subject too: No. No way.

But given the temperature curve our climate is on and the damage already done, life on Earth needs all the help we can get. In this article, I looked at a nature-based solution: urban trees.

Big cities are warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet. Air conditioning helps of course, but it does so by burning more fossil fuels. And imagine the disaster of a serious power outage during an extreme heat wave.

Trees not only cool, but also store carbon. It also removes air pollution, nurtures wildlife, absorbs rainwater and improves people’s physical and mental health. Yet despite efforts to plant trees, American cities and towns lose the top of 36 million trees each year.

I decided to find out why, starting with Des Moines. read my article is here.

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