The severe heat that is gripping much of Canada can have serious consequences for our physical and mental health. And with climate change making these heat waves more common, we're going to have to learn to cope. Today, we look at strategies for how to do that.

Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current


It's Thursday, July 21.

An unrelenting heat wave continues to burn across most of the country with temperatures in the 30's and no sign of ending.

Currently Environment Canada blames a tropical air mass, Climate change activists blame global warming and Sun TV blames arts funding to dance troupes.

This is the Current.

Heat: David Phillips

Don't worry, I'm not going to ask if it's hot enough for you. If you live in one of the prairie provinces or in Central Canada (or anywhere across a huge swath of the United States) I think I know what your answer would be.

A heat dome is squatting over much of North America, and it hasn't exactly been a pleasuredome, unless you love extreme heat. Records have been shattered across the continent. Power grids are straining to meet the demand for air conditioning. Hospitals have been kept busy with heat-related illnesses. Roads have buckled from the heat. And in Iowa, the humidex cracked 52 degrees Celsius, which means it felt like 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Today's heat could produce the highest temperature ever recorded in Toronto.

So we get it. For most of us, it's hot. Damn hot. For some context, and possibly some commiseration, we were joined by David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

Heat: Lea Berrang Ford

Heat waves don't produce obvious and spectacular destruction the way tornadoes, floods and hurricanes do. But they can still be dangerous. For more on the public health consequences of heat waves, we heard from Lea Berrang Ford. She's an epidemiologist and a geographer at McGill University in Montreal.

Heat: David Strohmetz

Well, weather - steamy, stormy, or strange - can have an impact on our behaviour too. We ended this segment with David Strohmetz, a professor of psychology at Monmouth University in New Jersey. He was on holiday at a campground in Davenport, Florida this morning.

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