A few days ago, I went into my company’s Midtown Manhattan office for a team lunch. I work most of the time remotely but enjoy switching up my schedule and connecting with my team face-to-face.
However, as soon as I stepped out of Grand Central that morning, I was hugged by a thick blanket of heat. There was no cool breeze! I walked quickly down Lexington Avenue. I was eager to get away from the heat and humidity and into the AC of the skyscraper, I work in.
By 11 AM, our COO sent out an office-wide email. Due to the excessive heat, authorities were worried about the power grid. They feared the strain of thousands of AC units throughout the city, needed to alleviate the scorching temperatures, would lead to power surges and outages. So as a preventative measure, we had to turn off all lights and unplug any electronics that were not essential. Employees with workstations and desks close to windows had to keep their blinds up and use natural light. The rest of us worked with nothing but the blue light of our computers to guide us.
We remained in these conditions from the time we received the email at 11 AM until roughly 4:30. My office, as far as I know, adhered to the same schedule the following day, and the building will continue to do so while this heat advisory is in effect.
I had no qualms about complying with this request. I understood the necessity of it and wanted to do whatever I could to decrease the chance of overwhelming the power grid. But the increasing temperatures and extreme heat that has been seen throughout much of the USA and Western Europe troubled me. Every year we now hear of raging wildfires in California and life-threatening heat. The warnings are flashing. Something is very wrong with Mother Earth.
But during this extreme weather, many in America believe and insist that everything is fine. But the climate doesn’t feel or look fine from where I’m standing. And as much as the doubters insist everything is fine, deep down, I believe all of us know that it is not. If we in New York must start worrying about power grid failures when the temperature hits the upper 90s, what will happen if the day comes when average summer temperatures reach 100 or higher? It appears that we are not ready and are not making the changes needed to exist with the extreme weather that climate change is bringing.