As per NASA’s definition, global warming is “the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released as people burn fossil fuels.” This increase in temperature has grown exponentially in recent times. According to a World Bank report, warming of close to 1.5°C above pre-industrial times is already locked into Earth’s atmospheric system by past and predicted greenhouse gas emissions.
This rise in temperatures is most notable in cities due to the so-called “ urban heat island” effect. This is caused by the concentration of people, vehicles, buildings and machinery, all of which generate heat. However, the biggest contributor to the urban heat island effect is the replacement of plants by concrete, according to the Smithsonian’s article.
Deforestation and increased pollution have caused Paraguay’s capital Asunción to be recognized as the hottest city in the world. World Wildlife Fund had an interesting idea to raise awareness amongst Paraguayans about the dangerous effects of global warming. With a local chef, they organized an outdoor restaurant with a “Global Warming menu” cooked directly on the hot asphalt of the street.
This event attracted attention from the local media, which broadcasted and reported about the cookout event and in turn helped to bring the issue of deforestation and global warming to the spotlight. Hopefully, initiatives like this will spur action to mitigate global warming. Planting more trees on the streets, creating more green spaces in cities, using ecofriendly transportation and a reasonable use of air conditioning devices and other machinery that use electricity and generate heat are some examples of measures that can be taken to reduce the urban heat island effect.
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