In today’s society, climate change is having a big effect on how we live in our daily life. One major problem that residents in New York City are facing is the heatwave during summer time. Heatwaves are prolonged periods of hot weather which can cause heat stroke, seizure, dizziness and altered mental state. At first glance, this may not look like a huge deal, since all you have to do is stay inside a building with air conditioning. Another solution to fighting the heat is to find a pubic pool which is open from 11am to 8pm. However, the majority of people living in the five boroughs of the city use public transpiration or the MTA, to travel. In these train stations, reports show that the temperature in a subway station can rise up 104 degrees Fahrenheit, as was seen at the 14th Street Union Square station at 1:00 pm on a summer day. The average temperature recorded in this station was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It important to note that these temperatures reflect the temperature outside which can be 85 degrees, which can make the temperature and the station can be 100 degrees. This data is to help represent that underground train stations can be more harmful then being inside, since there’s high chance of getting a heat stroke or faint.
What causes these increases in temperature? Well one big reason is that the train itself generates heat and the heat outside tends to go inside the station. We also need to consider the waiting time for a train to arrive at a station, which can vary from 5 to 30-minutes max, which means standing in the high temperature can be harmful to your health. Its important to note that trains can, at most times, be crowed and not have air conditioning, which exacerbates the problem. This is not only a problem in the train station, but while you are outside waiting for the bus and it’s a hot and sunny day. The MTA shouldn’t be to blame for the heatwaves, but climate change should. In NYC the average temperature have been dramatically increasing since 1980. It is so bad that the experts say that a 2 degree increase in Celsius can lead to devastating problems in NYC, which is also at risk for sea level rise. During Super Storm Sandy in 2012, part of as NYC was under water.
Public transportation is one of the few ways to prevent more CO2 going into the atmosphere because a huge majority of folks use trains and buses instead of gas fueled cars to get to places. The increased temperature does not only affect the MTA, but with outside activity as well, such as sports, or even just walking. Most sports activities are played in the hot weather, and in professional sports the game must be played because one delay can impact the schedule. Heat waves can kill people or animals and that is big issue here in the USA. According to the National Climate Assessment, “On average, more people in the United States die each year from heat-related illness than any other weather disaster.” Due to human action, we indirectly increase the danger of heat waves by having more days that are hotter, longer and more frequent that to the average we usually face. A large city like NYC, people are greatly affected and will face more and more heat waves every year. If we don’t do anything now more people can die from the heat waves we experience in the summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has created solutions to the heatwave problem in NYC every summer. He introduced emergency cooling centers that are located all across in Staten Island and he aims to fight against climate change by legally taking on big oil companies because he believes they were left unchecked for so long and have played a major role in the increase in greenhouse gasses (GHG) which has made the climate change. By limiting the amount of fossil fuel that can be burned, the hope is to decrease GHGs in the atmosphere before the temperature on the planet gets out of control. With a civil lawsuit the mayor hopes to he use the billions of dollars in damages to help with the city combat climate change. He also hopes for many other mayors to follow his path to help reduced CO2 from going into our air. According to NY Times article, “Mr. de Blasio has made other grandiose pledges to combat climate change. Last September he announced that the city would force the owners of large buildings, including apartment houses and office buildings, to retrofit them to save energy.” Although the plan may not be one of the best options, it’s a solution that can be beneficial in the long run. The MTA has compact ways to fight the heat by installing regenerative braking and CBCT to cool off subway platforms which reduces that amount of heat that is formed from the train. Building new trains and buses that can carry more people which has built in air conditioning will help combat the intense heat. But more importantly, the MTA must decrease the wait time. At bus stops, they have built rooves to protect bus riders from the sun. They have also sped up the bus loading process by phasing out swiping MetroCards and using a faster new swipe-less fare cards.
An obvious solution to help decrease climate change is to drive fewer cars and ride more bikes to get to our location. A majority of people may not like mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans that seemingly might change the habits of the average citizen in order to prevent climate change, but we need to start somewhere. Starting to do something now can help us in the long run and that’s a good trade off.