Extreme Heat Update – How is California Adapting?

Veronica Wood
October 2, 2023

Extreme Heat

One thing about our world is true: we are in a state of unpredictability. 

We had an emergency heat briefing with the Ethnic Media Services. 

So far it has been a really successful campaign and we have been able to reach more than 38 million Californians across print online and digital channels in 9 languages. 

Through the meeting we learned from several experts who spoke on the issue. 

Dr Inéz Ruiz-Huston is VP of Special Programs and Civic Engagement. She speaks about the large urban sprawl that expands in many cities, which is not ideal for heat. 

Braden Kay is the Extreme Heat Program Manager in California’s Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. He is working to build support and information around extreme heat. 

Dr. Maggie Park is a pediatrician and the County Public Health officer. She speaks about regulating body temperature as a major issue. If you cannot see initial warning signs that regulate body temperature, how can we support? We need to turn to organizations to create messaging systems including video messaging that people can share with friends and families experiencing extreme heat. 

Patrizia Hironimus is the Executive Director and part of Butte Environmental Council. She also works in many local nonprofits, including serving on the Camp Fire Restoration Project Board. She speaks too of climate refugees and of how we need to build from the roots up, with local organisations and leadership from within. 

Susan Henderson is the Exec Director of Disability Rights Education and Defense fund. She speaks about the very important points that actually health safety is also about equity. How can we make the best choices in how to keep everyone heat safe, when people have different needs? She speaks about the need to include people with disabilities in the larger conversations around heat, because the way that everyone experiences heat is so different and we need to include us all. 

Overall the meeting spoke of many key points. We are still in high heat warning season and even though it is October we need to be aware of what is going on throughout the country to our families as well. 

We also need to be aware that it is not just ‘global warming’ but it is actually climate chaos. It will be different every year, and more and more unpredictable. That is why we must continue to be prepared for anything - we adapt and learn every year to deal with the climate emergency.