It’s not your imagination: The climate crisis is getting worse. According to NOAA, July 2021 was the hottest month recorded since humans started tracking the Earth’s temperature 142 years ago. This year will likely go down as one of the top ten warmest on record. Dramatic heat waves, like the one this summer in the Pacific Northwest, caused a number of hospitalizations and sudden deaths. But even when warmer temperatures aren’t headline news, they’re often accompanied by something a little less tangible: High ozone and particle pollution.
Ozone production is accelerated at high temperatures, and without wind, the atmosphere becomes stagnant, essentially cooking the air we breathe. Though extreme temperatures might now be making this an issue worldwide, major cities in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic already regularly struggle with high ozone levels and particle pollution.
That’s especially important because the impacts of this pollution aren’t distributed equally: While many low-income communities face the health impacts of dirty air, Black Americans are particularly at risk. Black people bear a 54 percent higher health burden from particulate air... Read more