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Articles by Virginia Gewin, Vox

Virginia Gewin is an independent science journalist and a Nova Institute of Health fellow reporting on air quality and public health. Based in Portland, Oregon, she has spent the last two decades writing about climate change, food security, and environmental justice for publications including Nature, Popular Science, and Civil Eats. She is a 2024 James Beard Media Award nominee.

Featured Article

When Rupa Basu was pregnant with her second child, her body temperature felt out of control — particularly as her third trimester began in the summer of 2007. It wasn’t particularly hot in Oakland, California, with high temperatures reaching 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, she felt uncomfortably warm even as her colleagues and friends were unbothered.

As her October due date approached, she drank extra fluids and avoided going outside during the hottest stretch of the day. “This is really weird,” she recalls thinking. She wondered if there could be a biological mechanism at work. 

That notion had troubling implications. “If this is a biological response, imagine what’s happening in places like India and Africa where the heat can get to an unbearable 130 degrees Fahrenheit,” Basu remembers thinking. As a researcher at the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Basu knew that other vulnerable populations, notably the elderly, were particularly susceptible to heat. 

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