Magazine article E Magazine

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Magazine article E Magazine

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Article excerpt

This is a very special issue of E Magazine. In the magazine's 10-year history, we have on only one other occasion devoted the entire feature section to a single story. That piece, a cross-country exploration of environmental racism, appeared in 1998.

Now we're doing it again, with an international tour of global warming "hot spots." E sent some of the country's foremost environmental journalists around the world to document climate change in progress. Why now? Because it's difficult to pursue "business as usual" when we live in very unusual times.

Nineteen ninety eight was a banner year for anomalous weather. In late March, snow fell in New York's Central Park, but just nine days later thermometers registered temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit. In June, Britt, Iowa experienced six inches of rain in only two hours. Deluges in Southern California brought home invasions of reptiles, rodents and insects, while heavy rains also caused swarms of pale-wing grasshoppers to descend on Bullhead City, Arizona. As part of an ongoing heat wave that shows no signs of dissipating, temperatures hit 124 degrees in India, and 117 in Texas, and even chilly Switzerland recorded a highly unusual 95. The crazy weather has continued right into 2000, but such extreme events are only part of the picture. E's piece documents dramatic and permanent environmental changes. Sea level is rising in the Pacific, inundating small islands and threatening larger ones. Reefs around the world are dying from coral bleaching. Coastal resorts from New Jersey to Antigua are losing their beaches, and making a desperate attempt to hold back a restless sea. The populations of California's tidal pools and Washington State's glacial slopes are changing dramatically. In the Antarctic, huge ice floes the size of American states are breaking off, and insect pests are killing the great coniferous forests of Alaska. …

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