S9 E6: Heat
24
October

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , /


ANNOUNCER: “SOCAL CONNECTED” IS MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE AHMANSON FOUNDATION, SERVING THE LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY SINCE 1952. NARRATOR: ON TONIGHT’S “SOCAL CONNECTED”… YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO SEE HOW LIFE IN L.A. IS GOING TO CHANGE. MAN: IT’S SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS EVERYBODY. MAN 2: WE ARE SEEING THE EFFECTS RIGHT NOW. THIS IS NOT A THEORETICAL, FUTURE PROBLEM. NARRATOR: L.A. IS GETTING HOTTER, A LOT HOTTER. MAN 2: I THINK THIS IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD. [THEME MUSIC PLAYING] REPORTER: THIS HEAT WAVE IS JUST BAKING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA… MALE NEWS ANCHOR: WE PROBABLY ARE GOING TO BREAK SOME RECORDS IN SOME OF THE WARMER, COASTAL… WOMAN: GET READY FOR ANOTHER HEAT WAVE. IT’S THREATENING TO BRING RECORD TEMPERATURES TO THE AREA. REPORTER 2: TRIPLE-DIGIT TEMPERATURES THROUGHOUT MUCH OF THE SOUTHLAND. IT’S MORE THAN HOT, IT’S DANGEROUS. WOMAN 2: BASED ON THE FORECAST, IT NOW MEETS OUR CRITERIA FOR A HEAT EMERGENCY. DOCTOR: YEAH, SO, WE WORKED UP THE PATIENT, AND I’M A LITTLE BIT CONCERNED. NARRATOR: L.A. HAS SEEN MORE THAN ITS SHARE OF EXTREME HEAT, BUT STILL, MOST OF US PROBABLY HAVEN’T GIVEN IT TOO MUCH THOUGHT. WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON OUR WARM YEAR-ROUND WEATHER. IT’S WHAT’S SPECIAL ABOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, UNTIL NOW. MAN 3: THERE WILL BE NO POWER IN THE CITY FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS… MAN 2: THE COMMAND CENTER WAS ACTIVATED. MAN 3: DUE TO AN EXTREME HEAT EMERGENCY. MAN 2: IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS RELATED TO THE HEAT, PLEASE COME TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM. MAN 3: IT’S IN THE COMMAND TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT. NARRATOR: AT DIGNITY HEALTH CALIFORNIA HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER IN DOWNTOWN L.A., E.R. DOCTORS LIKE MARC FUTERNICK ARE ACCUSTOMED TO TREATING PATIENTS WITH LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCIES ALL DAY LONG. BUT NOW, DR. FUTERNICK AND HIS COLLEAGUES ARE PREPARING FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF EMERGENCY… [AMBULANCE SIREN WAILING] EXTREME HEAT. HEAT WAVES BROUGHT ON BY CLIMATE CHANGE. FUTERNICK: WE ARE SEEING THE EFFECTS RIGHT NOW. THIS IS NOT A THEORETICAL, FUTURE PROBLEM. TODAY WE ARE TAKING CARE OF PATIENTS THAT ARE BEING IMPACTED BY OUR CHANGING CLIMATE. AND IN ADDITION, IT BRINGS ME GREAT WORRY ABOUT WHAT WE’RE GOING TO SEE IN THE YEARS TO COME BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT WE’RE ON A TRAJECTORY WHERE IT’S GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET HOTTER, SUMMER WILL GET LONGER. WE WILL SEE MORE INTENSE AND MORE FREQUENT HEAT WAVES, AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF OTHER CLIMATE CATASTROPHES. NARRATOR: WHILE THIS TIME IT’S JUST A DRILL, THESE ARE EMERGENCIES THAT DR. FUTERNICK FEARS WILL GROW IN FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY AS THE PLANET WARMS. [OVERLAPPING CHATTER] NARRATOR: IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE GREATEST EMERGENCY BROUGHT ON BY GLOBAL WARMING IS ALSO THE MOST OBVIOUS, THE HEAT ITSELF? LOS ANGELES HAS RECENTLY SEEN SOME OF THE HOTTEST DAYS IN RECORDED HISTORY. IN JULY, TEMPERATURES REACHED 106 DOWNTOWN AND 106 IN WESTWOOD, BREAKING A RECORD SET IN 1959. LONG BEACH HIT 108, AND IT WAS 114 DEGREES IN BURBANK. RECORD HIGHS IN VAN NUYS ARE BEING LINKED TO THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF A POSTAL WORKER, PEGGY FRANK, WHO WAS FOUND IN HER MAIL TRUCK ON THE DAY TEMPERATURES ROSE TO 117 DEGREES. AND EXTREME HEAT FUELS THE FEROCIOUS RECORD FIRES THAT ARE DEVASTATING CALIFORNIA. FUTERNICK: I THINK THIS IS THE BIGGEST THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH RIGHT NOW IN THE WORLD, AND I’M NOT ALONE IN THINKING THAT. THE PENTAGON STATED THAT THIS IS THE LARGEST DEFENSE THREAT. THE U.N. HAS DECLARED THAT THIS IS THE NUMBER-ONE CAUSE OF MIGRATION IN POPULATIONS AND THAT WE CAN EXPECT INTERNATIONAL TURMOIL IF WE DON’T ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS. RIGHT NOW, OUR MEDICAL SYSTEM IS PUSHED TO THE LIMIT. WE ARE USING ALL OF THE RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE TO TRY TO KEEP THE POPULATION HEALTHY. WE’RE SPENDING AN INCREDIBLE PERCENT OF OUR GDP IN AMERICA, AND THIS IS GOING TO INCREASE MORTALITY SIGNIFICANTLY. WE NEED TO START TO MITIGATE HOW MUCH THIS IS AFFECTING OUR HEALTH BECAUSE WE SIMPLY DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO TAKE CARE OF THE AMOUNT OF ILLNESS THAT WE WILL BE FACING SOON. NARRATOR: MARC FUTERNICK WORRIES THAT THE PUBLIC IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH INFORMATION ABOUT HOW CLIMATE CHANGE IS IMPACTING OUR HEALTH. SO DR. FUTERNICK INVITED DR. RUPA BASU, AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST FROM THE CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, TO COME TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT. RUPA’S PIONEERING WORK IS CONNECTING THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF EXTREME HEAT AND CLIMATE CHANGE. BASU: FOR A LONG TIME, THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE HAVEN’T REALLY BEEN CONNECTED TO HEALTH, AND IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT CLIMATE CHANGE EXTENDS TO HUMAN HEALTH EFFECTS. WHEN IT’S HOT OUTSIDE, WE SEE HEART ATTACKS AND WE SEE CEREBRAL VASCULAR DISEASES SUCH AS STROKE, KIDNEY DISEASE; ADVERSE BIRTH OUTCOMES SUCH AS PREMATURE BIRTH, STILLBIRTH FROM LOW BIRTH WEIGHT; AND SOME RESPIRATORY DISEASES SUCH AS ASTHMA ATTACKS. CLIMATE CHANGE, SPECIFICALLY FROM HEAT EXPOSURE AND AIR POLLUTION EXPOSURE, IS CAUSING INCREASED DEATHS AND ILLNESSES. NARRATOR: RUPA TELLS US THAT FOR EVERY 10-DEGREE RISE IN TEMPERATURE, THE RATE OF DEATH INCREASES BY 2.3%. IN CALIFORNIA, WITH 40 MILLION PEOPLE, DEATH BY HEAT HAS BECOME AN EPIDEMIC. BASU: THERE WAS A 2006 HEAT WAVE STUDY THAT WE CONDUCTED. THERE WAS ABOUT 8% TO 9% INCREASE IN MORTALITY DURING THAT HEAT WAVE. THAT WAS ABOUT 600 DEATHS IN A TWO-WEEK PERIOD. DURING THAT SAME TIME, IT’S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WE ALSO HAD ABOUT 16,000 EMERGENCY-ROOM VISITS. I WOULD SAY THAT PEOPLE ARE DYING AT EPIDEMIC LEVELS BECAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE. NARRATOR: AND RUPA REMINDS US THAT THE HEALTH IMPACTS OF HEAT WAVES AREN’T ONLY ABOUT EXTREME TEMPERATURES. FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE ALONG THE COAST, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 70- AND 80-DEGREE DAY CAN ALSO MEAN INCREASED DEATH AND ILLNESS, AS THE HUMAN BODY HAS DIFFICULTY REGULATING ITSELF IN THESE VARYING TEMPERATURES. THESE ARE ALSO PLACES THAT DON’T HAVE AIR CONDITIONING BECAUSE UNTIL NOW, THEY DIDN’T NEED IT. BASU: WHEN WE’RE LOOKING AT HEALTH IMPACTS, YOU SEE SOMETIMES IN COASTAL AREAS, IT’S ACTUALLY GREATER ASSOCIATIONS THAN WHAT YOU SEE IN NON-COASTAL AREAS, AND THAT’S BECAUSE PEOPLE IN NON-COASTAL AREAS ARE OFTEN ACCLIMATED TO THE HEAT OR A LITTLE BIT MORE ACCLIMATED. YOU CAN ONLY ACCLIMATE SO MUCH. NARRATOR: DR. FUTERNICK IS DISCOVERING THAT THE IMPACT OF EXTREME HEAT AND HEAT WAVES IS EVEN DEEPER THAN HE THOUGHT. FUTERNICK: IT CERTAINLY FEELS, WHEN WE’RE WORKING IN THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, THAT ON A HOT DAY AND MOST OF THE SUMMER LONG, THAT WE SEE MORE TRAUMA; IN PARTICULAR, MORE INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE. WE AVERAGE A COUPLE OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS A DAY IN THIS EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT, AND SO WE WOULD SEE MORE OF THAT IN THE SUMMER, IN GENERAL. WE ALSO SEE A NUMBER OF STAB WOUNDS AS A TRAUMA CENTER IN THIS EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT. I THINK WE WOULD TYPICALLY SEE ABOUT 5 STAB WOUNDS A DAY, AND EVEN MORE OF IT ON A PARTICULARLY HIGH-HEAT DAY. BASU: RECENTLY, WE CONDUCTED A STUDY THAT WAS PUBLISHED IN THE “AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY.” WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT, WITH INCREASING TEMPERATURE, THERE IS INCREASES IN SUICIDES AND HOMICIDES. AND SO THAT’S REALLY SHOWING THAT YES, THERE IS ASSOCIATION BETWEEN INCREASED HEAT AND VIOLENCE. NARRATOR: AND BASU TELLS US THAT IN A WORLD OF GLOBAL WARMING, CITIES LIKE LOS ANGELES ARE INCREASINGLY AT RISK. BASU: LOS ANGELES, IT’S KIND OF LIKE A STEW IN SOME WAY, IN THAT IT’S REALLY ALMOST A PERFECT STORM FOR CLIMATE-CHANGE IMPACTS TO LEAD TO HEALTH IMPACTS HERE. NARRATOR: BASU EXPLAINS WHY THE INNER CITY IS A MAGNET FOR HEAT. SHE REMINDS US HOW MANY PARTS OF L.A. ARE MADE UP OF CONCRETE AND BLACKTOP, AND KEEP THE CITY HOTTER LONGER. BASU: LOS ANGELES IS PARTICULARLY IMPACTED JUST BECAUSE OF THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT. AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THERE IS A LOT OF ABSORPTION OF THE HEAT BECAUSE OF ALL THE ROADS THAT WE HAVE HERE, THE BUILDINGS, AND THERE’S A LOT OF CEMENT AND A LOT OF BLACKTOP, AND THAT REALLY ABSORBS THE HEAT. NARRATOR: THIS IMAGE TAKEN FROM THE NASA SPACE STATION IS THE MOST DETAILED HEAT-WAVE MAP WE HAVE OF LOS ANGELES. IT MEASURES SURFACE TEMPERATURES, THE TEMPERATURE YOU WOULD FEEL IF YOU TOUCHED SOMETHING, AND SHOWS THE INTENSITY OF THE URBAN HEAT ISLAND EFFECT. THE HOTTEST SPOT, MEASURED IN RED, IS THE PARKING LOT AT THE SANTA ANITA RACETRACK– 147 DEGREES, LITERALLY HOT ENOUGH TO FRY AN EGG. MAN: OK, MY NAME IS ALEX HALL… NARRATOR: ALEX HALL IS DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR CLIMATE SCIENCE AT UCLA, WHERE HE USES COMPUTER MODELING TO CREATE NEIGHBORHOOD-BY-NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECTIONS OF OUR CLIMATE FUTURE, THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS EVER OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN LOS ANGELES. HALL: WE PREDICTED CHANGES IN THE HEAT EXTREMES, SO A–ROUGHLY A DOUBLING OR TRIPLING OF THE NUMBER OF EXTREMELY HOT DAYS, DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU ARE IN THE REGION, OF COURSE. IF YOU LOOK AT A PLACE LIKE DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES, IT HAS CURRENTLY, YOU KNOW, 10, 20 DAYS LIKE THAT EVERY YEAR. BY THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY, WE MIGHT PROJECT THAT TO DOUBLE OR TRIPLE, SO WE WOULD BE LOOKING AT A MONTH OR TWO OF EXTREMELY HOT WEATHER IN A PLACE LIKE THAT. IF YOU GO TO THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY, CURRENTLY THERE’S, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING LIKE MAYBE A MONTH TO 6 WEEKS OF EXTREMELY HOT WEATHER. BY MID-CENTURY, IT WOULD RISE TO MAYBE 2 TO 3 MONTHS. SO THAT’S– THOSE ARE THE TYPES OF CHANGES AND THE MAGNITUDES OF CHANGES THAT WE PROJECT FOR THE FUTURE. NARRATOR: HALL’S RESEARCH TELLS US THAT THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE ACROSS LOS ANGELES COUNTY WILL RISE 5 DEGREES BY THE MIDDLE OF THIS CENTURY. AND HE GOES FURTHER, WARNING THAT IF WE CONTINUE BUSINESS AS USUAL, BURNING FOSSIL FUELS AT THE CURRENT RATE, THOSE TEMPERATURE AVERAGES WILL RISE AN ADDITIONAL 5 DEGREES BY THE YEAR 2100, PUTTING US IN A WHOLE NEW CLIMATE REALITY. HALL: IN FACT, WE’RE ALREADY SEEING INCREASES IN HEAT EXTREMES IN THE REGION, SO THE CHANGES THAT WE PREDICTED FOR THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY ARE ALREADY PLAYING OUT IN THE REGION. NARRATOR: PARTS OF THE IMPERIAL AND COACHELLA VALLEYS MAY LITERALLY BECOME TOO HOT FOR LABORERS TO WORK AND CROPS TO GROW, TAKING A HUGE TOLL ON CALIFORNIA AGRICULTURE, A $50 BILLION INDUSTRY. THE ECONOMIC IMPACT COULD BE DEVASTATING FOR FARMERS WHO ARE ALREADY EXPERIENCING THE EFFECT OF RECORD DROUGHTS AND HEAT WAVES BROUGHT ON BY GLOBAL WARMING. HALL: IF WE DON’T TAKE ACTION VERY SOON, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES FOR QUITE A LONG TIME, AND IT’S GOING TO BE OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WHO HAVE TO COPE WITH THE DECISIONS THAT WE ARE MAKING NOW. NARRATOR: BACK IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM, DRS. FUTERNICK AND BASU CONNECT THE WAYS THAT CHILDREN ARE ALREADY ON THE FRONTLINE OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUFFERING THE IMPACT OF THE TOXIC BREW OF POLLUTION AND GLOBAL WARMING. BASU: WELL, THIS IS WHY–A MAIN PART OF THE REASON WHY WE’RE DOING THESE STUDIES IS TO REALLY MAKE THAT CONNECTION. THE LARGEST IMPACTS ARE FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS, HISPANICS, SOMETIMES YOUNGER MOTHERS, WHEN WE’RE THINKING ABOUT PREGNANCY OUTCOMES, THOSE WITH LOWER SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS, LOWER INCOME, OUTDOOR WORKERS, PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS ABLE TO ADAPT OR HAVE ACCESS TO AIR CONDITIONING, FOR EXAMPLE. FUTERNICK: SO PATIENTS WHO LIVE NEAR THE LONG BEACH PORT OR PATIENTS WHO LIVE NEAR HIGH FREEWAY INTERCHANGES, OR–WE ACTUALLY HAVE A LOT OF OIL DRILLING AND OIL REFINERIES IN THIS AREA. SO POORER PATIENTS LIVE IN THESE AREAS THAT PUT THEM AT HIGHER RISK, BRINGING UP THESE ISSUES OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE. NARRATOR: DR. FUTERNICK IS TALKING ABOUT COMMUNITIES LIKE WEST LONG BEACH, WHICH HAS AN ALARMING CONCENTRATION OF HEALTH THREATS RELATED TO CLIMATE CHANGE. MAN: THIS IS WEST LONG BEACH. THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT I ORGANIZE IN, AND THIS IS WHERE I ACTUALLY GREW UP IN WHEN I EMIGRATED FROM THE PHILIPPINES. IT IS ONE OF THE REGIONS, AND A HALF A MILLION PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN LONG BEACH. THERE IS ABOUT 32,000 TO 34,000 RESIDENTS HERE, AND MOST OF THE RESIDENTS ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR, SO IT’S A PREDOMINANTLY WORKING-CLASS, IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY. NARRATOR: JAN VICTOR ANDERSON IS AN ORGANIZER FOR THE GROUP EAST YARD COMMUNITIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE. JAN: I GREW UP RIGHT NEXT TO THE RAILROAD TRACKS. THAT’S ACTUALLY THE FACILITY, UNION PACIFIC RAIL YARD, AND THE REFINERY’S RIGHT THERE. AND MY BROTHER WAS BORN IN LONG BEACH AND ACTUALLY GREW UP, YOU KNOW, AS A BABY RIGHT NEXT TO THE REFINERY AND THE RAIL YARD, AND BOTH OF US HAVE ASTHMA. SO WHEN WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, THE PHRASE WE LIKE TO USE IS “CLIMATE CHANGE STARTS IN OUR ‘HOODS,” SINCE IT’S LITERALLY IN OUR BACKYARD, IT’S BEHIND OUR HOMES, IT’S BEHIND THE NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE WE LIVE, WORK, PLAY. [GIRL LAUGHS] WOMAN: CLIMATE CHANGE DOES START IN OUR ‘HOODS. IT’S WHERE PEOPLE WILL FEEL IT FIRST AND WORST, WHERE COMMUNITIES ARE DIRECTLY IMPACTED OR ON THE FENCE LINE OF POLLUTING FACILITIES. AND SO COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE FEELING IT IN TERMS OF OUR HEALTH AND FOR CHILDREN, IN PARTICULAR, WITH ASTHMA. NARRATOR: SYLVIA BETANCOURT IS THE PROGRAM MANAGER AT THE LONG BEACH ALLIANCE FOR CHILDREN WITH ASTHMA, WHICH CAME TOGETHER AFTER A CHILD DIED OF AN ASTHMA ATTACK ON A SCHOOL CAMPUS IN 1999. BETANCOURT: THERE IS A LARGE BODY OF EVIDENCE THAT SHOWS THAT CHILDREN, IN PARTICULAR, WHO GROW UP NEAR DIESEL SOURCES OF POLLUTION HAVE A HIGHER RATE OF ASTHMA, HAVE A REDUCED LUNG FUNCTION. NARRATOR: ASTHMA IS THE MOST PREVALENT CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASE WORLDWIDE, AFFECTING ABOUT 358 MILLION PEOPLE. WOMAN: I MOVED TO LONG BEACH ABOUT 12 YEARS AGO, AND I DEVELOPED ALLERGIES SINCE THEN. AND THEN I HAD BOTH MY DAUGHTERS. I HAVE ISABELLA, WHO’S 9 YEARS OLD, AND I HAVE EMMA, WHO’S 7 YEARS OLD. ISABELLA HAS ALLERGIES, EMMA HAS ASTHMA, AND ACTUALLY, EMMA WAS– SHE WAS BORN A MONTH EARLY, NEEDING OXYGEN. SO FROM THERE, I WAS TOLD THAT SHE HAD ASTHMA. MY DOCTOR SAID THAT BECAUSE WE LIVE IN A CITY THAT’S VERY POLLUTED, THAT IT’S ONE OF THE REASONS THERE IS A LOT OF HIGH RISK OF EARLY DELIVERY IN PREGNANCIES. NARRATOR: LIVING IN SUCH A HIGH-RISK AREA HAS LIKELY CONTRIBUTED TO THE HEALTH IMPACTS THAT RUPA BASU DESCRIBES IN HER RESEARCH. PREMATURE BIRTH BROUGHT ON BY HEAT AND DEHYDRATION IN PREGNANT WOMEN, ALONG WITH RESPIRATORY ILLNESS IN THEIR CHILDREN, HAVE UNTOLD PERSONAL AND MEDICAL COSTS GOING INTO THE FUTURE. BETANCOURT: IT ISN’T A SURPRISE THAT CERTAIN AREAS OF LONG BEACH WERE IDENTIFIED TO BE CITED FOR INDUSTRY. OUR COMMUNITY FITS A CERTAIN PROFILE. THERE IS THIS PERCEPTION THAT–BECAUSE COMMUNITIES OF COLOR DON’T HAVE EDUCATION, PERHAPS DON’T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE, DON’T HAVE THE FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO BE ABLE TO HIRE THEIR ATTORNEY TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST THE INDUSTRY. THOSE ARE VERY REAL CIRCUMSTANCES. MAN: ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MEANS EXACTLY THAT–JUSTICE FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS, REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU ARE, REGARDLESS OF WHERE YOU COME FROM, REGARDLESS OF THE HUE OF YOUR SKIN. SO YOUR ZIP CODE AND YOUR INCOME LEVELS SHOULD NOT DICTATE IF YOU GET TO BREATHE CLEAN AIR, IF YOU GET TO DRINK CLEAN WATER, IF YOU GET TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL PARK SO YOUR CHILDREN CAN HAVE GRASS, GREEN GRASS GROW UNDER THEIR FEET. WOMAN: PEOPLE BURN FOSSIL FUELS, WHOLE OIL, AND NATURAL GAS. AND WHEN WE BURN FOSSIL FUELS, THEY RELEASE CARBON DIOXIDE, AND THE CARBON DIOXIDE GOES UP INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, AND CARBON DIOXIDE IS REALLY, REALLY GOOD AT ABSORBING HEAT. IT ABSORBS HEAT, AND THEN IT RE-RADIATES THAT HEAT, SO OUR ATMOSPHERE HAS BEEN ABSORBING MORE HEAT THAN IT WOULD BE IF WE WEREN’T BURNING THESE FOSSIL FUELS. NARRATOR: LAURA TENENBAUM IS A SCIENCE EDUCATOR. SHE’S CONCERNED THAT MOTHERS LIKE SELENE ARE NOT GETTING THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO CONNECT HEALTH RISK WITH CLIMATE CHANGE. TENENBAUM: THE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE AROUND THE L.A. BASIN IS PRETTY COMPLICATED. YOU KNOW, YOU’VE GOT THESE URBAN HEAT ISLANDS AND THEN THE INVERSION LAYER, AND THE POLLUTION GETS TRAPPED. THAT’S WHY PEOPLE SHOULD EDUCATE THEMSELVES TO BE ABLE TO KNOW, YOU KNOW, WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD. NARRATOR: FOR 10 YEARS, TENENBAUM WORKED AT NASA’s JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, WHERE SHE WAS SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR OF NASA’s AWARD-WINNING GLOBAL CLIMATE WEBSITE, THE MOST-VISITED ON THE INTERNET ON THIS SUBJECT. SHE HELPED BUILD NASA’s CLIMATE FACEBOOK PRESENCE TO 1.3 MILLION USERS AND WROTE WEEKLY BLOG POSTS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING AND POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS. BUT TENENBAUM SAYS THAT ALL CHANGED WHEN DONALD TRUMP WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT. TENENBAUM: I WAS TOLD TO STAND DOWN ON TWEETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA BECAUSE TRUMP HAD TAKEN AWAY THE TWITTER ACCOUNT FROM THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. AND SO THEY WERE AFRAID THAT–OF NASA’s CLIMATE TWITTER ACCOUNT GETTING IN TROUBLE, SO THEY WANTED US TO STAND DOWN. AND AN ARTICLE COMES OUT IN THE “WASHINGTON POST,” AND IT’S CALLED, “NASA IS DEFIANTLY COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE DESPITE TRUMP’S DOUBTS.” NARRATOR: THE “WASHINGTON POST” ARTICLE QUOTED TENENBAUM’S BLOG ON GLOBAL WARMING. TENENBAUM: IT SAYS, “I WANT TO PUT IMAGES RIGHT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE THAT SHOW THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS, IN FACT, HAPPENING.” THE HAMMER REALLY CAME DOWN. THEY TOOK ME OFF FACEBOOK WITHOUT TELLING ME. THE PAGE THAT I HAD TAKEN FROM 60,000 TO 1.3 MILLION, THEY TOOK ME OFF WITHOUT TELLING ME OVERNIGHT, THE EVENING OF THAT ARTICLE, WITH NO EXPLANATION. I WAS JUST BOOTED OUT. NARRATOR: NASA ELIMINATED HER POSITION. TENENBAUM WAS OUT OF A JOB. A SPOKESPERSON FOR NASA JPL DISPUTED TENENBAUM’S ACCOUNT, SAYING THERE WAS NO CHANGE AFTER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TOOK OFFICE IN TERMS OF NASA JPL’s ABILITY TO TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. HALL: UNFORTUNATELY, THAT DOES NOT SURPRISE ME. HA HA! I THINK A LOT OF CLIMATE SCIENTISTS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO ARE WORKING FOR FEDERAL AGENCIES– NOT TO TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE IN PUBLIC, AND ALK ABOUT CLIMATE IN PUBLIC, AND THAT’S REALLY UNFORTUNATE, I THINK. EVERYONE– BECAUSE IT’S SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS EVERYBODY. TENENBAUM: WE CAN NO LONGER SIT AROUND AND WAIT FOR SCIENTISTS TO COME AND SAVE US. AND SO IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT, NOW MORE THAN EVER BEFORE–AND OF THEIR INTELLECTUAL ABILITY TO INTELLECTUAL ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND ENOUGH BASIC SCIENCE TO BE ABLE TO MAKE COLLABORATIVE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW OUR WORLD IS GOING TO BE. IT’S MANDATORY. DONALD TRUMP: WE’RE GOING TO PUT THE MINERS BACK TO WORK. WE’RE GOING TO PUT THE MINERS BACK TO WORK! NARRATOR: PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS GIVEN HIMSELF AN A+ ON HIS ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, BUT ACCORDING TO A STUDY IN THE “JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION,” TRUMP’S ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA IS LIKELY TO COST THE LIVES OF OVER 80,000 U.S. RESIDENTS PER DECADE AND LEAD TO RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS FOR MORE THAN ONE MILLION PEOPLE. MAN: MY SENSE IS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FINDS THE FACTS, THE SCIENCE, AND THE LAW BOTHERSOME. NARRATOR: XAVIER BECERRA, CALIFORNIA’S ATTORNEY GENERAL, IS LEADING THE RESISTANCE BY A NUMBER OF STATES AND TAKING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO COURT OVER ITS CLIMATE POLICIES. BECERRA: THIS IS THE WAY I TRY TO DEAL WITH THE SHENANIGANS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. I WORRY NOT SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT COMES OUT OF THE OVAL OFFICE IN WORDS, BUT DEEDS, BECAUSE DEEDS I CAN GRAB, AND I CAN RUSTLE WITH THOSE. AND SO I LOOK AT WHAT THEY’RE DOING IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THAT’S WHY WE’VE HAD TO SUE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SO MANY TIMES. MAN: SINCE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CAME INTO OFFICE, WE’VE FILED ABOUT 70 LAWSUITS, ROUGHLY ONE EVERY 10 DAYS. NARRATOR: DAVID PETTIT, A SENIOR ATTORNEY FOR THE NATIONAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL ,SAYS A CRUCIAL LEGAL BATTLE IS OVER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION EFFORTS TO CUT FUEL EMISSIONS STANDARDS, RESPONSIBLE FOR 50% OF GLOBAL-WARMING POLLUTION. HE SAYS THE ADMINISTRATION IS AWARE OF THE DEVASTATING IMPACTS OF THIS POLICY. PETTIT: THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENTS–AND AGAIN, THESE ARE THEIR NUMBERS–SHOW THAT IF WE DO WHAT THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO DO, BY THE YEAR 2100, WE’LL HAVE 7 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT OF TEMPERATURE RISE GLOBALLY. THAT WOULD BE A TOTAL DISASTER, ECONOMIC AND HUMAN DISASTER NOT JUST FOR THE U.S., BUT FOR THE WHOLE WORLD. MAN: THIS IS UNLIKE ANYTHING I’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE. OUR LIVELIHOODS ARE IMPERILED. HUMANITY IS IN PERIL BECAUSE OF WHAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IS DOING. NARRATOR: CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR KEVIN de LEÓN HAS SPONSORED LANDMARK ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION THAT COMMITS CALIFORNIA TO A CLEAN ENERGY GRID BY 2045. de LEÓN: SENATE BILL 100 IS THE MOST FAR-REACHING CLIMATE-CHANGE POLICY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. IT LEGALLY COMMITS THE FIFTH-LARGEST ECONOMY IN THE WORLD TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY BY THE YEAR 2045. EVERYTHING IN YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS, IN YOUR HOME THAT IS POWERED BY ELECTRICITY HAS TO BE DRIVEN BY 100% CLEAN, RENEWABLE ENERGY. I WANT TO USE THIS AS A MODEL FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, AS WELL AS THE WORLD. THIS IS A VERY CRITICAL, A CRITICAL MEASURE. FUTERNICK: FOR A LONG TIME, WE WERE LOOKING AT THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS, WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. I THINK NOW WE HAVE THE FACTS TO TELL US THAT THIS IS NO LONGER THEORETICAL. CLIMATE CHANGE IS CURRENTLY IMPACTING THE HEALTH OF OUR COMMUNITY. PEOPLE ARE DYING AT AN INCREASED RATE AND SUFFERING ALL KINDS OF OTHER ILLNESS RELATED TO THE CHANGES THAT ARE A RESULT OF GLOBAL WARMING. BECERRA: THE PRICE IS INCALCULABLE BECAUSE WHAT IT WILL COST TO DEAL WITH THE ASTHMA OF A CHILD WHO’S 5, WHEN THAT INDIVIDUAL BECOMES AN ADULT, YOU TELL ME. DE LEÓN: YOUNG CHILDREN ARE VERY TUNED TO OUR ENVIRONMENT AND TO WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. ISABELLA: IF YOU HAVE ASTHMA AND YOU COME INTO THE PARK, YOU MIGHT WANT TO BRING A MASK BECAUSE THERE’S SO MUCH TRASH AND THERE’S BAD AIR COMING IN HERE AND… EMMA: I WAS PLAYING IN THE PLAYGROUND, AND MY–LIKE, MY CHEST WAS STARTING TO HURT, SO THAT MEANS I NEED MY ASTH– MY INHALER. SELENE: IT’S ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS WHEN SHE HAS AN ASTHMA ATTACK. AND WHEN I SEE HER CRYING, NOT BEING ABLE TO COMFORT HER, HER NOT BEING ABLE TO BREATHE, IT’S HEARTBREAKING. EMMA: MY MOM GIVES ME MY INHALER AND SHE HUGS ME AND SHE–SHE, LIKE, DOES THE–SHE’LL GIVE THE AIR, AND I BREATHE AND THEN I FEEL BETTER. AND WE HAVE TO CLEAN OUR CITY. de LEÓN: CHILDREN WILL PLAY A HUGE ROLE IN EDUCATING THE ADULTS AND, QUITE FRANKLY, A LOT OF POLITICIANS WHO STILL DON’T HAVE THEIR ACT TOGETHER WHEN IT COMES TO THE ISSUE OF CLIMATE CHANGE. FUTERNICK: AS A PHYSICIAN, I BELIEVE THAT PREVENTION IS THE WAY TO GO IN TERMS OF THE EFFECTS THAT WE’RE SEEING FROM CLIMATE CHANGE. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT’S CAUSING CLIMATE CHANGE, AND WE NEED TO START TO REVERSE THAT IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF OUR PATIENTS. THIS IS NOT THEORETICAL. HERE IS THE DATA. HERE IS THE SCIENCE. THIS IS REAL. THIS IS HAPPENING. PEOPLE CAN TRY TO IGNORE IT, BUT IT’S NOT GOING TO GO AWAY. IT’S GOING TO CONTINUE TO GET WORSE, AND AT SOME POINT, WE’RE GOING TO REACT. THE SOONER WE REACT, THE MORE WE CAN MITIGATE THE DAMAGE. NARRATOR: CLIMATE CHANGE HAS TRULY ARRIVED. UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, THE DEATH TOLL FROM HEAT WAVES WILL CONTINUE TO RISE.


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