About the UHI
Urban areas create novel conditions for humans and wildlife by modifying the local climate; one example that is becoming more prominent is the Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect, as we saw in the 2021 heat domes in BC. The UHI effect occurs in cities as buildings and paved surfaces trap heat more effectively than natural landscapes. Moreover, cities produce their own heat from sources such as vehicles (Urban Heat Island Effect, n.d.). The heat stress exacerbated by climate change and the UHI effect poses a risk to public health with higher mortality rates, heat strokes, dehydration, labor and learning productivity loss (Hsu et al., 2021).
This blog post is part of a series that demonstrate how our Action Packs are used! This post covers the 'Water Privatization' in our Justice Action Pack.
Before I started college, I bought plastic bottled water almost every day. Yes, I bought water. But did I really need to pay for all that water when I could have gotten it for free instead? I started to change this habit as I learned more about how plastics harm our environment. Now, I have been bringing a reusable water bottle with me for 5 years. I’ve really changed the way I live with water.
I learned about the negative impacts of plastics, which encouraged me to switch to reusable water bottles, in the ‘Privatization of Water’ justice action pack. But more significantly, I hadn't realized until completing this action pack that the bottled-water industry exists as a result of the privatization of water.
Throughout the research process of this action pack, I was most impressed by a video called The Story of Bottled Water. This video taught me that bottled water is actually created by manufactured demand. The bottled water industry scares people about tap water, seduces people with marketing strategies, and supplies misleading information. In fact, studies prove that bottled water is not necessarily cleaner, safer, or better tasting than tap water. In addition, it requires a large amount of energy to produce a plastic water bottle, and plastic bottles contribute to land waste pollution. Not all bottles can be recycled, and many are even transported to poorer countries, increasing their own waste. This creates social injustice. What’s more, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water.
This blog post is part of a series that demonstrate how our Climate Action Unit's Action Packs are used! This post covers the "Health: Food Additives" Action Pack.
Have you ever stopped and read the labels of the foods you consume? Or even researched what exactly all those weird-sounding ingredients are? Yeah, me neither.
The “Health: Food Additives” Action Pack changed this for me, though. Throughout this action pack, I learned what food additives and preservatives are, why they’re used, their detrimental effects on our health, and how to eliminate these pesky and problematic substances from my life by taking personal pledges.
Basically, food additives and preservatives are sneaky substances, often incorporated into packaged and processed foods so they last longer on the shelf, look better, are easier to package, taste better, and/or add nutritional value. But these substances can have seriously negative effects on our health and are known to increase the risk of a myriad of health complications.
In this action pack, there was an activity in which I got to choose one of my favourite processed foods, write a list of its additives/preservatives, and then research their health implications. I chose Oreos, because I love them dearly, and was quickly disappointed to find out that Oreos are destroying forests of palm trees (and orangutans!!), as well as increasing my risk of heart disease, obesity, and cancer. As much as I love Oreos, I'd rather not eat them knowing what goes into their production, let alone their possible effects.