“Effects of Extreme Heat on Safety, Economics, and Agriculture of Illinois and Concerns for Marginalized Communities” – Sergio Vargas
Author: Sergio Vargas
Department: Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement, UIC
Faculty: Dr Joseph Hoereth
Extreme heat is one of the many effects of climate change that has become a growing concern for millions of people globally and domestically. Extreme heat is categorized as an extended period of high heat (commonly 2-3 days) and humidity with temperatures above 90° Fahrenheit. The implications of longer periods of extreme heat are catastrophic, and will harm many communities that do not have the capacity to handle extended periods of deathly heat. At these levels of extreme heat, humans lack the natural ability to biologically respond, which results in increased risks of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and fatal heat strokes. As for economics and agriculture, farmers have been experiencing low crop yields as a result of climate change, and the rippling effect on consumers throughout the state cannot be ignored. This research aims to understand the immediate impacts of extreme heat on Illinois residents, as well as the echoing effects on the health of the agricultural sector in which millions of resident consumers depend upon. In addition, the different challenges facing urban centers and rural communities will be outlined to tailor solutions that will result in safer communities. Addressing climate change related extreme heat is crucial in building the infrastructure and resources necessary to alleviate the consequences that have, and will harm residents.
Keywords: Climate Change, Extreme Heat, Marginalized Communities