Heat action day 2024: cool urban art

Heat action day 2024: cool urban art
3 June 2024

By the Climate Centre

National Societies around the world marked global heat action day 2024 yesterday with a huge array of activities, centred on urban art as a platform for raising awareness of the dangers of the “silent killer” of climate change: extreme heat.

The climate crisis is “turning up the heat around the world,” the IFRC said on social media, while calling on officials and leaders particularly in cities to make proactive plans to #BeatTheHeat.

“Everyone can be at risk from extreme heat but its impacts are disproportionately affecting the most  vulnerable. The IFRC continues to prepare and adapt communities to this already-changing climate.”

The Climate Centre commissioned two artists, Andrew Rae and Ruskin Kyle, to create images on the impact of heatwaves on large population centres (IFRC news story).

“We thought of classic apocalyptic films such as Independence Day or Godzilla and so we decided to personify the warming danger as giant marauding robots,” Rae said.

“It struck us that if the world being gradually heated up by alien robots or an enemy state, then governments and people would be very quick to act.

“Unfortunately, as we are causing the problem ourselves, it is much harder to mobilize and to make change. Perhaps if we could visualize the problem as an external enemy robot then it might help to motivate us to action.”

‘It was important to show there are things people can do to fight back against heatwaves’

A new infographic from the Climate centre published by ICLEI in South-East Asia as part of the USAID ATLAS project identifies ways urban planning can decrease heat-risks.

“It was important to show there are things people can do to fight back against heatwaves,” said Roop Singh, a climate risk adviser with the Climate Centre, who coordinated the day’s activities.

“In one of the specially commissioned art works, a boy carries a backpack with water bottles and fans. Simple things, but because of them he’s undaunted. The rays coming from him – blue – contrast with the reds and oranges and symbolize hope.”

A new report developed for 2 June jointly by Climate Central, World Weather Attribution, and the Climate Centre details how climate change has driven extreme heat in the last 12 months.

It confirmed that almost all the world’s population was affected by 26 extreme-heat days that would probably not have occurred without climate change.

A artist in Tanzania generates a theme for heat action day 2024. (Tanzania Red Cross)