Fri 17 Aug 2018
From Hawaii to the Netherlands and France to South Korea readers have shared their reactions to recent record temperatures
In mid-July last year, Haythem Ayari, a 23-year-old engineering student in Nabeul, coastal Tunisia, caught a bus to travel the 10km to university. The vehicle, already overloaded with passengers, was caught in gridlocked traffic and sat static for nearly an hour. There was a heatwave, with a temperature of about 38C (100F) outside; inside the bus it was 42C (108F). “At a specific moment, I just snapped,” remembered Ayari. “I got out in the middle of traffic to finally breathe.” Since then, he has been inclined to panic attacks if in confined, crowded spaces during hot weather.
A month earlier, approximately 2,000 km (1300 miles) away in Bristol, UK, Adam Corner was on a bus with his partner and their new baby, heading across the city to visit friends. The bus was held up in traffic – not for long, but long enough. “It became a kind of inferno,” said Dr Corner, research director at Climate Outreach; their baby, barely a month old, started screaming in a way Corner had never heard before. “We had a little insight into this immediate, visceral risk – you see it through the eyes of your newborn child.” He pulled the bus’s emergency cord and they jumped off into traffic.
This tale of two bus journeys tells a story of rising temperatures and the pressure they are putting on cities and the people who live in them. Asked by Guardian Cities to share their experiences for a week-long series on urban heat, readers from countries as disparate as Hawaii, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Japan, France, Malaysia, Romania, South Korea and Canada expressed concern about the impacts already being felt.the guardian)