The Pacific Northwest heat wave in late June was a mass casualty event, officials said. Hundreds of people likely died in the multi-day, record-breaking heat, and the death toll continues to rise. Despite the staggering statistics, there was no obvious sense of urgency around the tragedy as it played out. Scientists and psychologists observed that the response has to do with how humans view crises. Researchers say it’s important to understand that climate change is already affecting our lives today — that unless climate resiliency or heat action plans are put in place, particularly in historically marginalized communities, multiple people will suffer and die from extreme heat as climate change accelerates.
By Rachel Ramirez, CNN. July 12, 2021.