Heat Preparedness Week 2021
In the Greater Boston region, we're experiencing more frequent and intense heat waves, as well as generally rising temperatures. 2020 marked the hottest summer globally, with 14 days over 90 degrees in Boston. By the 2030s, scientists predict we could more than double that and have 41 days of 90 degrees due to climate change. In 2021, the first day over 90 degrees has already occurred—in May.
This critical issue needs to continue to be elevated across the region for members of the public, policy makers, and decision-makers. Community-centered planning and decision-making will be critical to protecting the most vulnerable this—and every future—summer.
That’s why today we’re launching the inaugural “Heat Prep Week” from May 24 to May 28, 2021. We’ll share information and host events around the issues of rising temperatures and extreme heat, and we’re inviting you to do the same.
Each day, we'll focus on a different theme:
- Monday, May 24: Climate Change and Increasing Heat
- Tuesday, May 25: Climate Equity, Heat, and Housing
- Wednesday, May 26: Air Quality, Heat, and Public Health Impacts
- Thursday, May 27: Impact of Heat on the Electric Grid—Energy Efficiency, Weatherization, and Peak Demand
- Friday, May 28: Keep Cool Solutions and Call to Action
We’ve created a series of sample posts and images you can use to share as well! Download the toolkit for dozens of sample social media posts, and to download the images below in multiple sizes.
Heat Preparedness Events
Monday, May 24
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Learn about the intersections of climate change, heat, and health in the Greater Boston area.
Speakers will highlight projects across the Greater Boston area addressing the issues of rising and extreme temperatures, public health, equity, and climate change via short presentations and a panel discussion.
Tuesday, May 25
11 a.m. to noon
Environmental injustices and climate change have a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world. Please join us for a conversation with Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program, about work to address climate change as a civil and human rights issue
Ways to Engage
- Share daily social media posts using sample infographics/posts. Use #HeatPrep2021
- Share stories through social media about what your community is doing related to extreme heat. Include pictures and images if you have them.
- Post a blog about heat preparedness and your community.
- Attend or share information about heat preparation events.
Heat Preparedness in the News
To kick off Heat Preparedness Week, and in anticipation of this weekend’s high heat, MAPC Deputy Director Rebecca Davis published an op-ed in Commonwealth Magazine, co-written with the Mystic River Watershed Association’s Melanie Gárate. “Gearing up to cope with extreme heat” highlights the health impacts of high heat and the lack of infrastructure in place in New England to address it.
“There is a great need to be intentional in how we design and implement programs and policies that ease burdens for Massachusetts residents most vulnerable to extreme heat impacts, such as those in poorly insulated homes, the elderly, and those unable to afford cooling devices, especially as COVID lingers and the future brings increasing temperatures,” they write.
Heat Preparedness at MAPC
At MAPC, we’re creating resources, conducting research, and working with cities and towns on extreme heat issues. Our heat-related projects include:
Keep Cool Somerville: Last year, we created a toolkit of strategies for long-term summer heat preparedness in Somerville. This year, we’re funding and building capacity for small-scale pilot projects to improve resilience to heat.
Metro Mayors Building Resilience to Climate-Driven Heat: The Metro Mayors Climate Taskforce received a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Action grant to create a roadmap to collectively address heat-related health concerns and reduce heat islands. Right now, MAPC is offering grants of up to $5,000 for community organizations to participate in the regional heat preparedness planning process. The deadline to apply is this Friday, May 28.
How do you experience heat? How do you cool down? We're working with the Metro Mayors Coalition to create a plan to address heat-related health concerns and reduce heat islands in Metro Boston. We need to hear from you!
COVID-Safe Cooling: MAPC and the Mystic River Watershed Association, with funding from the Barr Foundation, are supporting local cooling projects and educational projects in seven communities most impacted by both COVID-19 and extreme heat: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, and Revere. Last year’s projects including installing hydration stations, adapting cooling centers for social distancing, distribution of personal cooling devices like air conditioners and fans, and electric utility assistance. This program is offering a second round of funding in 2021.
Art for Heat Resilience: MAPC will work with artists and creatives this summer on extreme heat-related creative communications, creative engagement, and creative cooling infrastructure. Stay tuned: we’re also putting together a toolkit of creative strategies to mitigate and communicate about extreme heat!
Accelerating Climate Resiliency grant program: MAPC is working in partnership with the Barr Foundation to accelerate climate resilience in the region by helping municipalities advance strategies that protect people, places, and communities from the impacts of climate change. Many funded projects – including tree-planting initiatives, community education strategies, and climate-smart parks – mitigate or build resilience to extreme heat.
Heat Preparedness Resources
- Extreme Heat Resources: Outlines cooling strategies for communities, resources for residents, resources for municipalities, and emergency tips.
- Utility Assistance One-Pagers: Use this handout to share information on utility assistance with their residents. Available in eight languages!
- Climate Vulnerability in Greater Boston: This mapping tool combines sociodemographic, public health, housing, and workforce data with climate exposure data to help identify which populations and neighborhoods are most vulnerable to the impacts of extreme heat.
- Peak Demand Management: MAPC runs our own free Peak Electricity Demand Notification program for our municipalities to learn how to reduce demand, costs, and emissions associated with “peak” capacity charges.
- Extreme Heat Communications and Social Media Toolkit: As part of a Barr Foundation-funded project on COVID-safe cooling, MAPC created a toolkit of flyers, sample social media posts, and images that cities and towns can use to inform residents about heat risks, precautions, and resources.
Interested in learning how we can lower our greenhouse gas emissions to minimize future heat increases? Check out our Municipal Net Zero Playbook, local Greenhouse Gas Inventory tool, and building codes advocacy, or read more about adopting and support green municipal aggregation, electric vehicles, and clean heating and cooling.