A farmworker takes a water break during a picking at Pacific Tomato Growers, a company under Sunripe Certified Brands, on Nov. 22, 2023, in Immokalee, Florida. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui for The Washington Post via Getty Images and Prism)

Did you hear the news? We’re in the midst of a heatwave. If you haven’t noticed yet, you’re probably lucky enough to be in a place with a robust HVAC system or running the AC nonstop (and honestly, I don’t blame you). I wish I’d been more aware of the heatwave last Wednesday when I endured an ambitious 12-hour outing in the sun with only an Adidas cap, a spare change of clothes and a stingy eight-ounce water pouch. How foolish. 

The next morning, I woke up to a heat rash on my face and tiny, itchy bumps all over my forehead, cheeks and chin. It turns out the sun had waged war on my face, and to make matters worse it ruined my Friday night plans to paint and sip wine with friends. While my experience was unpleasant, many others have faced far more severe consequences from the heatwave sweeping our nation and parts of the Global South, including places like India and Kashmir, which have seen record-breaking temperatures year after year, reports URL Media partner Scroll.

Plus: A Sierra Leonean couple from Maryland dies from extreme heat during Hajj pilgrimage (TANTV Studios) 

In the U.S., thousands of people have lost their lives in heat-related deaths due to preexisting health conditions, with many of these incidents occurring indoors, according to an analysis of National Weather Service data. With temperatures in parts of the West Coast soaring beyond triple digits, the communities most vulnerable to heat-related deaths and injuries are seniors, young children, and incarcerated and unhoused individuals who don’t live, work or have easy access to air-conditioned environments and cooling centers. 

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Pro tip from Epicenter-NYC: To save energy and money, keep shades, blinds and curtains closed to block unwanted heat from windows.

Alerting readers about last week’s extreme heat, URL Media partner Epicenter-NYC highlighted the dangers of prolonged sun exposure, such as heat strokes and heat exhaustion. They also explained the cause behind last week’s rising temperatures: a heat dome. A heat dome is a high-pressure system that slows down and traps heat over a large area during the summer. It can last for weeks.

More: ‘I wasn’t sentenced to be cooked’: Brutal heat in a Texas prison (Prism)

Reading these stories makes me extra cautious about how I move this summer, and it should also compel you to consider taking precautions when traveling and being outdoors this season. It also makes me count my blessings: I live near a body of water, have stable AC and can drive to a cooling center if needed. Plus, I work remotely. Such is not the case for outdoor workers in Florida, who just lived through the hottest summer in the state’s history in 2023 and have seen an 88% increase in heat-related deaths from 2019-2022. 

Prism reports that months before summer began, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 433, which prevents local governments from requiring heat exposure protections for workers laboring in extreme heat. The news was a significant blow to the tireless efforts of farmworkers, labor advocates, and nearly 100 environmental, faith, and progressive groups who had urged DeSantis to veto the legislation. 

“I think we also need to do a better job at communicating the urgency of the situation and the severity of risk and the severity of the morbidity and mortality that are taking place among our essential workers, the people who feed us,” says Ernesto Ruiz, a researcher and advocate with The Farmworkers Association of Florida, a key organization continuing the fight to protect outdoor workers during grueling summer months.

As extreme heat continues to become more dangerous every year, The Center for American Progress published the first in a series of reports urging policymakers to address the needs of populations vulnerable to extreme heat, including making paid breaks part of heat-illness prevention protocols and speeding the adoption of a federal heat standard. 

More: In the summer heat, UPS warehouse workers endure sweltering working conditions (Documented)

While tackling the heat (don’t forget to apply and reapply your sunscreen), we can also find joy in simple pleasures that help us cope with the summer swelter, like the juicy, sweet purple Himalayan mulberry, a fruit cherished by the South Asian diaspora. India Currents offers three recipes to help you make the most of this superfood

Ariam Alula (how to say it) is URL Media’s first audience manager. She works closely with URL Media’s Editorial Director and leads the network’s social and newsletter content while further developing and executing the brand’s strategic audience goals. Alula who was born and raised in The Bronx had this to say about her work upon joining the network in the fall of 2022.

“I'm committed to helping our audience understand how issues in their own backyard impact other BIPOC communities. Also, I believe that our network's content amplification and original reporting should fully reflect and affirm the customs and cultural norms of our multicultural, multidisciplinary, and geographically diverse audiences. As BIPOC communities have and continue to be grossly misrepresented by the mainstream media, this part of the work can’t be overstated. Also growing up as a child of immigrants, community is an integral part of my identity, and it's something I bring to URL Media every day.”

Before joining the network, Alula sharpened her range of skills and interests in newsletter curation and editing, audience strategy and research, and measuring and tracking impact. In recent years Alula has worked for many organizations in the journalism support space, such as Coda Story while based in the Republic of Georgia and U.S.-based organizations like the Institute for Nonprofit News, the Public Square Team at Democracy Fund, Online News Association and Women Do News. She has also written for the American Press Institute’s Need to Know newsletter.

Alula is also a proud graduate of the engagement journalism program at the Craig Newmark Journalism School at the City University of New York, where she spent 16 long, insightful and experimental months working with family caregivers of people with autism in New York City.