Cool idea

The Compass - - Editorial -

The dog days of sum­mer. Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle in Na­tional Geo­graphic a few years ago, the term orig­i­nated from the an­cient Greeks. It was the time of year when the Dog Star, Sir­ius, rose be­fore the sun in late July.

“They re­ferred to these days as the hottest time of the year,” the 2015 ar­ti­cle states, “a pe­riod that could bring fever, or even catas­tro­phe.”

For At­lantic Canada, the pe­riod could bring op­por­tu­nity.

We’ve had a rare string of heat warn­ings across the re­gion this sum­mer, with tem­per­a­tures and hu­mid­ity soar­ing into the 30s.

The re­gion’s beaches, splash pads, swim­ming pools and ice cream shops have never been busier or more re­fresh­ing.

But At­lantic Canada’s heat wave pales in com­par­i­son to how high the mer­cury is ris­ing in other re­gions.

Two weeks ago, Por­tu­gal and Spain were on alert for a tem­per­a­ture of 48 de­grees Cel­sius.

In Bri­tain, rare flamin­gos have laid eggs for the first time in 15 years due to swel­ter­ing heat.

In Scot­land, the high tem­per­a­tures have slowed the growth of hay so that the farmer who nor­mally lends his fields, post-har­vest, to al­low the run­ning of the In­ver­char­ron High­land Games on Sept. 15 is un­able to do so this year be­cause the hay har­vest will be de­layed.

In West­ern Canada, tem­per­a­tures are still crest­ing past 35 C, iron­i­cally ac­cel­er­at­ing grow­ing sea­sons there but also cre­at­ing op­ti­mum con­di­tions for wild­fires.

Leth­bridge, Alta., hit 40 on Fri­day.

In the United States, the weather was so hot in St. Louis this week­end, it slowed the golf greens dur­ing the PGA cham­pi­onships.

Cal­i­for­nia is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing what could be the worst wild­fire sea­son in its his­tory.

In At­lantic Canada, as in­suf­fer­able as the heat and hu­mid­ity have been this sum­mer, thank­fully we’re not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these kinds of tem­per­a­tures.

Which, in these days of global warm­ing, with such trends ex­pected to con­tinue, may present an op­por­tu­nity for At­lantic Canada to mar­ket it­self as a des­ti­na­tion for global tourists to es­cape the heat and let sea breezes blow through their hair, cooler wa­ters wash over their feet, and rugged coastal vis­tas fill their eyes.

When the tem­per­a­tures are hit­ting the mid-40s, peo­ple will pay to es­cape, par­tic­u­larly from the con­crete, stone, steel and glass tow­ers of large, hot cities.

What would be very cool is if the At­lantic prov­inces teamed up to mar­ket the re­gion this way.

Even cooler still? Hav­ing this re­gion’s gov­ern­ments com­mit­ting to be­com­ing as green as pos­si­ble, so we’re pro­mot­ing our prov­inces as a cooler, greener place, one that’s not just tak­ing ad­van­tage of cli­mate change but also pulling out all the stops to com­bat it.

The op­por­tu­nity is there and, like the Greeks and their dog days, it’s time to get Sir­ius about it.

Sorry for the pun, the heat is get­ting to us.

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