The Digital Conversationalist

Andrea T Edwards

#191 Weekend Reads – is this heatwave enough of a wakeup call yet?

The Northern Hemisphere is going through a brutal heatwave and our news outlets are flooded with stories, featuring children dancing in fountains to cool down (isn’t it fun?!) all the way through to people going out on hikes in Greece and dying of heat stroke.

I know it’s not a very nice topic, but as I live in the global south and we already went through months of heat (India still is going through it), I often wonder if the only thing that will make a difference is mass deaths of wealthier white people in Western nations? Because what happened in my part of the world was essentially ignored, and so far, when it comes to addressing this crisis, we continue to tinker around the edges.

What do we need to do? Radical transformation and regeneration of nature – land, rivers and sea – is required. A new way of living on this earth is required. And with consumption out of control, we need the world’s 3.8 billion middle class people, as well as the super wealthy, to dramatically shrink our impact and lifestyles – that’s what’s required.

If we don’t do it, well….

Read: Why intense heat waves are more likely because of climate change – The Washington Post

When it comes to heat, deaths of tourists in Greece continue to be reported, heat records are being smashed all over the world, and in Saudi Arabia, where it hit 51.8°C, more than 1,000 hajj pilgrims are reported to have died of heat stroke so far. Then again, with many still missing because of their unofficial status, that number could be much higher.

In Brazil its enormous wetlands are on fire (yes wetlands), in New Mexico they’ve been dealing with massive fires and floods, China has too, while Nepal is on fire, and in Australia it’s experiencing its coldest start to winter in decades. My mum didn’t sound too happy about that.

And here’s something stunning – questions are being asked if the Paris Olympics are a good idea, considering heat projections for July. Really? No one thought about this until June 2024? I mean, even Sky News (owned by Murdoch) is talking about it.

Do we understand the future we have coming? This knowledge is available and it’s why I do the Weekend Reads. Besides, if I can know what’s coming, surely our politicians, media owners and business leaders know it too? And if they do, what are they thinking?

The impact of heat on humans in starting to be understood – which makes sense, as we can now really start to see it in real-time. These impacts include our hearts and brains, with brain damage specifically in children a real risk. Long-term impacts of heat exposure include organ failures (e.g: kidney damage), and significant developmental delays in children, whether the mother is pregnant, or the children have lived through heat extremes. Think of the world’s poor!

And what are we doing to turn this around? Well we’re using more and more energy, as fossil fuel use and emissions hit record highs, not to mention AI is already wreaking havoc on global power systems. We’re not a very smart species, are we?

As we watch this scorching heat circle the globe, what is the other impact we’re not hearing enough about? Well apart from making life deadly for ALL other life forms, it’s also coming for our food. In fact, in some of the poorest places on Earth droughts and flooding have become so common that the land can no longer sustain crops!

In India, it’s been above 40°C for weeks – so how can it grow food? This is a massive risk, as it’s a primary source globally for staple foods, like wheat and rice. And rice isn’t just an issue in India, the whole rice growing region of the world has been slammed by heat this year.

Check out this article: according to a 2022 report, two-thirds of the world’s calories come from four staple foods: wheat, rice, maize and soybeans. At least 72 per cent of these crops are grown in just five countries: China, the United States, India, Brazil and Argentina. A climate catastrophe in any one or more of these countries could send the entire world into a food crisis, the report said.

That means food inflation, food insecurity, and famine.

Maybe this will help a little if times are getting tight for you: How to Create a Food Budget – The New York Times (

You think about all the above, and what is causing outrage? Just Stop Oil covering Stonehenge in cornstarch paint which doesn’t cause long-term damage. Do you know what does cause long term damage to our ancient monuments? Climate change – heat, moisture, acidification, etc… – and it’s already having an impact and will only get worse.

The people carrying out these acts are desperate. They are terrified. They don’t know if they have a future. Put yourselves in their shoes, just for a minute. What would you be willing to do?

Must read: The Delusion of Advanced Plastic Recycling Using Pyrolysis — ProPublica

We know our leaders aren’t paying attention, but are we? Well, a big concern as a new report states: more people are turning away from the news, describing it as depressing, relentless and boring. Almost four in 10 (39%) people worldwide said they sometimes or often actively avoid the news, compared with 29% in 2017, according to the report by Oxford University’s Reuters Institute.

Head in the sand isn’t going to help.

Must read: ‘Scared as hell’: Climate scientists risk jobs, jail to save dying planet | Climate Crisis News | Al Jazeera

Anyhoo it’s time for a break from the Weekend Reads. I will continue to update what I’m reading/watching/listening to on my Website (bookmark this page), because I can’t turn away, but it’s time for another international relocation back to Singapore, and the coming weeks will require a massive effort to do that, and well, I also just need a break sometimes. It’s intense pulling this together every week and it’s nice having a normal Saturday too. I don’t have many of them.

I’ll be back in August with The Weekend Reads, and The Know Show and Climate Courage will be back late August/early September. Take care of yourself, keep smiling, keep the faith, take the heat seriously, help the poorest, and let’s get to work. The time for action is right now – massive, transformative action.

Favorite visual this week

Friends content and mine

It was a beautiful opportunity on Climate Courage this week, discussing the role of religion and spirituality to tackle the challenges we face. This was with Dr David Ko, Richard Busellato, Dr Bhupender Kaur, Tim Wade, Clare Westwood, and Gracious Denis. Have a listen and I’ll also find some time to edit shorter clips too.

Plenty more to read, listen to or watch, so do click through to the reads at the image below, and a reminder, this platform ( means the articles go back weeks, so have a scan and read/watch/listen to whatever jumps out at you.

Andrea T Edwards

Let me know what caught your attention? Or share with me what has your attention now? There’s a lot going on, which means none of us can cover everything. Besides, it’s always great to get feedback so I know I’m delivering something of value.



All my contact information is here.

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Andrea T Edwards

Uncommon Courage is an invitation to be your courageous best self every day. It’s also an antidote to the overwhelm, fear, and rage rolling around the world. But it’s more than a book; it’s an invitation to join an inclusive community that wants to better understand humanities challenges – both global and personal – in order to take courageous action and create a better world for everyone.

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You can read the reviews, including a new five-star review on Book Commentary, another five-star review on ReaderViews, a review on BookTrib, and three more on Booklife, another on Book Commentary and Blue Ink Reviews. I’m also collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.

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The Know Show

Check out The Know Show. It’s a fortnightly wrap up of the news and we started again for 2024.

Climate Courage

A fortnightly conversation on issues that matter to you and I, focusing on the actions we can all take. Check it out.

18 Steps to an All-Star LinkedIn Profile 

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