“Nice weather”? | Why the term definitely needs an update
30 degrees and sunshine: for many people, this was considered the definition of “nice weather” for a long time. But in this year 2022 at the latest, when people and nature in Europe are suffering from record heat, there seems to be a rethink. But what is really “nice weather” and what should change in our perception?
We suggest a new perspective and give you some ideas on how you can get involved in protecting people and nature in hot times in your neighborhood, in your city, and across Germany.
Why do we talk about nice weather at all?
In summer, people usually feel better physically and mentally. This is because the days are longer, we spend a lot of time in the fresh air and the sunlight increases our serotonin levels. So subjectively, warm and sunny weather is really nice, because we feel fitter and more comfortable than on dark and dreary winter days, for example. So the association of sunshine and warmth with “nice weather” is perfectly understandable. But when the weather turns into heat extremes, as it has this summer, it becomes clear that “nice” is also a relative term.
Many suffer from the heat
For many people, these hot summer days are anything but pleasant. The heat is particularly hard on the health of older or weaker people. In addition, there are people without shelter who have no cool rooms to retreat to. Not to mention farmers, who are eagerly awaiting sufficient rain and now fear crop losses of up to 25%.
Nature is also currently suffering massively from the sun and the lack of rain. The drought has already led to forest fires in many regions of Europe, and more than 600,000 hectares of forest have already fallen victim this year. The trees in our cities are also massively endangered by the drought. Particularly against the backdrop of climate change, they are an enormously important factor for the future climate control of urban areas.
What should change in our weather perception
Of course, it’s not about not going to the lake on sunny days or meeting friends for ice cream. Being outside in sunny warm weather is and remains a beautiful thing, of course. However, in this hot summer of 2022 at the latest, it is becoming clear that we need to expand this understanding of “beautiful”. Because:
Weather is not a recreational service for humans.
Talking about “nice weather” exclusively in the context of sunshine and warm temperatures only focuses on individual recreational pleasure (at the swimming lake) and leaves out nature and people suffering from the heat.
We should also think about the value of the weather for the ecological balance and nature. In other words, we should also learn to appreciate “bad weather” more. For example, by understanding a foggy autumn day, a rainy winter or a cooling thunderstorm as “good weather. Because these help nature to regenerate and replenish its water reservoirs.
Of course, this change of perspective will not stop climate change. But it can help us make more sustainable choices in our everyday lives and think about the needs of nature and other people.
This is how you can support people and nature
In the future, we will probably have to reckon with more hot days. To cushion the consequences for you, other people and nature as much as possible, you have a variety of options.
At home and in your neighborhood
Of course, you can start by taking action on an individual level. For example, in particularly hot times you can ask your elderly neighbors if you can support them with something or by watering city trees in your neighborhood (more information here in the blog) and putting out water for birds and insects. Taking shorter showers, switching to public transport and saving energy and reducing waste are also effective measures.
In your city
At the same time, you have the opportunity to actively engage with people who are suffering from the heat. Among others, this can be homeless people. In our blog post about homelessness in the summer, we show you how you can support them.
Germany-wide for the protection of climate & nature
Take an active role in preserving and protecting nature and the climate. You can do this in many different ways. For example, by signing petitions (e.g. at change.org), by donating to climate and nature conservation projects (e.g. at betterplace.org) or by getting involved in a climate or nature conservation project at vostel.de.
Your vostel.de team wishes you good weather at all times!