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Two Super Moons, Blue Moon, Meteor Shower to Grace August Skies

A dazzling array of celestial events is in store for stargazers in August: two supermoons, a rare blue moon, and a once-in-a-year meteor shower.

Those turning their eyes to the heavens will not have to wait long for the first nighttime showing. On August 1, the full moon will rise in the southeast. 

When Tuesday’s moon is at its fullest, it will also be making its closest pass to Earth in its orbit, known as perigee. This will make the moon appear about 8% larger than a typical full moon and will earn it the label of a “supermoon.” 

In North America, August’s full moon is often called the sturgeon moon because the freshwater fish are typically in high numbers during the month. It is also known as the grain moon, corn moon and harvest moon.

The second full moon of the month will come on the night of August 30. Whenever there is an extra full moon during a month, it is called a blue moon.

The next time there will be two full moons in one month will be in May 2026. 

August’s blue moon will also be a supermoon, providing a rare occurrence of two such moons appearing in the same month. Stargazers will have to wait until 2037 before there are another two supermoons in a single month.

Also gracing the sky in August is the annual Perseid meteor shower. It will reach its peak in the Northern Hemisphere on the nights of August 12-13. Stargazers who have access to a dark sky can expect to see between 50 to 75 meteors in an hour. Viewers do not need a telescope; they can spot the colorful display with the naked eye during a clear night.

This year’s meteor shower will have excellent conditions, with the crescent moon not set to rise until the early morning hours. 

The Perseid meteors come from leftover comet particles and parts of broken asteroids, according to NASA. Every year, Earth passes through the rocky debris, causing the particles to collide with Earth and disintegrate into bright streaks in the sky.

The meteors appear to come from the constellation Perseus, which is how they got their name.

August will also see the return of Saturn and Jupiter to the night sky.  

Saturn will be at what astronomers call “opposition” — when Earth is directly between the planet and the sun — on August 27. On that night, Saturn will rise when the sun sets and will be visible in the sky throughout the night.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.


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Biden Goes West to Talk About Administration’s Efforts to Combat Climate Change

President Joe Biden will travel to Arizona, New Mexico and Utah next week and is expected to talk about his administration’s efforts to combat climate change as the region endures a brutally hot summer with soaring temperatures, the White House said Monday.

Biden is expected to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act, America’s most significant response to climate change, and the push toward more clean energy manufacturing. The act aims to spur clean energy on a scale that will bend the arc of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

July has been the hottest month ever recorded. Biden last week announced new steps to protect workers in extreme heat, including measures to improve weather forecasts and make drinking water more accessible.

Members of Biden’s administration also are fanning out over the next few weeks around the anniversary of the landmark climate change and health care legislation to extol the administration’s successes as the Democratic president seeks reelection in 2024.

Vice President Kamala Harris heads to Wisconsin this week with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to talk about broadband infrastructure investments. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack goes to Oregon to highlight wildfire defense grants, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will go to Illinois and Texas, and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona heads to Maryland to talk about career and technical education programs.

The Inflation Reduction Act included roughly $375 billion over a decade to combat climate change and capped the cost of a month’s supply of insulin at $35 for older Americans and other Medicare beneficiaries. It also helps an estimated 13 million Americans pay for health care insurance by extending subsidies provided during the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure is paid for by new taxes on large companies and stepped-up IRS enforcement of wealthy individuals and entities, with additional funds going to reduce the federal deficit.

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Brain Fog, Other Long COVID Symptoms Are Focus of New Studies

The National Institutes of Health is beginning a handful of studies to test possible treatments for long COVID, an anxiously awaited step in U.S. efforts against the mysterious condition that afflicts millions.

Monday’s announcement from the NIH’s $1.15 billion RECOVER project comes amid frustration from patients who’ve struggled for months or even years with sometimes-disabling health problems — with no proven treatments and only a smattering of rigorous studies to test potential ones.

“This is a year or two late and smaller in scope than one would hope but nevertheless it’s a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of Washington University in St. Louis, who isn’t involved with NIH’s project but whose own research highlighted long COVID’s toll. Getting answers is critical, he added, because “there’s a lot of people out there exploiting patients’ vulnerability” with unproven therapies.

Scientists don’t yet know what causes long COVID, the catchall term for about 200 widely varying symptoms. Between 10% and 30% of people are estimated to have experienced some form of long COVID after recovering from a coronavirus infection, a risk that has dropped somewhat since early in the pandemic.

“If I get 10 people, I get 10 answers of what long COVID really is,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said.

That’s why so far, the RECOVER initiative has tracked 24,000 patients in observational studies to help define the most common and burdensome symptoms –- findings that now are shaping multipronged treatment trials. The first two will look at:

— Whether taking up to 25 days of Pfizer’s antiviral drug Paxlovid could ease long COVID, because of a theory that some live coronavirus, or its remnants, may hide in the body and trigger the disorder. Normally Paxlovid is used when people first get infected and for just five days.

— Treatments for “brain fog” and other cognitive problems. They include Posit Science Corp.’s BrainHQ cognitive training program, another called PASC-Cognitive Recovery by New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System, and a Soterix Medical device that electrically stimulates brain circuits.

Two additional studies will open in the coming months. One will test treatments for sleep problems. The other will target problems with the autonomic nervous system — which controls unconscious functions like breathing and heartbeat — including the disorder called POTS.

A more controversial study of exercise intolerance and fatigue also is planned, with NIH seeking input from some patient groups worried that exercise may do more harm than good for certain long COVID sufferers.

The trials are enrolling 300 to 900 adult participants for now but have the potential to grow. Unlike typical experiments that test one treatment at a time, these more flexible “platform studies” will let NIH add additional potential therapies on a rolling basis.

“We can rapidly pivot,” Dr. Amy Patterson with the NIH explained. A failing treatment can be dropped without ending the entire trial and “if something promising comes on the horizon, we can plug it in.”

Flexibility could be key, according to Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a Harvard researcher who isn’t involved with the NIH program but has long studied a similarly mysterious disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome or ME/CFS. For example, he said, the Paxlovid study “makes all sorts of sense,” but if a 25-day dose shows only hints of working, researchers could extend the test to a longer course instead of starting from scratch.

Komaroff also said that he understands people’s frustration over the wait for these treatment trials, but believes NIH appropriately waited “until some clues came in about the underlying biology,” adding: “You’ve got to have targets.”

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WHO: Afghanistan, Pakistan Close to Eradicating Polio  

Afghanistan and Pakistan have reported a very small number of polio infections in their region this year, fueling expectations the neighboring countries could be just months away from interrupting the endemic transmission of the crippling virus.

Pakistani authorities have reported a three-year-old child with paralytic polio, the only case in the country in the first seven months of 2023 compared to 20 cases last year.

Afghan health officials have confirmed five cases of polio paralysis in children, which is an increase from two reported infections in 2022.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan have never been this close to reaching the goal of eradicating wild poliovirus (WPV1) concurrently,” said Dr. Hamid Jafari, the World Health Organization’s director of polio eradication for the eastern Mediterranean region.

“And both countries need to reach this goal together – with the full support of the political, administrative, and security apparatus — if we are to finally eradicate wild poliovirus from the world,” Jafari told VOA in written comments.

Out of the 34 Afghan provinces, poliovirus transmission is limited to two eastern provinces, Nangarhar and Kunar, bordering Pakistan. According to official data, all five WPV1 cases detected this year are in Nangarhar.

“Immunity gaps, resulting from significant disruption of immunization campaigns during 2021 and 2022, have left children in the region at risk of polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases,” Jafari said.

Before the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, Islamist militants routinely attacked health volunteers who fanned out across the country to administer vaccines. In October 2021, the Taliban backed a WHO vaccination campaign in Afghanistan, enabling the polio program to resume nationwide immunizations later that year.

It has since reached millions of children in the south and other regions of the country who had not received immunizations for at least four years, Jafari noted. He added that the Afghan vaccination program has also increased the number of site testing for poliovirus in wastewater, allowing timely detection and response, Jafari said.

“The quality of vaccination campaigns has improved remarkably since late 2022 in the east region of Afghanistan, and if such quality campaigns are sustained, endemic transmission in the region will be interrupted in the coming months,” said the senior WHO official.

“Cross-border coordination with Pakistan will continue to be essential throughout 2023 given the circulation of WPV1 on both sides of the border and the large population movement between the two countries,” Jafari stated.

He said that the “last mile” had always proven to be the most challenging phase of any national effort to interrupt polio transmission.


Since January 2021, all reported cases in Pakistan, a country of about 230 million people, have been from seven polio-endemic districts in the southern area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province out of 171 districts nationwide.

Despite detections of poliovirus in wastewater samples in other Pakistani districts, circulation has yet to be established outside the seven endemic districts.

“This is the result of very effective outbreak responses in each affected district outside the seven endemic districts,” Jafari said. He added that the polio program in Pakistan was “capitalizing on the momentum of recent success and continues to strive for zero polio.”

On Tuesday, Pakistan will launch its latest vaccination campaign to eliminate the highly contagious virus in a country where the disease paralyzed approximately 20,000 children in the early 1990s.

A polio program spokesperson told VOA the campaign aims to immunize nearly 8 million children under five across 61 districts in two phases. He said the government had deployed around 65,000 “front-line workers” to administer polio drops to the targeted population.

Pakistan has repeatedly come close to eradicating polio, but long-running propaganda in conservative rural areas that the vaccines cause sterility in children, coupled with deadly militant attacks on vaccinators, have set back the mission. Anti-state militants allege polio vaccinators gather intelligence on their hideouts.

The global polio eradication program identifies Pakistan, Afghanistan, parts of Somalia, and Yemen as areas where outbreaks are difficult to control.

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Україна домовилася з Хорватією про використання хорватських портів для експорту українського зерна – МЗС

«Ми домовилися про можливість використання хорватських портів на Дунаї і в Адріатичному морі для транспортування українського зерна. Зараз ми будемо працювати над тим, щоб прокласти якомога ефективніші маршрути до цих портів і максимально скористатися цією можливістю»

Політика Столиця Шляхта

«Слуга народу» Холодов написав заяву про складання депутатських повноважень після розслідування «Схем»

Напередодні журналісти проєкту «Схеми» повідомили, що нардеп виїхав з України у січні 2023 року і з того часу не повертався – не відвідував засідання парламенту та не голосував

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Smoking Declines as Tobacco Control Measures Kick-In

Smoking rates are falling, and lives are being saved as more countries implement policies and control measures to curb the global tobacco epidemic, according to a World Health Organization report issued Monday that rates country progress in tobacco control. 

New data show that the adoption of the WHO’s package of six tobacco control measures 15 years ago has protected millions of people from the harmful effects of tobacco use.

The measures, which were launched in 2008, call on governments to monitor tobacco use and prevention policies, protect people from tobacco smoke, offer help to quit tobacco use, warn people about the dangers of tobacco, enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, and to raise taxes on tobacco.

“Without this decline, there would be an estimated 300 million more smokers in the world today,” said Ruediger Krech, WHO director for health promotion.

He said more than 5.6 billion people, that is 71% of the world population, live in countries that have implemented at least one of these lifesaving protective measures. 

“What an achievement,” he said.  “This policy package has literally changed our lives.  It means that families can go out to restaurants without worrying about their children breathing secondhand smoke.

“It means that people that want help to quit smoking can get the support that they need.  More than that,” he said, “it means that we are protected from the many deadly diseases caused by secondhand smoke.”

However, he noted that 2.3 billion people live in the 44 countries that have not implemented any tobacco control measures “leaving them at risk of the health and economic burden of tobacco use.” 

Until recently, only Turkey and Brazil had succeeded in enacting all six of the so-called MPOWER tobacco control measures.  WHO reports Mauritius and the Netherlands now have joined this elite group, becoming the first African country and the first high-income country to achieve this best-practice level.

Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, Mauritius Minister of Health and Wellness said his country was one of the first signatories of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004.  Since then, he said his government has been continuously implementing the articles contained in the agreement.

He said Mauritius began amending its legislation and tobacco control laws in 2008 to blunt the heavy toll smoking was taking on his country’s aging population.

“The prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, stroke, diabetes, hypertension is quite high in Mauritius.  We are also experiencing aging of the population…So, these combined effects of an aging population, significant effect of co-morbidity forced the government to take bold action.” 

Jagutpal said his government has been using WHO-recommended measures to discourage smoking to good effect.   These include banning the advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco products; prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors, helping people to quit tobacco use, creating smoke-free places, and raising taxes on cigarettes.

The minister said these measures are working, with surveys showing that smoking has declined from 30% in 1987 to 18.3% in 2021. 

WHO’s report on the global tobacco epidemic focuses on protecting the public from secondhand smoke.  It finds a growing number of countries are passing laws designating smoke-free indoor public places.  

Krech said nearly 40% of countries have achieved this goal.  “Today, 74 countries protect their populations, making up to 25% of the world’s population with comprehensive smoke-free legislation in public indoor areas like health care, education facilities, as well as hospitality venues like restaurants and cafes.”

But he warned the battle against the global tobacco epidemic was far from over.  

“Tobacco use continues to be one of the biggest public health threats with 8.7 million people dying from tobacco related diseases every year, 1.3 million of these deaths are amongst non-smokers that are subjected to secondhand smoke.” 

Krech said tobacco remained the leading cause of preventable death in the world, largely due to relentless marketing campaigns by the tobacco industry.  

He urged governments to “push back against the tobacco and nicotine industries,” who lobby against public health measures by using different ploys “to hook children on to e-cigarettes and vaping to make them nicotine dependent.”

Then, of course, he said “they will switch to cigarettes afterward.”

Політика Столиця Шляхта

Україна отримала 1,25 млрд дол грантових коштів від США – Мінфін

До державного бюджету України надійшов грант в розмірі 1,25 млрд доларів від США через Цільовий фонд донорів Світового банку, повідомила у понеділок пресслужба Міністерства фінансів України.

«В 2023 році Україна вже отримала 8,45 млрд доларів США грантових коштів прямої бюджетної підтримки від США. Від початку повномасштабної війни до держбюджету України вже надійшло 20,4 млрд доларів грантових коштів від Сполучених Штатів», – йдеться в повідомленні.

Залучене грантове фінансування, кажуть в Мінфіні, спрямують на відшкодування видатків держбюджету, зокрема, на оплату праці працівників державних органів та виплат ВПО, особам з інвалідністю, малозабезпеченим сім’ям, виплату житлово-комунальних субсидій тощо.

«Безповоротна фінансова допомога від Сполучених Штатів є надзвичайно важливим елементом у підтримці держбюджету України під час опору повномасштабній агресії РФ. Черговий грант допоможе уряду України відшкодувати пріоритетні видатки соціальної та гуманітарної сфери», – прокоментував міністр фінансів Сергій Марченко.

Міністерство фінансів запевняє, що за використанням прямої бюджетної підтримки уряду США в Україні постійно діє моніторинг і перевірки за узгодженими процедурами.


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Зеленський підписав закон про право поліцейських і нацгвардійців збивати БПЛА 

Президент України Володимир Зеленський підписав закон про надання поліції та Нацгвардії права збивати безпілотні літальні апарати в разі порушення ними повітряного простору України.

Як йдеться на сайті Верховної Ради, документ сьогодні було повернуто до парламенту з підписом Зеленського.

Законопроєкт розширює повноваження Нацгвардії, Нацполіції, Держприкордонслужби, СБУ щодо застосування ними спеціальних засобів (пристроїв) для перехоплення сигналів дистанційного керування безпілотниками, пошкодження або знищення їх у разі порушення повітряного простору України під час охорони державного кордону, критично важливих об’єктів інфраструктури та важливих державних об’єктів, у спеціальних зонах з особливим режимом.

Згідно з документом, безпілотні апарати заборонено використовувати над будівлями поліцейських відділків, Служби безпеки та об’єктами прикордонної служби і в період дії воєнного стану, і після його завершення. Документ забороняє здійснювати польоти БПЛА над прикордонною смугою, крім окремо визначених випадків.

Крім того, для протидії диверсії та злочинності в окремих місцевостях можуть бути застосовані засоби та пристрої для тимчасового обмеження доступу до інтернету та використання мобільного зв’язку.

13 липня ВР ухвалила цей законопроєкт у цілому.


Столиця Шляхта

Каховську ГЕС відбудують за шість років після деокупації – гендиректор «Укргідроенерго»

Відбудова Каховської гідроелектростанції після її деокупації займе шість років. Нова станція буде сучасною і значно потужнішою за зруйновану. А зараз, упродовж двох років, розробляють експериментальний проєкт відбудови. Про це в ефірі Радіо Свобода (проєкт «Свобода.Ранок») повідомив голова компанії «Укргідроенерго» Ігор Сирота.

За його словами, головне завдання експериментального проєкту – забезпечити роботу станції ДніпроГЕС. На першому етапі також планують спроектувати тимчасові греблі водосховища. Після деокупації, за словами Сироти, це допоможе швидко розпочати будівництво тимчасової гідроспоруди для перегородження водосховища і за умов паводку допоможе наповнити його водою до необхідного рівня.

«Якщо буде хороший паводок, ми можемо хоча би дійти до відмітки 12 з половиною, що необхідно для того, щоб забезпечити водою наші три області. Після цього ми повинні побудувати таку ж саму тимчасову гідроспоруду з нижньої сторони станції, щоб осушити станцію, осушити цей будівельний майданчик, запросити експертів, подивитися наслідки руйнування, зібрати всі докази підриву цієї станції. І потім, другий етап – це демонтаж цієї станції і проектування нової станції. На все це уряд виділив два роки», – сказав Сирота.

За цей час планують розробити проєкт побудови нової станції. Вона, за словами Ігоря Сироти, буде потужнішою за стару. А її будівництво за умов деокупації займе шість років.

«Ми втратили 340 МВт. Планується нову станцію побудувати на 520-580 МВт. І, звичайно, це вже повинна бути сучасна станція, з вимогами до екології. Трансформатори повинні бути без масла, або з синтетичним маслом, яке дуже швидко розчиняється у воді. Це і рибоходи треба буде будувати такі, як є вже на сучасних станціях. Тобто, це вже буде вже проектуватися. Але це все буде вже робитися після деокупації. Термін реалізації самої станції, щоб побудувати потрібно буде ще шість років. Тобто, від сьогоднішнього дня нам потрібно сім з половиною – вісім років, щоб відновити цей потенціал, який був зруйнований шостого червня», – сказав Сирота.

На світанку 6 червня стало відомо про руйнування дамби Каховської ГЕС. Україна звинувачує у підриві греблі Каховської ГЕС Росію. Кремль називає руйнування греблі «навмисною диверсією» з боку Києва.

Представники країн Заходу, коментуючи руйнування греблі, прямо не заявляли про те, що її підірвала Росія, проте все ж таки відзначали відповідальність Москви за те, що сталося – оскільки саме Росія здійснила повномасштабне вторгнення в Україну 24 лютого минулого року й окупувала частину Херсонської області (зокрема і Каховську ГЕС), перетворивши її на зону боїв.

Руйнування дамби спричинило затоплення значних територій нижче за течією й обміління водосховища вище. Були затоплені десятки населених пунктів.


Столиця Шляхта

Кількість постраждалих через війну дітей зросла – ОГП

Від початку повномасштабної війни в Україні постраждали понад 1579 дітей, повідомляє пресслужба Офісу генерального прокурора. За даними відомства, станом на ранок 31 липня зросло число поранених неповнолітніх.

«За офіційною інформацією ювенальних прокурорів 498 дітей (дані за останні дні не змінилися – ред.) загинули та понад 1081 отримали поранення різного ступеня тяжкості», – йдеться в повідомленні.

У прокуратурі уточнили, що ці дані не є остаточними, наразі триває робота з їхнього встановлення в місцях ведення бойових дій, на тимчасово захоплених та звільнених територіях.

Збільшення кількості поранених дітей фіксують через те, що 30 липня внаслідок обстрілу Костянтинівки Донецької області поранень зазнав 13-річний хлопчик.


Наука Шляхта

Wildlife Lovers Urged to Join UK’s Annual Butterfly Count

Wildlife enthusiasts across Britain are being encouraged to log sightings of butterflies and some moths, as the world’s largest annual survey of the increasingly endangered pollinating insects returns.

The U.K.-wide “Big Butterfly Count” — which this year runs from July 14 to August 6 — helps conservationists assess the health of the country’s natural environment, amid mounting evidence it is increasingly imperiled. 

Volunteers download a chart helping them to identify different butterfly species and then record their sightings in gardens, parks and elsewhere using a smartphone app and other online tools.

It comes as experts warn the often brightly colored winged insects are in rapid decline in Britain as they fail to cope with unprecedented environmental change. 

“It’s a pretty worrying picture,” Richard Fox, head of science at the Butterfly Conservation charity, which runs the nationwide citizen-led survey, told AFP at Orley Common, a vast park in Devon, southwest England.

“The major causes of the decline are what we humans have done to the landscape in the U.K. over the past 50, 60, 70 years,” he added from the site, which is seeing fewer butterflies despite offering an ideal habitat for them. 

A report published this year that Fox co-authored, based on 23 million items of data, revealed that four in every five U.K. butterfly species have decreased since the 1970s. 

Half of the country’s 58 species are listed as threatened, according to a conservation “red list.” 

‘Citizen scientists’

The UK, one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries, has lost almost half of its biodiversity over recent decades, according to a 2021 U.K. parliament report.

Agriculture, and its use of fertilizers and pesticides, alongside changes to landscapes including the removal of hedge rows to maximize space for growing crops, is partly blamed.

Counting butterflies, which are among the most monitored insects globally, has helped track the grim trend. 

Volunteers have been contributing to the effort since the 1970s, but recording is more popular than ever, in part thanks to evolving technology.

The Big Butterfly Count launched in 2010 and claims to have become the world’s biggest such survey. 

Over 64,000 “citizen scientists” participated last year, submitting 96,257 counts of butterflies and day-flying moths from across Britain.

Butterfly Conservation and the U.K. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have developed an iRecord Butterflies app to help identify and geo-locate different butterfly species sightings.

It has logged nearly 1 million submissions since launching in 2014.

Butterflies help identify the health of an ecosystem because they react quickly to environmental changes and are seen as an early warning system for other wildlife losses, conservationists note.

“One of the great things about butterflies and of this fantastic data that we have about butterflies is that they act as indicators about all the other groups,” Fox explained. 

“So we know a bit about how our bees are doing, we know a little about how bugs, and beetles, and flies, and wasps, and other important insects are doing.”

‘We’ll starve’

Amy Walkden, Butterfly Conservation’s branch secretary in Devon, is one of many enthusiasts monitoring the insects year-round with the help of her 8-year-old daughter, Robin.

“Having a yearly record of what is around and what is not around I think is really good scientific data to indicate changes such as global warming, habitat destruction,” she said. 

Her daughter Robin appears equally aware of their value.

“If we don’t have any butterflies and all the buzzy things, then the things that eat butterflies won’t have any food,” she noted.

“The food chain is basically what we eat and if there is none of them, we’ll starve and we won’t really be able to survive, will we?”

Fox hopes that the latest annual count will help prompt policy makers to take more action, although he concedes the scale of the task is “enormous.”

The U.K. government has said it wants to reverse biodiversity loss and climate change, partly by planting tens of millions of trees in the next three years.

Fox called the plan “fantastic” but said other areas such as low intensity agri-environment schemes are also needed, “so that the public money paid to farmers will benefit the environment and support biodiversity.”

“There’s a lot more we can do there to make sure that the margins around fields are being managed in a way to turn around the fortunes of our more common and widespread butterflies,” he added.

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Record Heat Shows Plight of Americans Suffering Without Air Conditioning

As Denver neared triple-digit temperatures, Ben Gallegos sat shirtless on his porch swatting flies off his legs and spritzing himself with a misting fan to try to get through the heat. Gallegos, like many in the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, doesn’t have air conditioning. 

The 68-year-old covers his windows with mattress foam to insulate against the heat and sleeps in the concrete basement. He knows high temperatures can cause heat stroke and death, and his lung condition makes him more susceptible. But the retired brick layer, who survives on about $1,000 a month, says air conditioning is out of reach. 

“Take me about 12 years to save up for something like that,” he said. “If it’s hard to breath, I’ll get down to emergency.” 

As climate change fans hotter and longer heat waves, breaking record temperatures across the U.S. and leaving dozens dead, the poorest Americans suffer the hottest days with the fewest defenses. Air conditioning, once a luxury, is now a matter of survival. 

As Phoenix weathered its 27th consecutive day above 110 degrees (43 Celsius) Wednesday, the nine who died indoors didn’t have functioning air conditioning, or it was turned off. Last year, all 86 heat-related deaths indoors were in uncooled environments. 

“To explain it fairly simply: Heat kills,” said Kristie Ebi, a University of Washington professor who researches heat and health. “Once the heat wave starts, mortality starts in about 24 hours.” 

It’s the poorest and people of color, from Kansas City to Detroit to New York City and beyond, who are far more likely to face grueling heat without air conditioning, according to a Boston University analysis of 115 U.S. metro areas. 

“The temperature differences … between lower-income neighborhoods, neighborhoods of color and their wealthier, whiter counterparts have pretty severe consequences,” said Cate Mingoya-LaFortune of Groundwork USA, an environmental justice organization. “There are these really big consequences like death. … But there’s also ambient misery.” 

Some have window units that can offer respite, but “in the dead of heat, it don’t do nothing,” said Melody Clark, who stopped Friday to get food at a Kansas City, Kansas, nonprofit as temperatures soared to 101. When the central air conditioning at her rental house broke, her landlord installed a window unit. But it doesn’t do much during the day. 

So the 45-year-old wets her hair, cooks outside on a propane grill and keeps the lights off indoors. At night she flips the box unit on, hauling her bed into the room where it’s located to sleep. 

As far as her two teenagers, she said: “They aren’t little bitty. We aren’t dying in the heat. … They don’t complain.” 

While billions in federal funding have been allocated to subsidize utility costs and the installation of cooling systems, experts say they often only support a fraction of the most vulnerable families and some still require prohibitive upfront costs. Installing a centralized heat pump system for heating and cooling can easily reach $25,000. 

President Joe Biden announced steps on Thursday to defend against extreme heat, highlighting the expansion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which funnels money through states to help poorer households pay utility bills. 

While the program is critical, said Michelle Graff, who studies the subsidy at Cleveland State University, only about 16% of the nation’s eligible population is actually reached. Nearly half of states don’t offer the federal dollars for summer cooling. 

“So people are engaging in coping mechanisms, like they’re turning on their air conditioners later and leaving their homes hotter,” Graff said. 

As temperatures rise, so does the cost of cooling. And temperatures are already hotter in America’s low-income neighborhoods. Researchers at the University of San Diego analyzed 1,056 counties and in over 70%, the poorest areas and those with higher Black, Hispanic and Asian populations were significantly hotter. That’s in part because those neighborhoods lack tree coverage. 

At noon Friday, Katrice Sullivan sat on the porch of her rented house on Detroit’s westside. It was hot and muggy, but even steamier inside the house. Even if she had air conditioning, Sullivan said she’d choose her moments to run it to keep her electricity bill down. 

The 37-year-old factory worker sometimes sits in her car with the air conditioner running. “Some people here spend every dollar for food, so air conditioning is something they can’t afford,” she said. 

In the federal Inflation Reduction Act, billions were set aside for tax credits and rebates to help families install energy-efficient cooling systems, but some of those are yet to be available. Rebates are the kind of state and federal point-of-sale discounts that Amanda Morian has looked into for her 640-square-foot home. 

Morian, who has a 13-week-old baby susceptible to hot weather, is desperate to keep her house in Denver’s Globeville suburb cool. She got estimates from four different companies for installing a cooling system, but every project was between $20,000 and $25,000, she said. Even with subsidies she can’t afford it. 

Instead, she bought thermal curtains, ceiling fans and runs a window unit. At night she tries to do skin-to-skin touch to regulate the baby’s body temperature. 

“All of those are just to take the edge off, its not enough to actually make it cool. It’s enough to keep us from dying,” she said.