Limits...
Socio-cultural reflections on heat in Australia with implications for health and climate change adaptation.

Banwell C, Dixon J, Bambrick H, Edwards F, Kjellström T - Glob Health Action (2012)

Bottom Line: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C.The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C. Although 'heat waves' are an annual occurrence, the associated heat-related deaths among vulnerable groups, such as older people, suggest that Australians could be better prepared to deal with extreme heat.

Objective: To understand ways in which a vulnerable sub-population adapt their personal behaviour to cope with heat within the context of Australians' relationship with heat.

Design: We draw upon scientific, historical and literary sources and on a set of repeat interviews in the suburbs of Western Sydney with eight older participants and two focus group discussions. We discuss ways in which this group of older people modifies their behaviour to adapt to heat, and reflect on manifestations of Australians' ambivalence towards heat.

Results: Participants reported a number of methods for coping with extreme heat, including a number of methods of personal cooling, changing patterns of daily activity and altering dietary habits. The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.

Conclusions: While a number of methods are employed by older people to stay cool, these may become limited in the future. Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Average annual temperatures in Australia, showing states, territories, and their capital cities.
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Figure 0001: Average annual temperatures in Australia, showing states, territories, and their capital cities.

Mentions: Australia is a vast country that ranges from a tropical climate in the north, extremely hot deserts in the centre, to temperate coastal regions in the south, east, and west (Fig. 1). From the beginning of the Europeans’ settlement in Australia, its climate, particularly heat and drought, has been a source of concern and wonderment to new arrivals: something to be celebrated or endured. Australia provided settlers with climatic experiences that were vastly different from those they were familiar with and, in this way, heat has played a fundamental part in influencing patterns of population settlement for more than 200 years.


Socio-cultural reflections on heat in Australia with implications for health and climate change adaptation.

Banwell C, Dixon J, Bambrick H, Edwards F, Kjellström T - Glob Health Action (2012)

Average annual temperatures in Australia, showing states, territories, and their capital cities.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3475099&req=5

Figure 0001: Average annual temperatures in Australia, showing states, territories, and their capital cities.
Mentions: Australia is a vast country that ranges from a tropical climate in the north, extremely hot deserts in the centre, to temperate coastal regions in the south, east, and west (Fig. 1). From the beginning of the Europeans’ settlement in Australia, its climate, particularly heat and drought, has been a source of concern and wonderment to new arrivals: something to be celebrated or endured. Australia provided settlers with climatic experiences that were vastly different from those they were familiar with and, in this way, heat has played a fundamental part in influencing patterns of population settlement for more than 200 years.

Bottom Line: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C.The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C. Although 'heat waves' are an annual occurrence, the associated heat-related deaths among vulnerable groups, such as older people, suggest that Australians could be better prepared to deal with extreme heat.

Objective: To understand ways in which a vulnerable sub-population adapt their personal behaviour to cope with heat within the context of Australians' relationship with heat.

Design: We draw upon scientific, historical and literary sources and on a set of repeat interviews in the suburbs of Western Sydney with eight older participants and two focus group discussions. We discuss ways in which this group of older people modifies their behaviour to adapt to heat, and reflect on manifestations of Australians' ambivalence towards heat.

Results: Participants reported a number of methods for coping with extreme heat, including a number of methods of personal cooling, changing patterns of daily activity and altering dietary habits. The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.

Conclusions: While a number of methods are employed by older people to stay cool, these may become limited in the future. Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus