Skip to content

Every city needs a ‘chief heat officer’

People in this story

Experience, June 2022

The new buildings sprouted like weeds, clinging to hillsides and rising in the cracks between houses. In many neighborhoods, tin roofs on shacks were so densely packed, they resembled a game of Tetris. Everywhere Eugenia Kargbo looked, Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, seemed to be devouring itself.  

For years, Kargbo had watched her hometown grow denser and denser, hotter and hotter. Freetown, situated on a peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean, had always been balmy. But in recent years, migrants — many fleeing failing crops and other effects of climate change — have flooded into Freetown. The city, home to just over 1 million people in 2015, has an estimated 1.27 million today. And as the population swelled, trees came down to make room for houses, average temperatures ticked upward, and residents began complaining that the heat had become unbearable.

Now, as Freetown’s first-ever “chief heat officer,” Kargbo has a chance to be part of the solution. “The problem is quite invisible,” she says. “People say, ‘Oh, it’s Africa, oh, it’s the tropics,’ but that hides how much of a problem heat has become.”

Continue reading at Experience.

More Stories

A protest against the war in Ukraine in Rome, in March. Italy had the largest Ukrainian community in Western Europe even before the war

For Ukrainians abroad, war has also meant a flowering of identity

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to reporters about the agreement he reached with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., following months of negotiations on health care, energy, climate issues, and tax initiatives, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Aug. 1, 2021. Manchin returned to the Senate after a week away to recover from COVID-19.

The ‘biggest piece of climate legislation’ in history is destined to be forgotten.

FILE – Gas prices are displayed at a Sunoco gas station along the Ohio Turnpike near Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Thanks largely to falling gas prices, the government’s inflation report for July, to be released Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, will probably show that prices jumped 8.7% from a year earlier, according to a survey of economists by data provider FactSet.

Inflation eases for July, but U.S. ‘not out of the woods’ yet.

In the News