On a steamy day in Miami, some people can escape the heat in air-conditioned buildings. But farmworkers, gardeners, and construction workers toil for long hours in the sweltering sun. It can be uncomfortable and dangerous.
Claudia Navarro is with WeCount!, an immigrant rights organization based near Miami, Florida.
About five years ago, one of the group’s members – a sweet potato farmer – suffered kidney failure after weeks of working in the heat.
“The doctor told him he was minutes away from dying,” Navarro says.
The incident helped prompt WeCount! to launch a campaign called Que Calor to push for state and local policies to help keep people safe during extreme heat events.
“We want to make sure that workers have reasonable level of access to cool water every single hour that they’re working,” Navarro says.
And she says workers should be guaranteed more frequent rest breaks when it’s hot – and a shady place to take those breaks.
As the climate warms, south Florida is getting hotter. By mid-century, Miami is expected to experience more than 100 days a year with a heat index at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
So Navarro says there’s an urgent need to protect those who are the most vulnerable.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media