This letter features reporting from "How Qatar's New Cool-Tech Gear Helps Workers in Extreme Heat" by Aryn Baker, a Pulitzer Center reporting project
Dear Ron DeSantis,
In the United States, our state of Florida is known for being hot and humid. This leads to heat-related injuries and a rising number of deaths annually. In the Pulitzer Center-supported article written by Aryn Baker “How Qatar's New Cool-Tech Gear Helps Workers in Extreme Heat,” she speaks of the workers in Qatar and their struggle caused by the elevated levels of heat, and how they were able to proceed in a better direction. A change was made in order to prevent the tragic deaths of many workers from heat-related issues in construction. The journalist explains that heat waves have become a natural phenomenon in many parts of the world, and with the already feverish temperature, it would be terrible if action had not been taken. Outdoor workers would have been terribly affected, and the rate of work would drastically drop to match. While there were many deaths, the people of Qatar took the initiative to seek out a UK evaporative cooling clothing company. The company, known as Techniche, has different clothing pieces that either cool or heat you depending on your need. The company carries vests, neck bands, caps, and more in diverse sizes and even customizable sizes for some products. This was such a great way for Qatar to tackle this issue.
In Qatar, the temperatures reach 120°F and have a humidity of 70%. This coupled with conditions workers are under can have serious repercussions. They work long hours and have little break or comfort from said heat. This issue is one that we in Florida face as well. During the summer the average temperature can be in the mid-70s to lower 90s. However, the humidity reaches over 60% to a sweltering 92% (Florida Climate Center). Construction workers are affected by the heat as they work in it all day and in the hottest state, this is a rising problem that we should make efforts to alleviate. Baker writes, “Now on its fourth iteration–each design more efficient than the last–55,000 StayQool suits have been distributed to World Cup construction workers, reducing surface skin temperatures by 10 to 14°F (6-8°C), according to internal research conducted by Techniche and Qutub’s team.” Using this company's innovative designs, we would be able to lessen the rising death count. The impact it would have on the working conditions would be very well-received and lifesaving.
This is not the first-time efforts to help fight against heat for our outside labor workers have been made. As you already know, here in Florida, we have many construction projects taking place. One would think that efforts to keep our workers safe would increase as well, but that isn't the situation. In an article written by Anna Phillips published by the Washington Post titled “As temperatures rise, industries fight heat safeguards for workers,” the journalist states that there were bills drafted to help student athletes, but when legislators tried to extend protections to workers, the bill died in committee. This can't be allowed to stay this way; it will lead to more workers facing injuries or deaths. The same article from the Washington Post states that many attempts to create worker protections were weakened or blocked. If the planet warms up by a measly two degrees, the unsafe days will double in number, causing even more stress on workers (Washington Post). That alone is aggressively negative and with the rise in unsafe days, it will only continue to set us back even more.
Governor DeSantis, I recommend you reach out to Techniche or a similar company to launch a similar technical project in hopes of helping construction workers everywhere in Florida. These are key members of our community who are involved with our safety and making daily life easier. Leaving them to face the heat alone without any way to fight back would be egregious. The cooling technology could be implemented and a wave of relief would wash over the heat waves already felt by these workers. The first few steps are of the diplomatic kind, after which the technology will spread like wildfire, reaching all companies within Florida. Starting a collaboration or internship by sending a representative to Techniche or companies with comparable products, or getting such companies to come to Florida for expansion and assistance on this matter, could be the first step to bringing heat strokes, fainting, heat exhaustion, and more to an end.
Thank you for reading.
Brandon Charite is a junior at Miami Norland Senior High School. He was born in Miami, Florida, but is of Haitian descent. Brandon loves communicating with his peers about current events that catch his eye. He feels especially attracted to events dealing with climate, animals, and important decisions impacting many. As a Miami resident, he felt like writing about the weather, specifically the heat, a necessary topic for a change.
Brandon is thankful and glad to have this opportunity to reach out and make a change. He usually spends his free time listening to music and reading novels. Family is also very important to him as he thinks there is more to family than just blood but a strong bond as well can make someone family. In the future, he hopes to go to college for business and technology to have a career in accounting or dealing with technology in some way.