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Hi everyone, and welcome back to Britain Under the Microscope. Hi, 安瀾.
Hi, Lulu. Hi everyone.
So what are we gonna talk about today？
I really don't know. It's just too hot to think about anything.
I know what you're talking about. I mean we have been experiencing heat waves in Beijing. It starts very very early in the morning, but also Europe is going through serious heat wave.
Yeah, Britain, at the moment, this week is bracing for a heat wave.
What is heat wave for Britain？I mean I used to live in London and the highest temperature I remember was barely 30.
This heat wave is particularly unique because it looks like the temperatures are gonna go up to 40℃.
In the southeast of England.
The thing is it’s not so much the sun, it's more that certain times of the year we get the really hot winds coming from the Sahara in Africa.
And it was never this bad.
This is the first time in England at least that the temperature alert has ever reached red. It's always been amber, but for the first time in history is now red and the government have actually declared a national emergency.
You know I guess for people in lots of parts of China, we would think isn't that exaggerating a little bit, and 40℃ is not really like that serious.
It is a bit different in the UK.
I don't think you guys have air conditioning.
Office buildings like cinemas and other big public buildings have air conditioning. Homes generally don't.
Most of British people don't even have fans.
They do now.
But that's the hot item now.
But houses in the UK they're not built for heat, they actually built for cold and damp weather. So they’re designed to keep heat in, they're not designed to let it out.
So that's why I felt… you answered the question that I always had in my head, like why are some of the, even expensive houses or properties in the UK, they don't seem to be very airy.
No, because particularly the older houses like the Victorian houses and houses built in the early 20th century, they were built for cold and damp weather.
So for example, the house where I grew up that was built in the 1920s, 1930s, and my room, even though it never got as hot as the day when I was a child, my room used to go up to about 35℃ if it was maybe 30℃ outside.
So the temperature actually is much higher inside.
It's kind of like living in the oven type of situation.
It is. It’s absolutely horrible. That's one great thing about living in Beijing is that you can have the air con on.
Yeah, but I guess it's also because before this whole maybe global warming extreme weather, people in Britain never really needed air conditioner. You wouldn't buy air conditioning just to use it once a year.
Not even once a year, maybe once every 5 years in the past. But now as you say, temperatures are increasing, the global climate is changing. And one of the things most noticeable, particularly London, is London underground.
We talked about that when we were talking about the tube, 倫敦的那個地鐵, suffocatingly hot.
During the summer it’s actually quite dangerous. And when it reaches maybe 28, 30 ℃ they would actually start putting on posters saying if you use London underground…
Stay hydrated, take water. So when I used to work in central London, and during the summer, I would always make sure I had a bottle of water because I've seen too many times on the underground people fainting because of the heat.
You can actually faint, and for people who had never been to London, if you are thinking about the sort of modern subway system in Beijing or Shanghai or in some other major cities in China, you think about the very very air conditioned carriages.
London underground does not have air conditioning, doesn't even have fans.
And usually it's about 5 to 7 ℃ higher than outside.
Yeah, because it was built in the 19th century when there was no such thing as air conditioning, and they don't really have the space to put in air conditioning.
I mean we joked about it, but it's actually very dangerous, like you said, people can faint. I know also people die from heat waves, more vulnerable people.
And that's why the government is declared in a national emergency because it's not only older people trying to keep cool, but also accidents increase. Remember that England has a lot of lakes, rivers, lot of sea as well. And when there's a heat wave, obviously people wanna cool down, so they go swimming and...
The more like drowning accidents.
It's quite easy, and unfortunately relatively common for people to not be able to save themselves.
And also lately in because we have also been experiencing heat waves in China. So on social media and also on general media, you could see a lot more mentions of熱射病, so basically like重度的中暑, in English it’s called heatstroke.
You can get heatstroke and sunstroke.
Heatstroke, sunstroke. I mean I've never really experienced that although I grew up in very hot weather, I don't think I ever experienced that.
I've only experienced that in London. I used to work a job where I was outside a lot. This was when I was at university and I had to work during the summer and I do remember once I got heat and sunstroke.
That's very dangerous.
It was really, really scary.
Did you just pass out？
I didn't pass out, but I did collapse.
Like and then start throwing up and all that.
Well, I couldn't, because I was so dehydrated I couldn't even throw up. So thankfully I was with colleagues and they kind of got me into shade and just gave me loads of water, kind of just basically poured bottles of water over my head.
Yeah, that does help a bit actually, and just basically a note for all of our listeners, if you have to stay outside for a long period of time, then really be careful. Don't get heatstroke sunstroke. If you have any sign of that, go to hospital or try to take some precautions.
Just keep hydrated and make sure that you're trying to keep as cool as possible.
Because it can be life threatening.
So back to the red alert, so the government has declared national emergency for this heat wave in the UK then what are they actually doing？What are the actual things？
The people have been informed to only travel on public transport for essential purposes because buses trains are incredibly hot. Again, they're designed for cold weather.
是非必要不出行, 就不要公交出行, because none of your public transport has air conditioning.
No, no, not at all, buses only have very small windows for safety precaution, and trains the same as well.
It's just none of your facilities are really built for this type of heat. That's why this type of heat is very dangerous.
And a red alert is a health warning, not only for those who are vulnerable, but also those who are fit and healthy as well. So for example, children, I think we discussed in an earlier episode that schoolchildren in the UK have to wear school uniform.
They're usually quite thick, aren’t they?
They usually quite thick. They have summer uniforms, but even these summer uniforms are not enough. So children are being told to wear their PE kits, their games kit.
Yep. Lots of schools are now saying don't wear your school uniform, wear your PE kit to class.
There's a hose pipe ban which is relatively common in the summer.
Hose pipes are basically for watering gardens or you're cleaning a car.
Okay. Why are you banning that？
Because it's so hot, the reservoirs there's not enough water in them.
So it's like to conserve water.
Because hose pipes, particularly English people were very garden proud, so it's quite common for them to use hose pipes to try to keep their garden alive. But it just uses up so much water.
So what happens to the gardens？Just let your flowers die?
People before flower, people before plants.
Well, pretty much, yeah. But I quite like it I was reading in the news on the BBC that zoo animals are being given ice-lollies.
Yeah, so they've actually made special ice-lollies for gorillas and monkeys that have nuts and fruit in them.
That is really cute. So they get their icy treats.
I imagine it's going to be very difficult for the animals as well.
Yeah, again, the whole infrastructure in the UK is not really built for heat, it's built for cold, it's built for rain and damp.
I think we do the same for zoo animals in China, ice-lollies and also things like huge chunks of ice to keep it cool if it's not really like air conditioned room.
So as we're approaching the end of our discussion about heat wave, we talked about all these warnings which sound really dangerous. Let's try to take a more positive spin, what do people do during a heat wave apart from being advised to stay at home and not use public transport？
Lots of people have barbecues. They’re going outside to eat, people go to the beach if they’re near to the seaside. Also according to the news, ice-lollies have increased their sales quite dramatically.
I would imagine, but barbecues wouldn't that be even hotter that you have to guard the barbecue？
I would say British people in general they're not used to that level of heat yet.
I've lived in Beijing for years now and I know that when it's this hot I don't go outside. If I go out to exercise I go out first thing in the morning. I go out maybe 6 o'clock in the morning when it's bit cooler. And I know I don't go out 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I would say in England, people are coming around to that idea, but it's still quite a new concept.
It’s probably more like, woo, nice weather, sunny, so we have to have a barbecue.
And that's partly where the danger comes from because people aren't used to that type of weather.
Exactly. So next time when you hear a British person complain about the heat, even though it's only probably 32℃, you understand why. It's not because they are whiny, it’s really because the entire system is not really built for that kind of heat.
I just remember really, really hot summers obviously not as hot as this summer when I was growing up and is really suffocating in the UK, even though temperatures are much higher in China, much higher in Beijing, but we live in flats that are built for cold but also for heat as well.
As long as you have air conditioner.
And for those of you who don't have air conditioner, or you have to stay outside for extended period of time, don't forget to stay hydrated and take care of yourselves.
And get an ice-lolly.
I'm gonna get an ice-lolly now actually. Okay, so take care. We’ll see you next time. Bye.