Editor’s note: Maria Eberhart is an undergraduate journalism student and president of the USC photography club. Shreya Agrawal, the Earth Desk’s inaugural editor, is currently earning a dual bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences and English, and a master’s degree in Journalism. Under the mentorship of photographer Star Montana, the students paired to capture and share the experiences of Angelenos experiencing the effects of climate change. Montana is a Roski graduate and East-LA native who has spent many years collaborating with people in her community to tell personal stories with universal resonance.
Climate change can often feel abstract. We hear the figure ‘1.5˚C’ thrown around like the symbol of doomsday, the final tipping point before we get to the point of no return, but what does it mean? What does it look like?
We have started to understand what it means in recent years. When hurricanes destroy entire communities and kill hundreds of people, we start to see the actual effects of these climate change-driven events on people.
Here in Los Angeles, heatwaves have always been an issue, but in the past few decades, they have increased in frequency and intensity. This summer, the record-breaking heat in Southern California debilitated crops, exacerbated droughts and wildfires, and changed the way people live their daily lives.
Every part of Los Angeles experiences heat differently. Neighborhoods with tree cover and shade are relatively protected, while city centers with skyscrapers are prone to the urban heat island effect.
Four Angelenos share their stories from the intense heat waves this September.