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Philadelphia skyline is lighting up tonight for the climate crisis
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Philadelphia skyline is lighting up tonight for the climate crisis

Philadelphia is raising awareness for “Show Your Stripes Day,” during a heat emergency in the city and a summer of potentially record-breaking heat.

On June 20th, the eve of Show Your Stripes Day, iconic landmarks across the city will be lit up with warming stripes, a visual representation of the rise in global temperatures. Lincoln Financial Field, the PECO Building, One Liberty Place, and the Cira Center all displayed distinctive stripes, joining a worldwide effort to highlight the urgent need for climate action.

What are the “Warming stripes?”

The warming stripes, created by climate scientist Ed Hawkins, show the change in average annual global temperatures since 1850. Red stripes indicate hotter years, and blue stripes indicate cooler years against the average of the period 1971-2000. The stripes represent billions of pieces of scientific data collected over more than a century in a single striking image, now widely recognized as an iconic emblem of the impacts of climate change. Over the past year, they have appeared on Envision Racing’s new Formula E race car, the White Cliffs of Dover, Toronto’s CN Tower, the UN Climate Change Conference, the cover of a book by Greta Thunberg, on stage at Glastonbury and Reading Festivals, and on the catwalk at London Fashion Week.

“The warming stripes are all about making it easy for everyone to see and understand the impacts of climate change,” stated Ed Hawkins, professor and climate scientist at the University of Reading and creator of the stripes. “It is about making the data accessible to everyone, not just climate scientists, and bringing everyone into the climate conversation so we can all work together, collectively, to demand systematic action.”

Philadelphia’s participation is part of a larger global initiative.

In Show Your Stripes Day, people and organizations around the world will display the warming stripes on public spaces and iconic landmarks to raise awareness of the human-caused climate crisis. The organizing efforts, led by Climate Central, a policy-neutral nonprofit, have seen numerous landmarks across the country pledge to light up with the stripes. These include the Twin Arches Bridge in Winston-Salem, NC; Dublin Link Bridge in Columbus and Terminal Tower in Cleveland, OH; Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis, MN; Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, LA; The Six 6 Light Bridges in Houston, TX; Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma City, OK; Baltimore City Hall in Baltimore, MD; and the San Diego Convention Center ‘Sails’.

“As we are an independent group of scientists and communicators focused on producing and disseminating localized and visual content about climate change, it was a natural fit for us to help lead the efforts of Show Your Stripes Day,” stated Lauren Casey, meteorologist at Climate Central. “The warming stripes powerfully illustrate the rise in average temperature, and the unique ability to localize them to individual cities makes it possible to customize the stripes’ graphics for each city.”

In addition to the landmark lightings, a petition is underway to ask The White House to display the warming stripes as part of the day’s activities. This effort aims to call attention to the risks of rising global temperatures and has already gained support from leading climate scientists and organizations like The Climate Reality Project, founded by former Vice President Al Gore.

As Philadelphia joins the global effort to display the warming stripes, the goal is to spark conversations, increase public understanding, and drive meaningful action to combat climate change. With the city facing increasingly hot summers, now is the time to take action and raise awareness about this critical issue.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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