At the beginning of October, the National Institute of Meteorology (INMET) released a study revealing some frightening data regarding climate change. The month of September this year was the hottest in the last 20 years and the months of July and August had the highest historical temperatures for those periods.
And guess where the highest temperatures were recorded. If you thought about favelas, you’re right. The North Zone of the city of Rio de Janeiro had an average temperature of 24.7º in September and the maximum temperature reached 26.5º.
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Another important piece of information is the rise in temperatures in the months of July and August, which registered 36.5º and 38.7ºC, respectively, considered the highest ever recorded in both months, in the coldest season of the year, winter. This scenario reveals the importance of increasing vegetation coverage in cities, especially in areas with greater demographic density which, historically, are towns and favelas.
In Rio de Janeiro, despite all the natural architecture and the vast coverage of the Atlantic Forest, we still have heat concentration in peripheral areas.
These places have a dense population, which further increases the thermal sensation. The climate crisis makes these temperatures more felt in environments with little vegetation, such as the Maré Favela Complex, which has more than 139 thousand people, distributed in 17 communities and in an area of approximately 4 km², according to data from Maré Networks.
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These numbers make Favela da Maré the 9th most populous in Rio de Janeiro and larger than 96% of the municipalities in Brazil. If the complex were a municipality, it would be in 213th place among the most populous in Brazil, in a universe of 5,568 cities in the country. And I’m just giving an example from Maré, but if we were to carry out this survey in other locations, we could have even more expressive numbers, such as in Complexo do Alemão or Rocinha.
The solution to minimizing the impacts of the climate crisis is none other than, mainly, the vegetation cover of soils in large cities.
In this way, implement projects that, in the medium and long term, can improve the quality of life of populations. At the Municipal Secretariat for the Environment and Climate of the City of Rio de Janeiro, we are committed to increasing this coverage, revamping the Mutirão de Reforestamento program, including introducing the use of drones to improve studies and, thus, expand coverage capacity.
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Furthermore, around these peripheral territories, we have programs such as “Cada Favela uma Floresta” and we have already started the study for our fund of adaptation projects and socio-environmental activities, with the aim of improving the quality of life in these places. It is necessary for public policies to be created and effectively put into practice, especially in peripheral areas. The sun is for everyone, but the consequences of the climate crisis are felt most in the favelas.
*Tainá de Paula is an architect, urban planner and urban struggle activist. She is a specialist in Cultural Heritage from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and a Master in Urban Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Currently, she is a licensed councilor and holds the position of Secretary of Environment and Climate for the City of Rio de Janeiro.
**This is an opinion article and does not necessarily express the editorial line of the Brasil de Fato newspaper.
Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro
Editing: Mariana Pitasse