As record-breaking heat waves are sweeping across Europe, our Chief Heat Officers’ work is made even more critical. In April, Eleni Myrivili, Europe’s first Chief Heat Officer and the first-ever Global Chief Heat Officer, gave a TED Talk about her work countering climate-driven extreme heat in Athens, Greece.
The Global Chief Heat Officer position was established in partnership between UN-Habitat and the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) in June 2022. In the role, Myrivili brings her expertise to over 90 UN-Habitat cities around the world, sharing resources, tools, and tailor-made solutions to global heating with local partners.
“We overlook extreme heat because heat doesn’t come with the drama of roofs sent flying and streets turned into rivers. Heat destroys quietly, yet there is little escape from heat,” she said in the April TED Talk. In her presentation, Myrivili emphasized the urgent need for climate action, and shared a three-part plan that practitioners, city officials and planners, and activists can use to respond to the challenges of rising heat waves.
“The great infrastructure that we have built with ingenuity and effort over the last two centuries — the dams, the waterways, the highways, the railways — they have been carefully engineered for a climate that no longer exists,” said Myrivili. Cities must reconsider their systems, policies, and infrastructures to mainstream climate resilience and heat preparedness in local planning.
Tools like Arsht-Rock’s Heat Action Platform can guide cities as they work to build inclusive, resilient solutions to heat.