Grape Harvesters

A few months ago I was reading the book “The Heat Will Kill You First” by Jeff Goodell, when the author described the experiences of a migrant vineyard worker who died of heat exhaustion, as an example of how excessive heat affects the mind and body. 

This unfortunate situation occurred during one of the most significant heat waves ever experienced in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, in June 2021. Temperatures for several consecutive days topped 110 – 114 degrees.

This particular heat event has been directly tied to the effects of Climate Change.

Importantly, the story also highlighted the lack of labor force practices protecting workers in the field, at least in this particular instance.

As discussed in this article in SevenFifty Daily, there are efforts afoot worldwide, by several wineries and organizations to create certification programs, promoting environment and sustainability measures, as well as social and worker safety conditions. 

Measures such as these are of growing importance. And are not necessarily limited to vineyards, but all outdoor work requiring manual labor.

We must be ever vigilant in facing our new ever-evolving reality of living with climate change.

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