Published July 26, 2021 by Rebecca Goldfine

Bowdoin's Matt Klingle Talks to the Washington Post about Unusual Heat Waves in the Northwest

Matt Klingle, associate professor of history and environmental studies, is not hot (he's in relatively cool Maine) but is bothered by the climate perils facing the Pacific Northwest.
Matthew Klingle
Matthew Klingle, associate professor of history and environmental studies.

Klingle, author of Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle, spoke to the Washington Post for an article on how the searing temperatures in states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana are flummoxing people unaccustomed to needing air conditioning.

“Seattle’s pride has centered around the idea that we have all the advantages of California, without the heat or lack of water,” Klingle told the paper. “The chamber of commerce’s pitch was always that summers aren’t so hot and you don’t need air conditioning.” Business and environmental leaders in the city have traditionally touted its cool, pleasant summers and endless outdoor adventures that await just outside the city confines.

Indeed, the region’s weather is a reason that famous outdoor companies like Eddie Bauer, REI, and Columbia Sportswear all got their start in Seattle.

Klingle noted that heat waves are just one of the climate challenges facing the Pacific Northwest. Salmon and orca populations are declining, red tide and toxic algae in the waterways are rising, and increasingly severe wildfires are posing an existential threat.