If you were your POP heat city on the move this summer record, it can partially things, the debt of the city is self-made. The scorching temperatures across Europe and the United States in July were aggravated by a humanity the most common, but less popular inventions: concrete. only the bad stuff is used to Pave paradise for most people, concrete and put a lot of parking. But concrete is an invention as transform humanity as fire or electricity. Since it came to the end of the 20th century, the widespread use of these artificial stone has changed how and where billions of people live, work and move forward. Concrete gives us enormous strength rivers dam, erected buildings of the Olympic level and travel from one place to another with an ease that would have allowed our ancestors in amazement. Concrete hospitals and schools are built and repaired much more quickly than their counterparts mud brick, wood or steel. Concrete roads help farmers market their crops for bringing students into the school, and to get the sick in hospitals of all time. It ‘an almost supernatural cheap, easy way to quickly create robust housing for a large number of people. Concrete is strong, able to keep thousands of tons worth of people, furniture and water. It will not burn or be infested with termites. And it is incredibly easy to use. One person can mix a batch of concrete ground and beat together with a useful protection. A well-funded entrepreneur can start a towering buildings expressed in a few days. No wonder that our city, which is the raw material for almost every block of apartments, a shopping mall and office tower was the skeleton, and most of the roads that connect them. It is estimated that about 70% of the world’s population now live in the structures, at least in part made of concrete. For all his blessings, but produced severe concrete costs for people and the planet, including the effectiveness of heat waves will increase. If you have ever walked barefoot across a parking sunbaked, you know firsthand how concrete absorbs and retains the heat of the sun. When the temperature rises, increasing the countless miles of roads, concrete pavements, the city walls and roofs in this way, a phenomenon known that the creation of urban heat islands. When released to the engines of vehicles combined heat may paved areas, the temperature in the city increase by as much as 22 ° F, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Soaring temperatures in the city are not only uncomfortable. They may be deadly. The heat already kills more Americans than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. The urban heat island effect is increasingly cause for concern, as more and more people move to the cities. More than 81% of Americans now live in urban areas. In developing countries, from China to Nigeria, millions leave the country every year for a shot at a better life in the cities. The number of urban residents worldwide by as much 78 million people Population Division is increasing every year, the United Nations, second. This corresponds to the addition of nine in New York City on the planet every year. concrete production worsens the problem. The cement industry produces somewhere between 5-10% of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, it is the third largest source of global warming, to make motor vehicles behind only coal and power plants. Concrete is essentially just glued sand and gravel with cement. Sfamare the construction sector needs tens of billions of tons of sand dug from the ground every year, enough to cover the entire state of California. A lot of it is dredged from the river beds, lake bottoms and beaches. The process often cannibalized river fish and birds live, coral reef damage, undermining the bridges and caused the riverbank collapse. There is to stay away so much money out of sand that in some countries, organized criminal gangs have moved into the business. In India, Mexico, Kenya, Vietnam and elsewhere they have beaten hundreds of people in recent years on the sand, tortured and killed. The most frightening aspect of our dependence on concrete might be that the structures we build with it are not enough. The vast majority of them will soon be replaced within decades. We tend concrete as permanent as the stone to think that mimics. It is not. Concrete fails and breaks in dozens of ways. The heat, cold, chemicals, salt and moisture all attacks that work in seemingly solid rock to weaken and break from the inside. If it is not monitored and maintained, more concrete slowly disintegrates. And ‘particularly vulnerable when it has been poor primarily done by developers looking through the use of low sand or skimp able to save on the reinforcing bars a couple of dollars in steel. Many of the concrete buildings in the world is crumbling. The American Society of Civil Engineers, says one-fifth of US roads and a third of urban roads in the country in “poor condition”. According to the Federal Highway Administration, about a quarter of all US bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. dams America are fit at the same sad way. All over the world, as much as 100 billion tons of poorly made buildings concrete structures, bridges, dams, everything may have to be replaced by billions of dollars at a collective cost on the streets for decades to come. We can not stop it completely with concrete; It is too useful as a building material. But in a world of rapid warming, we need to start thinking about its true cost. Vince Beiser is the author of the world in a grain: The sandy history and how civilization Transformed published in paperback on August 6.