Maybe I was just naive, but I can’t believe how much the world has changed in the last few decades. In the summer of 1988, I did a study abroad in Athens, Greece as a Temple Law student. Who wouldn’t choose to spend the summer in Greece? It’s the birthplace of democracy, the Socratic method, and some really cool ruins.
Athens experienced exceptionally high temperatures in the summer, not just because it’s a Mediterranean city, but because for years there was no requirement for catalytic converters on cars which meant many more pollutants in the air than here in the U.S. A catalytic converter reduces pollutants from a car’s emissions by speeding up the conversion process using heat from the engine to split off the harmful gasses, resulting in steam. Athens could have used a few catalytic converters in the late 80’s because the resultant inversion that trapped the pollution at ground level rivaled the smog in L.A. and added to our thermal misery. Today we have ozone alert days. Then it was just pollution.