It’s World Elephant Day, World Hirola Day, too! Design Strategies for Extreme Heat Adaptation

by | Aug 12, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

It’s World Elephant Day, World Hirola Day, too! Design strategies for extreme heat adaptation.



On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature. 

Why does saving elephants matter to us? Elephants are highly intelligent, sensitive, and social beings. Elephants are among the world’s most intelligent, sensitive and social animals, possessing both empathy and family values. In other words, aside from the wrinkled skin, massive size, trunk and tusks, elephants are just like us.

How can you celebrate this tenth anniversary of World Elephant Day and help save them? Use Your Purchasing Power

  • Choose ecotourism operations that support local elephant conservation projects, do not offer elephant rides, and treat elephants with respect and dignity.
  • Avoid palm oil. While it can be produced sustainably, production methods of palm oil often go unchecked and threaten local ecosystems. Choose clearly labeled oils, such as 100 percent sunflower oil, corn oil, olive oil, coconut oil, or canola oil, or look for RSPO labels for products made with sustainable palm oil that doesn’t deplete elephant habitats.
  • Do not buy or trade ivory. Help protect elephants and their tusks by supporting measures aimed at combating the global ivory trade.
  • Purchase only Fair-trade, shade-grown coffee. Clear cutting of forests for production threatens elephants’ natural wooded habitats.




So, first question: what the heck is a hirola? Hirola is an antelope. It’s considered the world’s most endangered species of antelope. Most recent count indicates only about 300-500 in the wild. What happened? A combination of habitat degradation, competition with livestock, and disease are responsible for historic declines. If the Hirola were to go extinct, it would mark the first loss of an entire mammalian genus since the Tasmanian tiger’s global disappearance in 1936. celebrated the world’s first hirola day on 12th Aug 2015. This date coincides with the world’s elephant day, in an effort to connect the two species. Curious as to what a Hirola looks like, and why it’s also called the “four-eyed antelope”? check out the video on youtube by clicking on the link in the Deeper Dive Section of this story at

Here’s a hint. Its markings make Hirolas look like they’re wearing spectacles. In whatever way you choose to support and share your love on World Hirola Day, you will be making a huge difference in creating awareness on this special day. 

BTW, tomorrow is International Wolf Day. 

DEEPER DIVE: WorldHirolaDay, YouTube, Natureise



Ten research teams will share $1.3 million in the eighth round of the Climate Change Solutions Fund (CCSF) awards. Aiming for impact at both the local and global level, these projects will seek to reduce the risks of climate change, hasten the transition to renewable energy, diminish the impact of existing fossil fuels on the climate, understand and prepare for the effects of climate change, and propel innovations needed to accelerate progress toward a healthier, more sustainable future.

This one is from Belinda Tato, Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, GSD. Extreme heat is a critical climate challenge threatening human health, causing economic stress, and driving greenhouse gas emissions. Higher temperatures and longer and more intense heat waves will continue to impact cities. The organization and structure of the urban built environment is critical in responding to this threat as heat islands in cities intensify negative effects of extreme heat.

This project will focus on developing an interactive bioclimatic comfort application and data collection platform for community participation and empowerment with an off-grid temporary installation exhibit. Beyond the typical data focused optimization that is common in a “smart cities” approach, this project focuses on utilizing sensors to allow individuals to experience a new level of interactivity and access to real time bioclimatic information. 

The project acts on two levels: 1) A temporary physical installation on campus that will serve as a living laboratory and testing ground for sensors and climate-sensitive urban design elements 2) Development of a bioclimatic data collection and sharing platform for community participation in climate-sensitive urban design projects.

Why does this matter to us? Real time data analysis combined with offered solutions can help local governments mobilize to move vulnerable people away from danger zones more quickly and more safely. 

DEEPER DIVE: Harvard Gazette, GSD