Why summer is so unfair for people in the city, as explained by science.

Many cities around the U.S. are kind of awful to walk around right now.

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Stepping outside feels like stepping into one of those Quizno's sandwich toasters.

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And if you've ever thought, "Man, this has got to be the hottest place for miles," well ... you might be right.

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(Though there might be something we can do about it.)

Cities are hotter than their surrounding countrysides. Sometimes more than 20 degrees hotter.

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That's according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is because of something called the "heat island effect."

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Our cities are basically giant jumbles of asphalt and concrete — both of which love to hold onto heat from the sun.

Photo by Andre Manoel/Flickr.

The countryside, on the other hand, is full of stuff like dirt and trees, which tend to stay cooler.

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Cities are full of heat we produce ourselves – including, paradoxically, from air conditioners.

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Air conditioning works by essentially taking all the heat from inside the building and shoving it out the window.

You know, where all the rest of us are.

Not to mention all that car exhaust.

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.

This excess heat in cities can be dangerous — and it's likely to get worse.

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Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are a serious problem, especially for sick people, infants, and anyone who can't find a way to cool off.

Unfortunately, climate change is predicted to increase the number and severity of heat waves.

OK, so yes, that seems bad, but there's good news. We know how to defeat the heat island effect.

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One trick? More green space.

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Trees and plants provide shade and don't retain heat the same way concrete does. They can also help reduce air pollution.

Plants aren't just good on the street – they're effective on our roofs as well.

Photo by Ryan Somma/Flickr.

Even just painting the roof of a building white can help.

Beyond city design, individuals can also help keep cities cool by creating green spaces, like community gardens.

An urban garden in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo from Stars Complex Urban Garden/Flickr.

Or even just by trying to drive less and use less electricity in the summer.

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There are a ton of clever tips for keeping cool instead of reaching for that air conditioner in the summer.

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So the next time someone says, "This city is way too hot," you look 'em dead in the eye and tell them they're right.

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Then take them down to city hall or your local garden store and show them how we can help keep our cities cool and safe.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.