Meet Max Vigilant, climate superhero.
Vigilant is the technical operations manager at the mosquito and vector control unit at the Harris County Department of Public Health. He works out of a un-fancy building on the outskirts of Houston, doing the kind of work that is rarely noticed or covered by the media but which is of vital importance during the climate crisis: keeping the seven million or so residents of Houston safe from diseases carried by mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes are not just irritating insects that wreck your camping trip or backyard BBQ. They are killers. In the long arc of human history, mosquitoes have killed far more people than bullets and bombs have. Malaria, which is carried by mosquitoes, still kills about 400,000 people a year in Africa alone. Mosquitoes carry a range of diseases, from yellow fever to Zika to Dengue Fever.
As the climate heats up, mosquitoes — like other animals, including humans — are on the move. And they are carrying the pathogens that cause diseases in humans with them.