WWB Book Wise Club

The WWB Winter Book Wise Pick is ‘TAKING the HEAT’ – How Climate Change is Affecting Your Mind, Body, and Spirit, and What You Can Do About It

I get excited about all the books I feature at World Wise Beauty, but this new book released this week is one I have been anticipating for months! It’s an important book because it makes the connection between our health and the planet’s health backed by scientific research, and it illuminates how our environment ( which we are part of) has everything to do with the quality of our health and wellness. Currently we are experiencing extreme weather around the world and in we’re in the middle of a climate crisis. This is a scary prospect for us all, no matter where we live. What we are now learning through good scientific research is that beyond the physical danger of becoming injured or losing our homes in a storm, our health is also affected by climate change and extreme weather.

So now that I’ve shared some sobering reality with you, I am very excited to share my Q&A with Bonnie Schneider, author of ‘Taking the Heat–How Climate Change is Affecting Your Mind, Body and Spirit’, and What You Can Do About It’.  Her guidance and tips in this extremely resourceful book will help you to feel more empowered to take care of yourself and the planet. Let me first share a little background information about the author, as when we talk about the weather we want to know there is solid expertise.

Bonnie is a meteorologist and a Peabody Award-winning journalist  who has provided on-camera insight and expertise on everything from hurricanes to snowstorms for CNN, HLN, Bloomberg TV, and The Weather Channel. Bonnie has also created the platform Weather & Wellness©, and has successfully launched its original video content focusing on climate change and health for New York-based Newsday’s digital site.

What is the important takeaway before you go on to read my Q&A with Bonnie? Empowerment over fear! The more you cultivate wellness wisdom and understand the the planet you are a part of, the better you will navigate your beautiful ( and challenging) wellness journey. I am thrilled Bonnie has come to visit World Wise Beauty. Run out and get this book, it will become an important resource in your wellness library whether it be digital or old school!


Laura Connolly, Founder of World Wise Beauty



Lauroly Q- I would like to get started with a basic question for you Bonnie. What is the difference between weather and climate? I think it is important to understand how both can affect our health and context is often needed. We need to connect the dots and your book does an amazing job at putting weather, climate, health, and scientific research into contextual perspective.

Bonnie Schneider: Thank you, Laura. It’s a good question and one that comes up often. Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere, climate comprises long-term averages and variations in temperature, measured over an extended period. As a meteorologist, I talk about the weather forecast for today, tomorrow, this weekend, etc. On a grander scale, climate scientists evaluate how the Earth has evolved over decades or centuries.

In my book, TAKING THE HEAT, I speak about both meteorological terms in context to how our health may be affected. For example, certain weather conditions experienced on winter days like dryness in the air and cold temperatures may aggravate psoriasis symptoms. In the summer, a hot, stagnant afternoon may lead to the issuance of an air quality alert. Sunlight, heat, and industrial emissions can chemically react and create invisible ozone gas at the ground level. The air becomes unhealthy to breathe. Elevated ozone levels can cause coughing, throat irritation, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Long-term climate projections indicate the risk for respiratory and cardiovascular disease will increase due to rising global temperatures and greater concentrations of C02 in the atmosphere. I mentioned some of the ways weather can impact our physical health.

I also want to highlight that this book has the words “mind, body, and spirit” in the title for good reason. As you know, well-being goes beyond being disease-free. That’s why in TAKING THE HEAT, you’ll find ten chapters: half devoted to physical health and half focused on mental health. The psychological effects of climate change in terms of fear of what the future may hold is a particular concern for young people. I’ve devoted an entire chapter of my book to explain eco-anxiety and offer tips from top-notch health experts on how to cope with these feelings. There are science-backed holistic hacks throughout, discussing beneficial practices like gratitude and mindful meditation.


Laura Q- In your book, you share the following sobering information…“According to the BBC reports, scientists estimate that three out of every four new emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. Why are zoonotic diseases on the rise or have they been slowly getting worse?

Bonnie Schneider: That is a sobering statistic. When it comes to infectious diseases, many of these health hazards are hidden, that’s why I wanted to write about them and offer ways to mitigate risk. Rising global temperatures influence the spread of waterborne bacteria like vibrios. These pathogens can be deadly. Climate-induced flooding creates a more hospitable environment for mosquitoes – which can lead to Zika virus transmission. Lyme disease is now the most common tick-borne disease in North America.

The World Health Organization and, the CDC all say that Zoonotic diseases represent a major public health problem globally due to our close relationship with animals in agriculture, in domesticity with pets, and our encounters with all types of creatures in the natural environment. Human/animal interactions are now occurring in ways they haven’t in years past – via ecotourism or through industrial development. This can raise our susceptibility to Zoonotic disease exposure. In TAKING THE HEAT, I discuss the loss of biodiversity and why scientists believe it may lead to future pandemics. I wrote this book from my New York City apartment at the height of the COVID-19 shutdowns so this research has become more timely.

Lauroly Q-  Your research and voice is so important. I think it’s hard for people who aren’t in the science or academic world to understand biodiversity when we have been essentially living in a modern society cut off from nature. Sometimes it has to hit us directly to connect the dots. More and more people seem to have allergies and this affliction seems to be how people pay attention to weather and their environment. How does climate change and certain weather patterns exasperate allergies and asthma? For example, in your book, you talk about how doctors report more ER visits for asthma when thunderstorms appear in the forecast.

Bonnie Schneider: Climate change has led to certain weather events occurring more frequently and with greater intensity. Thunderstorms bring changes to atmospheric pressure both before and after the storm. Rising and falling fast-moving air – like a downdraft, can disperse inhalable tiny pollen and pollution particles. For those with asthma, this means that even when the weather clears, being outside immediately after a thunderstorm may be problematic. In my book, I offer tips on how to reduce exposure to allergens, both inside and outside the home. There are lots of ways to mitigate the risk that might not be evident. This is especially important for families with children or anyone with allergies or asthma.

Lauroly Q- There is a whole chapter devoted to autoimmune conditions and I was so happy you covered it extensively. As you state in the book autoimmunity is now one of the most common disease categories ahead of cancer and heart disease. This is a sorry situation because autoimmune conditions can be chronic for many, and the weather is often a trigger. I grew up with a mother who had Rheumatoid Arthritis and certain weather systems and patterns caused a lot of her painful flare-ups. As I grew up attuned to pain and triggers, I noticed many other people with different health conditions seemed to be affected by barometer changes too. People always dismissed my interest in the weather, but my observations were reinforced over and over. Can you help explain why the weather and climate extremes affect autoimmune conditions and other ailments?

Bonnie Schneider: I appreciate you sharing your mother’s struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis. When it comes to autoimmune diseases, women are more affected than men. That’s why I devoted a whole chapter to this topic. As a meteorologist, I’ve always heard anecdotally how people said “they could feel” when a storm was coming. In TAKING THE HEAT, I take a deep dive into this topic. What I found is the forecast for cold or hot temperatures, sunny or damp conditions on a particular day may designate the onset of debilitating flare-ups for those with autoimmune diseases. I reviewed global research studies on correlations of Lupus flares with high ambient temperatures. I interviewed and gathered data from top-notch medical experts who’ve spent years treating autoimmune patients. It’s worthwhile to hear their findings. The goal of this book is to share the science in an easy-to-understand way and offer helpful tips from health professionals.

Lauroly Closing – Thank you so much for writing this book Bonnie. It is so timely, and it will hopefully help everyone connect the dots. This is not just a book about climate change, it’s a book about holistic wellness and the interdependency we have with our planet, our environment, and the climate all around the world. A must-read for 2022!

Bonnie Schneider Closing: Thank you, Laura. It was a pleasure to answer your questions. My website is weatherandwellness.com. I appreciate the opportunity to share more details about my new book, TAKING THE HEAT, with the readers of World Wise Beauty.