Here’s a guy living in what he calls “thermally hostile” Salina, Kansas who in 1977 turned off his air conditioner for environmental and health reasons. He even wrote a book about it (Losing Our Cool), making the argument that our ever-increasing dependence on AC is weakening us as a nation. In an Op-Ed for the Washington Post this month he derided our appetite for cooler air as self-defeating:
This isn’t smart. In a country that’s among the world’s highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers. The energy required to air-condition American homes and retail spaces has doubled since the early 1990s. Turning buildings into refrigerators burns fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases, which raises global temperatures, which creates a need for — you guessed it — more air-conditioning.
Naturally, he had a gigantic hostile response, even death threats. Death threats! Carlos Miller, take notes! All you ever get for all your hard work with the camera is shoved around and assaulted by cops – this rube sits in his (infernally hot) house writing articles and pisses off people to the point of jihad!
I’m kinda pissed myself because Guido and I never use air conditioning. We moved to South Florida in 1985 and haven’t needed it once – in fact, we had the two overgrown wall units removed from our house years ago. Not once did I ever dream that this was controversial, let alone worth a book. Dumb shit that I am.
Yesterday we had friends over for dinner. They brought the lobsters they caught, Guido prepared and served them. At one point. With the oven on, the kitchen temperature hit 93. No problem. We moved here to enjoy heat and humidity. Our biggest gripe is that it doesn’t last long enough – winter arrives every year, carried down like an infectious disease with the Yankees and Canadians.
I wish these Kansans well. They’re right about this. There are smarter ways to keep comfortable, starting with the clothes we wear and the breezes we shun. I realize that advocating something smart often upsets major segments of the population (Exhibit A: Obama’s first 2 years and the Teapublican response), but run the numbers on this and tell me what you come up with.
If only I could figure out how to bottle and sell my own sweat.
Speaking of sweat, Guido and I are heading down to the Keys for a long weekend, testing this theory about dengue fever. It’s my last chance for a getaway before my radiation treatments begin next week, and I want my outer glow to match my inner. Ciao!