For the past two weeks, talk about the weather has been a very, very hot topic. (Godawful pun, forgive me.) For good reason. Here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, daytime temperatures have been in the mid 90s consistently, peaking as high as 100°. Nighttime temperatures have brought little to no relief. On top of that, the vast majority of homes here are without active cooling or air conditioning. And during this very busy time of year when the gardens are bustling, and building is in full swing, there are little opportunities to find relief.
It is during times like these that I have the utmost respect for the Pre-Air Conditioned Human (PACH). PACH took what he/she could get, and if that was only a small bit of shade under a tree on a sunny 95° afternoon, that was it. Well, PACH, you grinned and bore it, and we are here today thanks to your unceasingly sweaty armpits, your severely challenged endurance, and your well-deserved long naps during the hottest parts of the day.
PACH was far from spoiled by the luxury of a device that could be plugged in and actually cool the indoor air temperature. Well, I too am trying to cope with that lack of air conditioning, by choice, and it is not glamorous. You sweat all the time, you drink water constantly and still it is not enough to keep hydrated, and you move very slowly and with great effort, and try your damnedest to keep out of the direct sun as possible.
Combine that with living a very outdoors kind of life, and it makes things very interesting (read: extremely challenging), to say the least. When the tough gets going, and all I want is the slightest of breeze, or the feeling of even mildly cool air on my face, I think about good ol’ PACH. They made it, so that must mean I can, too. Of course, we may be dealing with ever greater stretches of heat and all-around higher temperatures thanks to global climate change, but still. We gotta learn how to cope if that’s how it’s going to be.
Why I Choose to Live without Air Conditioning
Air conditioning creates a false sense of reality and comfort that I would rather not participate in. It takes a large amount of energy to cool the air, and when millions of homes depend on active cooling and air conditioning, it creates a whole lot of demand for dwindling fossil fuel energy. At the same time that we are cooling our homes and work spaces, and thus generating increased CO2 emissions, we are warming the world. It’s kind of an ironic cycle.
Anyway. I don’t claim to be a better human by trying to live life without an air conditioner, but I can honestly respect all the individuals who do it today, and those who have lived for thousands for years before it was even a possibility. Life without air conditioning is really a whole different kind of reality.
Perhaps it’s a reality we will have to embrace more as time goes on.
Image credit: flickr via Kullez