Please, Stop Reminding Us That Air Conditioning Is Evil
Illustration by Mark Poutenis
The internet can be like one permanent, painful Thanksgiving dinner where everyone has had one too many glasses of wine and just decides to unload and fight about everything. No subject seems to be safe from concern trolling. Maybe some of this discussion can be enlightening, if not necessary. Sometimes our convictions need to be challenged or shaken to our very core.
Yet, this is the time of year when social media saints (and the media outlets that love the traffic they provide) begin to hammer one particular sanctimonious concern: that air conditioning is an evil.
There are no shortage of anti-A/C truthers out there. The Washington Post recently wrote the headline “Europe to America: Your Love of Air-Conditioning Is Stupid.” (The Miami Herald, incidentally, just republished the piece a few days ago.) Time once ran an illustration of an A/C unit dressed in a grim reaper’s cloak. “Is My Air Conditioner Killing Me?” the magazine asked. (Spoiler alert: No.)
The New York Times once compiled a panel of activists to debate about whether air conditioning should be rationed. There are literally entire books dedicated to chronicling the evils of air conditioning. Even the pope (yes, the current “cool” one) has attacked A/C as nefarious.
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The line of thinking goes that it’s bad for our environment, it wastes energy, it’s contributing to global warming, it’s unnatural, it’s bad for our health, and it’s maybe even sexist because men and women have such different temperature standards.
There are good, valid points in all of these arguments. Yet we speak for all Miamians when we say: There is literally nothing we can do. Please never speak to us about our air conditioning ever again.
Do you know how friggin’ hot it is here, especially during the summer? There is nothing you can do to make us think twice about pumping that sweet, sweet A/C. We need it to live.
Yeah, we know it’s a human folly to have ever inhabited South Florida year-round in the first place. We get it. Those of us here didn’t make that decision. That’s a done deal, and we don’t have the kind of economy where most of us can afford to migrate to cooler climes in the summer. We’re kind of stuck here, and can you imagine what our lives would be like in the summer months without A/C?
We’d be washing our sheets every other day (thus wasting more energy and water), lest they end up smelling like a Miami Hurricanes football player’s jockstrap. No one would bother exercising because it would only make us hotter. Restaurant workers’ sweat would end up in our food. No one would get any work done. Elderly people and invalids would drop dead of heatstroke.
Besides, could you imagine telling people up North that heating during the winter is bad? Oh, wait, it turns out America actually wastes more energy on heating than it does on air conditioning, NPR recently reported. Heating can also be worse for energy. The average home in Minnesota releases up to 9,900 pounds of CO2 emissions each year because of heating. In Florida, the average home emits 6,600 pounds of CO2 due to air conditioning.
Yet anti-heating trolling online never seems to kick off with as much gusto during the winter months as the anti-AC brigade does during the summer. Hmm, funny how that works.
So, please, save your anti-A/C concerns. Besides, there’s no Facebook comment or Tweet that will convince us to at least moderate our A/C use more than the FPL bill every month anyway.