I wish environmentalists would simply focus on the things we know–keeping water clean, recycling, proper trash disposal, picking up after our pets, putting out campfires, etc. They always seem to get into trouble when they wander into areas where the science is still being debated. Now they want to take away our air conditioning. I am willing to bet that the person who made that suggestion does not live below the Mason-Dixon Line.
Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about the war on air conditioning.
The article reports:
Shortly before the Fourth of July, The New York Times published an op-ed attacking air conditioning as unnecessary, contributing to global warming, and oppressive. Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic took up the call, calling air conditioning itself “unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist.” She called for a ban on air conditioning in general, and the internet rushed to defend the technology.
“Air-conditioning is unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist. I can’t explain how many times I’ve gotten sick over the summer b/c of overzealous AC in offices,” Lorenz tweeted, adding “ban A/C.”
The article includes many interesting defenses of air conditioning:
The New York Times‘s Penelope Green begins her article recounting the invention of air conditioning, lamenting, “And in that moment (well, within a few decades), entire industries and geographies were transformed, and new technologies made possible, including, terribly, the internet: Without cooling, there would be no server farms.”
She also connects the need for air conditioning to climate change. “On an overheated planet, air-conditioning becomes more and more desirable, solving in the short term the problem it helped create.”
As for the sexism claim, Green cites a Nature.com study finding that building temperatures were set to the comfort preferences of 1960s-era men in suits and disregards the “thermal comfort” of female staffers. Ironically, she also predicted Lorenz’s tweet. “Come summer, Twitter invariably lights up with charges that air-conditioning is sexist, an engine of the patriarchy, in threads that in turn fire up conservative commentators eager to prove the daftness of the opposition.”
It is true that offices keep air conditioning too strong for the comfort level of many women. Many men also complain that air conditioning is not strong enough. As Green notes, women often wear blankets or even use space heaters to counterbalance excessive air conditioning.
The article also notes that air conditioning saves lives:
National Review‘s Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted about the “Ban A/C” hashtag. “[Ban A/C]? I spent the summer of 2003 in France. There was a heatwave. I saw some of the consequences with my own eyes. Nearly 15,000 people died. per the NIH,” he tweeted.
Part of the problem was that the high temperatures were so unusual that people did not exercise the proper caution in dealing with the heat–staying hydrated, restricting physical activity, etc.
The article concludes:
Air conditioning is one of the great blessings of modern life, making extremely hot locations bearable for living and working. Many buildings may need to turn down the A/C, but opposing air conditioning in general as sexist and calling for “banning” it is little more than a demand to return to a Stone Age standard of living. Thankfully, it seems most of the people tweeting about this absurd idea already know that.
If air conditioning is sexist, is heat sexist?