How We Deal With the Weather

It has been incredibly hot over the last week or so here in the Twin Cities. Temperatures records have been broken and the number of people visiting the State Fair has been markedly down. (These folks here are pretty serious about their State Fair.)

Many people, including us for the last couple days, have been running air conditioners. That we’ve run ours tells you how hot it has been – I hate air conditioning and we go through most summers running it maybe three or four days all season.

Part of my dislike of air conditioning is the artificial feel of the air. But my bigger concern is the fact that we seem to allow our bodies to tolerate a smaller and smaller range of temperatures. As soon as the temperature dips, we crank the heat up (interestingly to a temperature above what we set our air conditioners at). As soon as it rises, on go the air conditioners (set to a temperature below what we set our heaters to in winter.) All of this uses an enormous amount of energy.

I’ve spent hot season in Thailand and India with no air conditioning. And I’ve spent winters in the foothills of the Himalayas with no heat. And the truth is that, if we allow them to, our bodies can adjust to a wider range of temperature than we allow them to in the United States.

Maybe we ought to think a little more about how much energy we are consuming to avoid subjecting ourselves to a bit of heat or cold. I’m not saying we have to abandon our heaters and air conditioners all together, but perhaps we could use them a bit less than we do.