Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Summer is almost here and with it comes one of my most unattended pet peeves: the American obsession with air conditioning. Luckily, I don't work at an office anymore and thus I don't have to endure subzero temperatures for nine hours a day. Come the Summer, every public place in America is set to a thermostat that seems controlled by a sadist in the Arctic Tundra. You can't go to a movie without bringing your thermal gear. Then we get blackouts, like last year's, because many geniuses leave their air conditioning on all day in an empty house, so that when they wring themselves out of the Subway, they can feel as if they are entering a meat freezer. People who do that should be shot.
Yesterday I watched a very informative and highly scary HBO documentary about global warming. It explained what it is and why it is so dangerous. It is extremely alarming how spoiled we are in this country where we think we have a God given right to squander energy with utter abandon. We in the States waste most of the world's energy. It's not only gas guzzling SUV's, but also terrible habits like leaving the lights on at all times, putting the ac at maximum power until someone dies of hypothermia, leaving the computers on overnight at the office. You know, in other countries (like in Europe) they save energy. They have timers for the common area lights in buildings, they heat their water with solar energy, they drive small, energy efficient cars, they have limited hours for heating in the winter. They have a conscience. Plus energy is too expensive.
Global warming is one of those scary issues in which individual behavior can actually have significant consequences. Unlike the horrid unrest in Darfur or the war in Iraq, or Donald Rumsfeld, with global warming you can actually do something that will make a difference in the world:
Don't drive a car if you don't have to. Use a bike, use your legs, use public transportation, have a carpool.
Turn off the lights and electrical appliances when you are not using them. Don't leave the tap running while you take 10 minutes to massage your teeth and gums or while you get ready for the shower.
And for the love of God, don't go nuts with the ac.

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