Babich Against Excessive Air Conditioning

RECEIVED Mon., Dec. 1, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Austin's excessive use of air conditioning does a vast amount of environmental, as well as cultural, damage. Thanks to the widespread use of air conditioning, Austin's population is unsustainably large and still growing. Most of the people who move here will spend their time in climate-controlled buildings and air-conditioned cars. And some of them will deride people who go outdoors, open windows, or walk and bicycle instead of driving an air-conditioned car as “sweaty” and “smelly.”
    It's a bad idea to divorce ourselves so strongly from the world outdoors. The outdoors, and our local climate, are our environment. We need to adapt to our environment, not crank up the AC and ignore it.
    Car air conditioners let people in cars ignore the poisons and heat they're producing. Air conditioning lets people ignore the weather. People who live isolated from the weather are not good at noticing climate change or taking it seriously. Why worry? Just turn up the AC.
    Without such excessive use of air conditioning, people who could not endure hot weather would live elsewhere. That in itself would give our local environment a break. And many of the folks who continued to live here would walk or ride a bicycle for transportation. We wouldn't have so many cars or parking lots. The air would be much nicer, and the temperature several degrees cooler.
    Air conditioning has done and continues to do a great deal of harm to Austin and the surrounding region, both environmentally and culturally.
Yours truly,
Amy Babich
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