Heat Wave: Slow Down

Here in Portland, Oregon we’re expecting 95 degrees today, which for our mild climate is a major heat wave. How to cope with it? I suggest we do what people did for theGlobal Warming Coping Mechanism 99.9% of human history prior to the invention of air conditioners. They slowed their pace down so they wouldn’t overheat themselves. And played in the water whenever possible, like the young lass here running through a sprinker.

Air conditioners use outsized amounts of energy. My home doesn’t have one, but just fans. Even Portland, with the benefit of hydropower from Bonneville Dam, still gets about half of the energy in its grid from coal plants. Coal-burning causes the carbon emissions that cause global warming. We need to reduce our emissions. That’s what all the green fuss is about. Let’s stop fussing and start changing.

I’m frustrated that OregonLive, the online edition of the state’s major newspaper, is carelessly saying on its front page “Crank the AC.” (I just posted a comment challenging that wisdom.) If your health is precarious or you’re prone to heatstroke, AC makes sense. If we’re able-bodied, let’s use the sense God gave you and behave differently at 95 degrees than we would at 65 degrees. That means moving more slowly and being less active than usual. It’s a good time to be languorous instead, and sensual.

For myself, I’m driving in my new hybrid to Opal Creek Ancient Forest for the weekend. Only natural air conditioning there. I’ll go running on the trails and cool off in the creek. The Opal Creek cabins and lodge are actually off the electric grid, using a Pelton wheel micro-hydropowered system supplemented by a good-sized set of photovoltaic panels (solar panels). Is that cool, or what? photo courtesy of adwriter

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2 Responses to “Heat Wave: Slow Down”


  1. 1 Eli Green May 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Good thinking and good advice. The water is where it’s at!

  2. 2 Colleen May 16, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    My husband and I just bought a 100-year-old house with mostly good but some bad renovations. Among the bad: previous owners put in four individual built-in air conditioners in different rooms. I’ve covered one up with a nice wall hanging. Two others are nifty stands for some of my favorite framed art. The last one is partially blocked by a headboard. When it’s hot, we all enjoy our cool basement (especially the dogs, who are especially langourous in the heat).


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