It’s HOT. It’s VERY hot. It’s abnormally hot. I’ve been thinking about the heat all week. How can I not? Some 3500 North American temperature records have been broken, rail lines are kinking, planes are melting into the tarmac in the heat (seriously.)
So what do we do? Go inside and turn on the AC, right? Delight in that frigid blast that we’ve artificially brought into our homes and offices.
I don’t. I don’t for several reasons.
Firstly, I’m cheap. Not just frugal, cheap. If I can avoid spending money, I generally do. If I can avoid having money disappear into an electricity bill, so much the better. (Yes, I’m one of those people who unplugs everything if I’m going away for more than 24 hours – why spend money to power the modem or alarm clock if I won’t even be there?)
Secondly, I dislike the smell. This is mildly ironic, as I’m missing about a quarter of my sense of smell (ah, high school chemistry experiments gone wrong…) But I find that the chemicals that leach into the air with the cold blast are offensive; they make me feel nauseous and give me a headache. Ick.
Thirdly, I care about the environment. The chemicals that are used in air conditioning are not good for the planet; in fact it’s healthier to breathe car exhaust than what the AC spits out. And I believe that we’re meant to be part of creation, are caregivers or stewards or whatever you want to call it.
So if we’re meant to be caregivers, why are we doing things that are causing harm – to the whole of creation, ourselves included? There are ways for us to live quite comfortably in sync with God’s creation, rather than trying to forcibly change it to suit our preferences.
So what am I doing to beat the heat? Because I promise you I am not just sitting here sweltering! I open up the house windows at night to let the cooler air in, then close it up in the morning. I’m drinking extra water and treating myself to frozen juice popsicles. I’ve got ceiling fans lazily turning to keep the air circulating. I’m avoiding the sun, choosing shady places outside and closing blinds inside. I’m eating cooler meals like salads instead of cooking. When there is a breeze, I’m in it. I’m heading down to the basement from time to time because it’s naturally cooler. I’m doing my active work early in the morning before it gets too hot, and staying sedentary in the afternoon. I’m drinking iced coffee instead of hot. And as a special treat, I have a few ice packs in the freezer – when I start to feel really warm I put them under my feet. Instantly cooling!
There are lots of other ways I’m avoiding and beating the heat – all of them low-tech, with as little negative impact on the planet. After all, it seems pointless to me to keep one small place artificially cool at the expense of my wallet, my health, and the planet. All of them as intentional responses to my call to help take care of God’s creation.
After all, if God called this good, isn’t it my responsibility to respect it and strive to keep it that way?