The human race has been able to adequately modify the environment to suit its needs and situations. However, in the course of all these vital transformations, it has been unable to conclusively solve the problems caused by the vagaries of nature. The weather and the changes precipitated by it could not be controlled or influenced by human technologies and innovations. Nevertheless, not being able to modify the weather, man has managed to make the environment around them a lot less hostile. One of the ways which made it possible was the development of an air conditioner. All of a sudden the situation transformed from a helpless to a salvageable one for the human race. Stan Cox in his article “In the heat wave, the case against air conditioning”, gives opinionated views on the ill effects of the use of air conditioners. However, this essay seeks to shed more light on the attributes that arise due to the use of air conditioners and the negative effects of reducing air conditioning usage.
The development of air conditioners came more as a revelatory inception, particularly at a period when global warming was taking centre stage. Over the years, the global temperature has been on a gradual rise as previously cold places are becoming warm. Owing to this fact, the need for a means of bringing the harsh weather conditions under regulation has emerged. Air conditioners have served this purpose adequately if not exquisitely. According to Cox, “Turning buildings into refrigerators burns fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases, which raise global temperatures”. This is one of Cox’s arguments against the air conditioners usage. However, this cannot be conclusively stated, especially at a period when efficient air conditioners which are clean and green have been developed. Uninterrupted use of air conditioners supplies people with a means of regulating the short-term weather conditions and therefore provides the environment conducive to working and other activities.
The continuous use of air conditioning also enables the running of certain crucial facilities and processes. Hospitals and medical institutions are the most noteworthy examples. It is a fact that certain people cannot stand high temperatures, especially patients, whose body systems are already not functioning properly. Cox acknowledges the fact that high temperature could mean grievous consequences for their health conditions. He states, “While central air will always be needed in facilities such as hospitals, archives and cooling centers for those who are vulnerable to heat, what would an otherwise A C-free Washington look like?” (Cox). However, he maintains that the reduction of the use of air conditioning presents the chance for other forms to keep the body cool (Cox). According to his study, “In a world without air conditioning, a warmer, more flexible, more relaxed workplace helps make summer a time to slow down again” (Cox). He suggests adopting office siestas and simple activities like keeping office windows open, a fact that may seem viable on the books but not in practice. Thus, some of the aforementioned facilities give the basic reason why air conditioners have to be developed.
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Stan Cox’s assertions and suggestions for the reduction of air conditioning usage may result in dire consequences. It may cause unemployment and loss of jobs directly and indirectly. Directly, stopping of the use of air conditioners would trigger loss of jobs for people who work in companies specializing in air conditioners. Indirectly, discontinuance of its use in a particular firm could lead to one or more employees wanting to resign due to unfavorable working conditions.
To sum up, air conditioners are arguably one of the most thoughtful and effective innovations to make the world more livable. Just like any other developments made so far, it has its fair share of shortcomings. However, these are not enough to mask the positive gains made from its inception. The story gets even better with the realization that every day better, improved and more efficient editions which are environmentally friendly are being developed.
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