How About This Heat?

Power Wise David Suzuki
Is it any surprise Kingstonist didn’t post anything yesterday? I can’t speak for the rest of the gang, but it was so hot, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my desk and churn out something fancy for you to read. Sure I have a laptop and could have taken it outside into the comfortable shade of my backyard, but the idea of concentrating on creative endeavors was not appealing. From Friday to Tuesday, the temperature in Kingston steadily crept closer to 30 degrees, which resulted in a perma-haze that sat on top of the Limestone City. Some call it smog, others refer to it as soup, while new minds have dubbed the allergic variety “smollen”, consisting of smog and pollen. Whatever you call it, it’s hot and gross. But are we doing anything to stop it?

Getting up onto my soapbox, I do not have an air conditioner and I’m proud of it. In the beginning there really was no environmental thought put into my lack of AC, as I simply did not want to incur the added expense of running an air conditioner all summer long. Instead, I drank lots of cold beer, bought a huge box of freezies and quick cold showers became my best friend. Although walking around for hours on end is not ideal during the season of sizzle, I would often go for walks and end up at stores which had AC. From loitering in the magazine section at Indigo to slowly making my way through all the aisles at A&P, I became an AC leech.

It’s clear that I’m not anti-AC, but rather, I’m opposed to the added cost of powering my own personal unit. Sure it may be a few extra bucks every month, but I can find better things to do with my money, like buy beer. For me, the environmental spin off was an aside, until I started to really notice how much smog Kingston received. According to historical data, the number of moderate air quality days increased from 2 in 2006 to 63 in 2007, while 2008 has already recorded 44 moderate days. The number of poor days has also seen a jump, as none were measured in 2006, 14 such days were recorded in 2007, and thus far 2 in 2008. These poor days aren’t the worst level of the air quality index, but they are nonetheless dangerous, as they can cause lung damage during physical activity, and kill sensitive plants.

The solution has to come from you and I. If more people in Kingston carpooled, took the bus and walked to work, we would put a good dent in ground-level ozone caused by transportation. That said, even with high price of gas, too many people are willing to pay the price for sheer convenience of an air conditioned vehicle. If you fall into this category, perhaps you’ll consider turning down your air conditioner at home. Even if you adjust your temperature up a few degrees, you will do a bit for the environment, and save money on utilities. Since I know it’s possible, perhaps you’re up for taking it a step further and turning off your air conditioner altogether. Remember, there’s always the frozen food section at Loblaws if you get too hot and bothered.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

One thought on “How About This Heat?

  • It’s too bad Lake Ontario is a cesspool, otherwise people could cool off in the water.

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