The current pope's latest encyclical condemns excessive air conditioning, blaming markets for stimulating artificial demand.
Here's the paragraph where it comes up:
"Some countries are gradually making significant progress, developing more effective controls and working to combat corruption. People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive."
It's hedged, as in that final phrase "which at times appears self-destructive".
I'm not sure who that hypothetical outsider is, in the last sentence. I'm reading Paradise Lost right now, so it occurred to me that the outsider might be an angel.
Christianity, and other religions, have long taken a suspicious view toward comfort. And today's secular philosophy is always telling us to "get out of our comfort zones". But discomfort itself is not a virtue, nor a certain sign of good behavior.
And excessive heat kills:
"In the past few weeks, more than 3,000 people have died as a result of severe heat waves in Pakistan and on the Indian subcontinent. Virtually all the victims lacked access to reliable electricity and, obviously, air conditioning."
Fortunately for Americans, it doesn't kill us nearly so often as it used to. As Cory Franklin writes in today's Tribune:
"Studies have indicated that mortality during American heat waves has dropped by 80 percent since 1960, with virtually every study concluding the decline in deaths is explained by the adoption of air conditioning."
Sometimes your comfort zone
Is just where you need to be.
If it gets too hot in my home,
I'm cranking up the A/C.