Baby, it’s cold inside!
Outside my stateroom window, the big, heavy tub is churning the Caribbean into a frothy white that is absorbed by the inky swells of the vast sea. I watch, then turn to read the card that was hanging on the bathroom towel rack: “At Smooth Sailing Lines (real name unimportant), reducing waste and conserving resources such as water and electricity, (why the comma?) is a large part of the company’s Save the Waves program.” The cruise customer is urged to reuse the towel, set the thermostat to neutral when leaving the stateroom, and “turn off the water when brushing your teeth.”
Ship of cools
I don’t buy it. These measures are intended more to save the company’s wallet than the waves. Otherwise, why would the public areas outside the customer cabins be so danged cold I have to wear a sweater and sport coat to stay warm (while my hands, feet and nose are practically frostbitten)? Company officials think most cruisers will feel uncomfortable unless the air conditioning is set at a level that paralyzes one’s blood circulation. Or maybe they think folks will spend more on libations to thin their blood.
Is excessive air conditioning limited to cruise ships? Not by a long shot – or a long knot. Almost every public building across the country is air-conditioned too low for the comfort of a person with normal circulation and blood pressure. Restaurants, banks, stores, office buildings, government buildings – you name it. If it’s a building open to the public, it’s freaking freezing.
Not cool, dudes
Restaurants’ reasons for over-air-conditioning are plausible, if not acceptable. Employees and managers move around quickly and probably don’t notice that it feels cold to the stationary customers – or at least many of them. Considering the dismal health of many, if not most, Americans these days, it’s safe to assume that a lot of them feel warm in a restaurant despite their inactivity beyond shoveling food in their maws. Packing extra pounds does that – and most inhabitants of our gluttonous country fit the description “overweight.” So those who eat responsibly are forced to accommodate those who don’t.
Warmly attired restaurant diners
The frigid temperature in a branch of my bank, JP Morgan Chase, inspired in me an idea for the bank to recoup a big fine levied by the federal government for bad lending practices. I suggested to a service representative that the thermostat in every branch across the nation be set at 78 degrees, and the bank would save the lost $14 billion in fairly short order. That may have been an exaggeration, but a heck of a lot of money would be saved.
One can only imagine the enormous impact of every public and commercial building in the country air-conditioned to no lower than 78 degrees. Billions of dollars would be saved, prices charged to consumers for goods and services could be lowered, and the deleterious environmental effects of burning energy would be substantially reduced.
Commercial air conditioner
Will a law requiring such a measure ever be adopted? Not likely. Politicians know they would incur the wrath of a substantial number of their constituents. The only thing that might change public sentiment would be drastic climate changes impacting people personally: more-frequent and intense heat waves, sea levels encroaching on properties, warmer and more-acidic oceans that damage the shellfish we love to eat, and other results that make our lives less enjoyable at best, and even less viable.
Doomed by inaction
But by then, a law regulating carbon dioxide production probably would be too late to save us. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Nov. 2, 2014, that the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) may have to be entirely ended by the end of this century “for the world to have a decent chance of keeping the temperature rise below a level that many consider dangerous,” the Associated Press reported.
Wouldn’t you think that people who have children, especially, would be concerned enough about the planet they will leave their offspring to vote for politicians who want to correct the situation? Yet Republicans running for Congress, many or most of whom ignore or give only lip service to this urgent matter, are polling high and appear ready to win enough seats to screw up the planet forever.
And those who voted for them will carry the guilt of their mindless deed to their graves.