Even though it is almost the 21st Century, and air conditioning has been around in one form or another since the 1930s, one still hears and reads people talking about air conditioning as if it is a luxury. Not just a luxury but a wasteful and coddling luxury that we would probably be better off without. And I haven’t heard this view solely from older people who grew up without A/C, so it’s not just a “when I was a child, we didn’t have…” thing.
On the other hand, while the most common argument against air conditions is that “people didn’t die before we had air conditioning,” how about the various deaths (hundreds a few years ago here in Chicago!) that are at least partly attributable to “heat waves”? Without the statistics, I’m just surmising, but I would guess that heat deaths occurred in large numbers in pre-A/C heat waves but were not news because they were considered unavoidable “facts of life” or were chalked up to “old age.” (As if old age is ipso facto a cause of death!)
So my view is:
- Something that people die without sure sounds like me to be a necessity.
- People dying from diabetes before insulin or infections before penicillin (sp?) were also considered unavoidable facts of life.
Of course air conditioning is not a necessity in the absolute sense of food, water, and shelter. But, at least to me, it seems to be a necessity to the same degree that indoor plumbing, heating, and electricity are necessities.
So what do you think?