I HAVE AN IDEA. WHY DON’T WE TURN OFF EVERYONE’S AIR CONDITIONING AND SEE HOW LONG WE’D LAST?
Another year, another hot-as-heck August. Still to come– steamy September and, probably, oven-like October, too.
We’re used to hot weather this time of year.
Only—this year it’s hotter. How many 90-degree days have we had this month compared to years past?
How miserable is 80-90 percent humidity?
I know you know what I’m talking about.
Most people have ways to beat the heat, if only during working hours, which also happen to be during the hottest parts of the day. They leave their humid homes; drive their air-conditioned cars to their air-conditioned workplaces and shelter there all day.
Those who don’t have that option might be able to escape to shopping malls, restaurants and coffee shops where they sit or stroll in comfort. On Sunday my husband and I went out for lunch, ended up at the movies and then took a walk in the mall—all to avoid going home until the (slightly) cooler evening.
And now. Consider the children in our public schools, who can’t escape.
Back in the olden days when I was a reporter, I did several stories about how HOT Hawaii’s classrooms were.
Back then the kids sweltered in box-like rooms. If they were lucky they had several fans to move the air, although the air swirling around was likely to be hot, hot, hot.
Not much has changed. Only now, it’s the children of those kids, sweltering in those same classrooms. And it’s even hotter than it was back then. Think about that.
Some schools have added AC units on their own, but there still are thousands of our kids baking and drooping and trying to learn in hotboxes. I mean classrooms. Well, okay, I actually do mean hotboxes.
Aren’t we ashamed?
Now, I know the situation is complex and expensive. Even if the state could afford the 1.7 billion dollars needed to cool every school, there remains the problem of aged infrastructure and the added costs of renovations.
But think big picture and look ahead. We KNOW it’s only going to get hotter, not only in Hawaii but also around the world.
We KNOW we have to do something about it, if not now, then eventually– and the cost of solutions goes up with each passing year.
Can corporations get together to “adopt” a school and provide air con? Can we use more photovoltaic technology? Frankly, I think PV’s are a smart and forward-looking, though initially costly, solution.
Come on, there are smart people in this state, we can do it!
Or are we going to be forced to declare “heat days” to mitigate the health risk to children and their teachers?
That may be necessary, at least until more permanent solutions can be found.
As our business elite, our politicians and school administrators ponder the heat crisis (and I do believe it’s a crisis) in air-conditioned comfort, the kids sweat and doze and hang their heads in misery while their teachers try to keep them cool and alert enough to function.
I have an idea. Why don’t we turn off EVERYONE’S air con and see how long we’d last? How effective would WE be at conducting business, or making laws, or anything– if we’re trying to do it in spaces that would soon be as torrid as our public school classrooms?