If you're from a "heating climate," one where you spend most of your annual utility bill on heating your home in the winter, you have quite a different experience from those of us in a "cooling climate," where the bulk of our annual utility outlay is spent on air conditioning during the blazing hot summers.
I never considered one type of climate control more important that the other. But I have come across some articles lately on the federal budget cuts, one of which is cutting heating assistance for poor people, and one of the criticisms for the program is that some people use those funds for air conditioning.
This got me thinking: is heating really more vital to human well-being than air conditioning? I say no way! If you live in an area like I do where the temperature can be 100 degrees with 90 percent humidity, that is life-threatening, my friend.
Some people think we're being extravagant down here in the south to use air conditioning. But do they feel they're being extravagant heating their homes in winter? We use very little energy down here in the south during the winter. I guess we could say to the northerners: man up and live in a cold house. But of course, I wouldn't say that.
Others say: Turn off your air conditioner because our ancestors lived without air conditioning. The truth is, houses back then were built to allow for air flow. There were tall ceilings and leaky walls and porches and transoms.
Now the houses are tighter, with windows that barely open, and insulation in the walls.
If we are to cut down on air conditioning costs, we can either restore to our old homes the air-moving features of a century ago, or we can seal them up so a very little bit of air conditioning goes a long way.
No matter what we do, please don't discount our need for air conditioning. If you could experience what we experience down here, you'd know it's a matter of life and death, not just comfort.
In exchange, I won't challenge your need and right to warm your home in the winter. Deal?