Portland Environmentalists Ashamed to Be Buying Air Conditioners

(p. A11) Here in Oregon’s largest city, it was sometimes hard to tell what was more startling: the record-setting heat or the fact that, on a planet getting used to higher temperatures, Portland was not entirely unprepared for it. In a region known for its enviously mild, low-humidity summers, people have increasingly and quietly embraced air-conditioning. Federal data suggests that about 70 percent of the Portland area’s occupied homes and apartments have at least some air-conditioning, up from 44 percent in 2002
. . .
Ms. Merlo’s home does not have air-conditioning, and she said she was considering sleeping in the basement. Although she cited environmental concerns as her primary reason for not installing a unit, she said more weeks like this one could shift her views.
“Talk to me five years from now, after another record-setting heat wave,” she said. “I might change my mind.”
Other people in the region already made the change. Kristan Moeckli, a Portland native who works in commercial real estate, said she had added a window unit to her apartment in Multnomah Village, just south of downtown. Pushed into the purchase by the coming heat, she bought the air-conditioner over the weekend, claiming one of the last units at the store.
“As we were looking at the 10-day forecast on our local news and they were projecting not just 80s — 80s, I can deal with — but 90s and above for a week, I was thinking about how we wouldn’t be able to cool down our apartment at night,” she said. “A part of me feels a little ashamed, as a native Oregonian, that I did cave and get the air-conditioning unit, but it’s kind of one those sorry, not sorry kind of things.”

For the full story, see:
Alan Blinder. “Region Proud of Roughing It, Without Air-Conditioning, Has Second Thoughts.” The New York Times (Friday, Aug. 4, 2017): A11.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 3, 2017, and has the title “‘As the Northwest Boils, an Aversion to Air-Conditioners Wilts.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.