Turning up the AC isn’t the answer

Dear President Biden,

I’m writing to you in our very noisy (due to multiple fans), very dim (due to most of the windows being covered up to block the heat and NO lights on), cave-like office space where we’re holing up trying to stay reasonably not-burning-up hot.

First thing this morning we went for a short walk at a semi-shady green space so our little dog, Buddy, could do his thing and afterwards it was all we could do to not just drive around with the AC on since it was already in the low 80’s at that point. It’s stinking hot here.

This morning the forecast from the National Weather Service for Seattle was 91. It was apparent at 10:30 this morning that 91 was a swing and a miss since it was already 86 at that point. It’s currently 97 and the NWS says that’s where we are going to top out, but you know, I think somebody’s smoking something because it’s not even 2pm yet and there’s plenty more afternoon for things to heat up more.

Here’s what Google says about Seattle’s typical June temps:

June is in the summer in Seattle and is typically the 3rd warmest month of the year. Daytime maximum temperatures average around a comfortable 21°C (70°F), whilst at night 11°C (52°F) is normal.”

The “whilst” is cute, but it is seriously not cute that we are over 25 degrees hotter than usual today and the forecast for Monday looks like we could be 40 degrees over our June average. Yes, we are at the end of the month so you might think that it’s usually warmer than the 70 average, but this is the time of year when we usually have “The June Gloom,” which almost always runs right up until July 5th. Seriously, we usually need to have heavy-duty fleece handy even during the day on the 4th. And believe me, I think 80% (95%?) of us would prefer the fleece option to being able to cook our veggie burgers on the pavement like we could today.

I know I’m being exceedingly fussy. Sorry about that. (Laura and I promised each other this morning not to take our heat-driven irritability out on each other.) I’m mostly trying to get across how real climate change is and that it’s seriously not a “maybe some day” abstraction or an “over there somewhere” thing. Obviously millions of people have known this, and have directly experienced it, for years and years, but when the far Northwest part of the country is breaking heat records by 25-40 degrees, it’s very, very, painfully clear that we are in trouble.

I brought this up a few months ago, but it bears repeating – I really, really think you need to call on the CDC, NSF, and NIH to pull out all the stops to figure out how to frame public messaging to get us all to drive less, eat less meat, to stop over-buying, to live lightly. I know that such individual changes only make tiny differences and that we need massive re-engineering of manufacturing, farming, and our entire way of life, but I tell you what, if we don’t all have some things to do to help, our climate-related anxiety and despair is going to skyrocket and it won’t be pretty.

Ok, I need to get this hot laptop off of my lap so it’s time to shut ‘er down. Hope you’re having a terrific Pride weekend so far – we’re listening to the KEXP Pride show on the radio since the parade is virtual this year due to COVID (which is a blessing given the heat).

Are we having fun yet?

May we be safe from our own over consumption.
May we be willing to reset around real, sustainable limits.
May we strengthen our collective will around addressing climate change.
May we accept that turning up the AC isn’t the answer.

Tracy Simpson

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