Sorry Rick.

Rick Mercer (of This hour has 22 minutes fame, host of Monday Report and Talking to Americans) has signed on as the spokesdude for The One Tonne Challenge. Every Canadian, in order to meet our Kyoto responsibilities and….well, be just a little bit smarter, is being asked to cut our Green House Gas emmisions (GHGs) by one tonne. The average Canadian produces 5 tonnes of GHGs every year. (The average American produces even more..about six tonnes). We are already a very low emitting family. ( I know what some of you are thinking. You’re thinking “Why Steph, if you guys already are meeting the goal, why would you cut back even more?” Good point, but I’m trying to make up for the weenies who have their air conditioning set so low that they need sweaters in the house, (though I am usually very pro sweater) and still can’t imagine anything they could give up). In fact, when I saw Rick on the TV asking me to do my bit, I hustled over to the website and looked at the suggestions for cutting back. We were already doing most of it…and the only thing that we could really do to cut further was to give up the air conditioning.

We have a little window air conditioner that we run to cool our whole wee house. It works great, but really, we pondered, was it necessary? Did we really, really need one? Considering how short the summer is, that we have many fans….did we really, really need to be wreaking the planet for the sake of a little bit of comfort?

No way. We nobly sucked it up and didn’t install it this year. Rick, we are onside with this whole plan let me tell you.

Then it got hot. Stupid hot. Record breaking hot. It’s been so hot here that you can’t breathe. (Or that may be the record breaking smog alerts…hard to tell really.) So far this summer we have had 16 heat alerts (10 extreme heat alerts). Temperatures are hovering around the 35 degree mark (that’s 95 for my American friends) and because the humidity has been relentless and hair enlarging, the humidex temperature has been reading in the 40’s. (105). We are sticky. We are miserable. We have been taking cold baths and trying to lie still with a fan blowing on us all day. I took a book on a Raw Food diet out of the library to avoid turning on the stove. Our long haired black cat hasn’t moved from the tile of the kitchen in days. We are getting nothing done, feeling ill, and Rick? We can’t do it.

Now, I cannot tell you how much guilt I feel about letting Rick and the planet down, (Rick? Is your air on?) and I am simply bitter about the irony that I am being forced by climate change to contribute to climate change, but this morning Joe and I installed the air conditioner and I have to tell you….it is good. If the overtaxed hydro system burns out later this afternoon, plunging all of Toronto into a powerless blackout that lasts for hours….

It will have been worth the sweet hours working on my laptop seated directly in front of the merciful air conditioner. Take me, I’m yours.

So I’m sorry Rick, but I had no choice…

It was too hot to knit.

96 thoughts on “Sorry Rick.

  1. I certainly understand that….I use a small window unit in the bedroom, just so I can sleep, and keep it turned low fan and not low temp, but enought to pull the humidity out of the air.
    It’s okay…too hot to knit is too hot to live.

  2. Steph, I feel your pain. We don’t even have the possibility of an air conditioner. We (generally) rely on Lake Scugog’s cooling breezes to do the job. The wind has died. Completely and totally.
    In an effort to not add pollution to the world, we have declared a moratorium on hot food. Especially that which must be cooked in the kitchen.
    The black and mostly white cat is currently lying on his back with all four paws waving in the air, trying to use them as radiator fins. It isn’t working. He is miserable.
    Us? We keep jumping in the lake. It’s like bathwater, but it is cooler than the sun.
    Have faith — fall will be back!

  3. You were very brave and everything but really if anyone needs the a/c today it is we Torontonians in small houses. Considering really, we only run them for what, 2 weeks at most? Don’t suffer. Now, if we could get all those office towers downtown to turn off their lights and a/c in the middle of night – that would make a difference. I’m sure Rick is comfortably cool wherever he goes today.

  4. Wow, we’re already doing almost everything on the list! We don’t even have a fan, no A/C, etc. Reduce, reuse & recycle! After living in the South for a few years, even really “hot” days in California feel rather pleasant…
    Oh, try knitting linen in the heat, on bamboo or wood needles. Less fussy about sweat and cool on the hands.

  5. Too hot to knit? Yikes. You didn’t have any choice but to install the a/c – no knitting is the worst thing imaginable, well at least pretty darn bad. We don’t have a/c because the wind blows an average of 30mph here so when you open the windows, it cools things right off.

  6. I’m really in the same boat as you are on this issue, but this year what decided things in favor of cool and against the planet was my inability to breathe. I chose breathing – sorry Rick (and everyone else).

  7. OI! We have no AC no hope of it either. Unless we want to cut a hole in the wall. Today we sit under the ceiling fan in the living room and veg out on our new digital cable channels!
    So enjoy your AC for me!
    The raw food diet sounds like a good idea. Perhaps I will have to go look at the library for it. They have AC!!

  8. It’s just as hot here, and I TOTALLY understand. We have no air conditioning, and live on the third floor with no cross breeze. If you walk across the floor you feel like you’re going to throw up it’s so hot.
    And thanks for the socks!!! I just love them and they fit perfectly. A thank you gift will be winging its way towards you as soon as we finish moving. Yes, we’re moving into a two bedroom. In this heat. Believe me, I have no choice.

  9. Here I am, thinking, “Am I doing as much as I can? I’ve gotta check out these tips to see what else I can do!” (My DH and I do most of them already. ๐Ÿ™‚
    There are times when weakness is appropriate, and I think your weather right now makes it ok to have a little comfort. No knitting? “Quel horror!”

  10. What good to have saved the planet and all to have perished in the effort. Plug in that a/c for heavens sake.

  11. I constantly fight the battle of the AC. In my own home, I try to keep it warm, but not uncomfortable, during the summer months. This usually means my husband bumps the temps down, I bump the temps back up, each time we pass. We generally keep it within the range of 73 – 77 (22-25C)
    In my office, I work with an idiot. An idiot who has a fan and room ac in the room he spends the most time on, and still insists that the main office (which affects my office) AC needs to be set at 60 (15C). And mocks me and whines incessantly when I dare bump it up to 70 (21C)
    So good for you for hanging in there as long as you have. Someone has to battle the oaf I work with….

  12. Wow-you folks are so brave to even try a summer without an a/c! Of course, I can’t begin to imagine what your summers are generally like…I live in Oklahoma, where it’s already in the 100’s and feels like it’s 110 outside.

  13. Rick Mercer is a Newfoundlander and Monday Report is taped in Toronto. Now, if he grew up on the same hunk of rock I did, he’s totally not used to this, is sticky and crabby and is currently languishing in front of his A/C. If he’s smart, he goes back to Newfoundland in the summer (I’m heading there tomorrow – come to me sweet, sweet weather). Personally, I’m feeling a little guilt about running the central air but will make it up to Rick and the planet some other way (my lawn may turn to straw, my laundry may never dry but I’ll be cool dammit!).

  14. It’s a strange and unhealthly phenom, but here in Deep South USA the a/c is often kept at a steady 72 degrees, necessitating indoor sweaters in the summer. I frequently wear fingerless gloves at work because my hands stay cold (because of the d*mned a/c) and for this I’m known as “the strange little knitting person.”
    Thanks for the website — I’m off to check it out and see if I can subversively apply any of it here.

  15. I am always on the side of reducing the pollution in the air. We had no air for years. I stayed home with my kids with no ac in the summer. Then the summers started to get can’t even breath and have a headache hot with humidity and smog. I couldn’t sew or knit without sweat dripping off my nose. I gave in and got central air 3 years ago. My rational…got to be happy and healthy and got to keep the kids happy and healthy…. I keep it warm enough that I am still wearing summer clothing inside and turn it off when the heat breaks…Those are my contributions. Lets get more people to car pool or take the GO into the city. That would have a larger effect.

  16. Wow, living in southern Missouri, I thought we’d done well to not install the AC (little window unit) until the end of June. That’s the latest we’ve ever installed it, as we live in a mobile home with vaulted ceilings, which translates into no insulation in them. Once the in-house temp gets into the 90’s F, in goes in regardless. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to just run it from noon to 6ish, then use the fans to move it around until dark, but still.
    I’m not going to turn it on today if I don’t have to, having been spoiled by the remnants of Dennis the past couple of days. Who knows, if we get really tough, we might be able to hold out a bit longer.
    Stay cool, or at least cool enough to knit.

  17. if it is any consolation… I have not used an AC for 3 yrs. Sue and I put one in on tuesday nite. We have never slept better. (granted, we only turn it on at nite for sleeping purposes. I swear!!) and the cat.. well she is no longer trying to catch any wafting current from the ceiling fans and has plunked herself between me and the window unit.

  18. Here you go with all this heat talk again…hehehe..and thankyou for the conversions! I spent many summers sans air conditioner in Illinois with 95 degree weather (farenheit) and almost complete humidity and I tell you, it pays to have a pool cause I lived in that thing for years.

  19. Um, Stephanie…move to Maine. Bring the entire Harlot Household with you. We’ll make room.
    (I didn’t consult with the rest of the state before making this offer, but since I’m typing this NOT from Maine, but from my non-airconditioned third-floor apartment in central New York, just a spit south of you across Lake Ontario, I figure my current misery gives me carte blanche. And I get to go back home on Friday.)

  20. My husband and I are trying to do the One Tonne Challenge as well. We don’t own an air conditioner. The weather has been cold and miserable on the East Coast and I’ve only used my fan once this year. In fact, and I hesitate to tell you this, we’ve been sleeping with the duvet on the bed and I wore flannel jammies last night.
    You’re all welcome to visit if you want.
    The only bad thing about the cold weather is that it is also rainy, so I’ve had a hard time getting my laundry out to the clothesline. I end up hanging the clothes in our basement or using the dryer (wretched thing). I feel like Rick is standing over my shoulder every time I open the dryer door.

  21. i’m with Martha, here in the Deep South USA. it’s so odd to see people carrying sweaters around when it is 95 degrees outside at 9 a.m. i understand it at work where i am a CSR in a very small room with a dozen computers running; but even there i run a fan for the breeze while most everyone else is literally under a blanket. at home, i have no AC; plenty of fans; no AC. in places where there is AC and no fan, i use a hand fan. aint that crazy?

  22. Don’t forget to pull down the blinds to block out some light when you get up. I find this reduces the heat in the room.
    For those of us without AC, open your windows in the evening and put your fans by the windows set on high. By the time you go to bed, it should finally be cool.
    Water dripping air coolers are a good alternative to AC, too.

  23. I took a quiz about the environmental footprint that my particular (so hippie you wouldn’t believe it) habits have.
    And much to my surprise, I did quite badly. Why? Because having kids is apparently the most environmentally irresponsible action a person can take, worse than driving an SUV and air-conditioning to the point where your pet penguin needs a sweater.
    I recall being totally outraged at the whole thing. (But I am *still* doing way more than my fair share in reducing energy consumption. Only now I’m doing it GRUMPILY!)

  24. Oh Steph, I hear ya. It is brutal here too. And to add to that, the street in front of my house has been dug up all summer to allow for new sewer and water mains to be built. So we’re hot, sticky and dirty. I can’t keep up with it all. I have already made my peace with Rick. Or at least, said my piece!

  25. When I tell people the I keep my AC set at 76 when I’m not home and that it very rarely goes below 72, (all I want is a slight reprieve from the horrid D.C. heat for me and the cats) they think I’m nuts, especially since electric is included in my rent.
    They also think I’m crazy for not owning a car.

  26. I don’t know if you are familiar with the folksinger Christine Lavin, but around this time of year I often find myself humming the song “The Air Conditioner”, which contains the following lyrics:
    “It don’t matter what kinda lovin’ you’re into
    Or how big your apartment might be
    All you need’s an Air Conditioner
    And you’re the man for me.”
    (complete lyrics are at:

  27. I can’t believe you wated this long before putting in your air conditioner.You are a strong woman I will give you that

  28. I can honestly say that I don’t mind not having the A/C. I live in Nor. California now, and while it gets blazing hot, we manage with no A/C.
    Our thing is that once the sun goes down, every single window in the house gets opened wide, and the blinds are opened to allow a breeze to pass. Since we are both up for work at sunrise, all the windows and blinds get shut tight. Surprisingly enough, this old farmhouse trick does wonders for cooling the house.
    Laundry also gets the outdoor treatment in the summer time. I refuse to run the dryer unless it is raining.
    Outside of that, we walk everywhere. And being in a semi- rural area, that is a feat in itself.
    Here’s to walking, hand fans, iced tea, and living outside in the shade when one can!

  29. here at the library (je suis une bibliothecaire), we are trying to help rock out. while the a/c remains on (in ontario public libraries are one of the places people without a/c are told to go to escape death), we have turned off 2/3 of the light. so we type and read away, blinds clacking in the a/c breeze, in the slight dark, everyone thinking “why do we have all those extra lights to begin with?”

  30. Ooo! A quiz! I’m a … 1.8 tonner! I think being a poor student immediately makes you seem better because you can’t afford to screw up the environment with all the fancy smancy tools that everyone else has. Neato.
    Apparently, the average BCer only uses 4.3 tonnes, instead of the national 5.5. You could make the goal just by moving here!
    Also, Vancouver is partly cloudy and 18 degrees today. I’m just sayin’.
    — This has been a message from the Harlot Should Live On The West Coast Committee

  31. 116* in my neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV yesterday. Supposed to get up to 118* today. Oh yea, but it’s a ‘dry heat.’ I have solar screens all over the windows, but at this point, I just put styrofoam sheets in them. I keep the house at 80* which means about 83-85* really. Then when I go to a ‘business’ my brain explodes because they keep the temp at 60*!! WTF. I make shawls to wear in Vegas because of the artic temps in the summer. I hate summer. Don’t like humid either. Don’t know how you do it. Rick has ac for sure.

  32. Our nearest neighbours lectured us on planet-saving steps we ought to be taking, when we built our home 18 years ago. This included the inadvisability of installing air conditioning. Our A/C – even on the hottest day, runs only infrequently, because we insisted that the builders leave all the mature trees – which now shade the house.
    For the past few days, the planet-saving neighbours have been taking car trips – because their car has A/C.
    Big sigh!

  33. I am sitting here freezing in my work place. Apparantly there is some US workers law that says indoor work conditions must be no higher than 68F(20C) in the summer. I shouldn’t have to wear a sweater in July to be comfortable.
    At home I have the AC set for 27C/82F, and am fine – would like to get rid of some humidity but I guess I could invest in a dehumidifier.
    Thanks for the link for the challenge.

  34. It will be 115 here today in Arizona. You bet I have my AC on. But we have raised the settings on it and use fans. And I’m working from home today!

  35. Great tips to save energy and emissions. We already do most of those things, but it never hurts to look more carefully at what can be changed. Now, air conditioning in heat and humidity? That’s a whole different thing. Cut back in other areas, but stay decently cool, for goodness sake!

  36. I have to say I feel no guilt over using my air conditioning right now, given that being outside in the heat and smog these days sends my searching for my inhalers within minutes. Plus I have a 4 year old boy and black and brown long haired dog to think about as well.
    But, to try to compensate, we’re keeping all the blinds down in the house to keep us from having to turn it up too high, running the dryer once for every two loads of laundry (when possible) – that’s my excuse not to do it as often as I probably should – and washing anything that doesn’t need bleach in cold water. I second Cara’s thought though. It’s amazing that the Harlot Household was able to hold out this long.

  37. You lasted longer than us. We have an attic tv room (3rd floor) and the walls were starting to melt, so we installed one window unit for when we’re up there.
    But now the rest of the house is getting mighty hot. I have another unit in the basement and if it wasn’t buried under a ton of junk I’d have it in my room already.
    I’m doing my bit–bike to work, do laundry at night, use the air conditioning sparingly, hang my clothes up to dry, work in an unair conditioned office/inferno, but dammit if I have to have one more sleepless sticky night someone’s going to pay.
    Off to find that other air conditioner. But I promise not to turn it on until after 8pm.

  38. My brother is an energy scientist. A colleague of his once gave a talk on the life cycle of a yogurt container: the energy used to manufacture the carton, transport it to the dairy, fill it with yogurt, ship it (in a refrigerated truck) to the grocer’s, travel to your home, and then go to the landfill.
    After my brother told me about that, I pretty much gave up mail ordering things for 8 years. Individual vs. mass transportation has energy costs!
    Best of luck to all on the One Tonne Challenge. The MSF reminds us: all the little bits add up, when we do it together.

  39. I understand, totally, and now I’m really worried. Because in Portugal we are having a long heat wave and draught (sp?). It almost never rained this year, which is a very serious problem (we normally should have a dry summer but a very rainy winter, spring and autumn). Some areas are having trouble with water supply, and we are having the usual (unfortunately) forest fires (mostly of criminal origin). I don’t have air conditioning, either in my University cubicle (it’s not too hot, though), or im my house. My house is more on the cool side (in winter it’s uncomfortable unless I turn on the heating), but yesterday I wasn’t able to sleep till 5 o clock in the morning, because of the heat. And now you tell me you are having a heat wave in Canada, which was supposed to be so much cooler than here. I’m really worried ๐Ÿ™
    (Good news: today was a little less hot than yesterday. Now it’s 19h hours here and it’s around 28๏ฟฝC. I hope I can sleep tonight)

  40. I don’t have AC at all, but luckily I live in Oregon, where it’s only hot for one week in the summer.

  41. We have tried to live without AC because it gives us both wicked headaches and colds. But I work at home, and I work right in the middle of freaking Mission Control, with no less than four computers running at any given time, and I’m dying. The computer fans are dying. I don’t even have a cat anymore to languish on the bathroom floor or take up residence in the bathroom sink to prove to my husband that I am DYING.
    We thought about a ceiling fan, but we may just cave and get AC for the office. Cause, you know, if I expire it’s not so bad, but if the machines go…well…all hell will break loose.

  42. Well, we don’t have air conditioners, but we do get a nice breeze through the house, and have lots of trees in the yard that keep the house cool. However, I say do what you got to do-and in this case, if you can’t knit, say no more. Don’t beat yourself up, Steph. The kids do enough of that already, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And I bet Rick does have his air on, or at the very least is hiding out someplace A LOT cooler.

  43. “Strange little knitting person” – ROTFL, martha. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think the Big Corporate Entities are the worst offenders. Lights on 24/7, air chilled to freezer-aisle temps… what a waste. At least I’ve been able to wear my alpaca Clapotis most of the summer.
    On Maine: save room for me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Every time I do the MDI marathon, I have to slow down and check out any land or building with a for-sale sign on it…

  44. I really, really wish we had AC so the house could just be below 80 degrees during the day. I’m getting quite irritable not being able to get my core temp down at all.
    Though, today we did our part and got another layer of insulation put into the attic and some gable vents to hopefully help the attic cool off more in the evenings.
    May the 95 degree weather disapate soon on both sides of the border!

  45. I second Kristen’s invitation to Maine. Hovering in the mid-80s so that, even though it is humid, it does not feel that hot.
    We have never used an air conditioner though the fans appear in the summer. Our solution to stinking hot days is the basement. VERY cool down there and it smells a bit sheepy which only adds to its appeal (for me). Of course, I bet the dehumidifier takes up a lot of power… oh well, we use it pretty rarely.
    — Laurie

  46. You should live in NS. Today it’s about 16 C with a bit of a breeze. I for the life of me can’t imagine living with the sort of heat that Toronto has been having.

  47. You should live in NS. Today it’s about 16 C with a bit of a breeze. I for the life of me can’t imagine living with the sort of heat that Toronto has been having.

  48. I don’t mind one bit that you have resorted to air conditioning. My first and only visit to Toronto thus far was Aug 2003. Goodness, was the heat oppressive, especially with the blackout and all the air conditioning (and the lights, elevators, and well, everything eletronic) in the hotel turned off. *ugh* So, I don’t blame you at all. ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. Living in Iowa has convinced me that air conditioning is a necessity, if only to avoid thoughts of homicidal acts brought on by the relentless humidity. Although it is, as we say here, good for the corn.
    Our AC is usually set at about 80F, which keeps everyone relatively comfortable, and we shut it off at night unless it’s absolutely stinkin’ out. We also signed up with the energy folks for a program that shuts the AC off automatically a few times a day for 15 minutes at a time, which helps save energy. Anyway, not running the AC is to me about as dumb as not running the heat in the winter. Keep that puppy plugged in, Stephanie.

  50. When we lived in Montreal we had a window air conditioner that we did indeed use in the hottest part of the summer.
    Here in Halifax, normally it isn’t hot that often, we have ceiling fans in some of the bedrooms. This year though we have had so few summer days that it hardly seems like summer has arrived at all.
    I am wearing a cardigan:( The sun came out briefly and the weather warmed up accordingly but then more cloud rolled in, brrr, grrr.

  51. Anybody else remember hearing this same conversation from Steph, but in reverse, about turning on her heat? But that was a battle with her brother, not with Mother Nature.
    But, still’n’all, it’s proof that our Harlot is STUBBORN in the face of climate change!

  52. I think this situation is the close cousin of your refusing to turn on the furnace until toilet water freezes!

  53. If it’s too hot to knit, it’s too hot to LIVE. :X
    Seriously, I’ve been lurking here for months and months and months now, and you’ve just inspired me to post for the first time, if only to tell you not to feel at all guilty. My parents haven’t had an air conditioner in years — I grew up in the sweltering Missouri summers in the suburbs of KC without any a/c and only an attic fan to cool us — and a darned inadequate effort that was, too, given it’s a 2500 ft sq split level house. I remember literally laying on the bed in a puddle of my own sweat weeping as a child because it was too hot to even sleep before they put the fan in, and afterwards it wasn’t much better. I grew to hate August. I live in SoCal now, and I don’t visit between the months of May and September. They’ll just have to do without me.
    I go on with all that to tell you that I would *never* begrudge any living soul an a/c. Ever. I actually worry about my parents when the mercury goes up now, because I know they’re sitting in the middle of their oven … er, living room, that is … sweltering, and it *scares* me. ๐Ÿ™
    I say we need to develop an environmentally neutral way to air condition AFRICA. It’s positively inhuman to live without it.
    Granted, mine is rarely on out here, and I set it to 80F or so, but still.

  54. Sleep in the basement! Humidity’s the real killer, though. Don’t miss the East Coast, am here in Pacific NW for good.

  55. I’m impressed that Canadians have been asked to make some changes. I haven’t heard anything about us Americans changing. Let’s see three things we could change that would be easy. 1) Turn off the lights in office buildings, do the lights really need to be on in every office at 2am? 2) Stop driving SUVs that are so montrous a family of four could live comfortably. 3) Turn the A/C in the movie theatres and offices to a “comfortable” level, instead of ice cold. We don’t all need to freeze everywhere we go.
    I agree with you Steph, sometimes drastic measures must be taken in your own home to deal with the heat.

  56. Stephanie, don’t beat yourself up! I have no A/C either, but I’m fortunate to live in the Upper Beach in Toronto, and get a great south breeze almost all the time. You know, just think – Miller will be asking us to ration our water soon (and we should be), so just think how you’re already doing your part by NOT taking those cool baths…
    I agree re. the SUV’s!

  57. Having grown up in DC with no A/C, I feel your pain. It is not so much the heat, or the humidity, but the pollution that kills you. Now I am in NYC, and although I have an air conditioner in my apartment, I think I have turned it on 4 times this year. That said, I am sitting here at work in long sleeves wishing I had a sweater because it is freezing cold. The only good news, they turn the A/C off at 6, so it should start to warm up soon.

  58. My mom lives in Puerto Rico. They now have droughts. DROUGHTS! It’s a tropical island and they have droughts. It used to rain everyday for a few minutes at least, then the sun would come out followed by rainbows and birdsong and frog peeps. Now when it rains, it pours relentlessly on baked earth. And the heat. Either it’s gotten hotter, dangerously hotter, or the natives have gotten used to air conditioning.
    We’re finally paying the piper.

  59. There is a trick to reducing A/C and still using it. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, run it at night when it is relatively cooler. That way, the A/C is working “downhill” instead of “up”. It takes a much shorter time to cool the same amount at night. Get the house down (I try for 23C) so that it takes longer to heat up in daytime. Today, with blinds drawn etc the A/C (set to 27C – it’s summer, we wear shorts) didn’t come on until after 4:00. If I’d left it off for the night, it would have be on before noon.

  60. If it’s too hot to knit then the A/C definately needs to be on. Although here in Australia we are deciding if it’s cold enough to use the heating….

  61. I’m in Toronto from a physics conference and I’m staying in the dorms with no AC. Coming from Boston, the land of hot and humid summers, I’ve got to say that this weather is BAD. With the window open and laying on a cold, concrete floor, it is still too hot to move. As environmentally yucky as it is, I am envious of your AC.

  62. I wish we had a challenge like this. We could do so much better so easily. I did go to the website and struggled through the km and celsius but found I’m HORRENDOUS! So I went through the little plan and surpassed the challenge almost two-fold. I promise, when I get my own house I’ll bring it down to 5.
    Now if we are going to talk about excess. You could eliminate the extra “n” and the “e” on your spelling of ton. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Unless it tonne really is different than ton. Then please ignore my ignorance. I’m from the US.)

  63. I’ll have to say (as a person living in a downtown Toronto apartment) that it is not home air conditioners that are the problem. It is the d*mn office buildings. The lights are kept on ALL night. In ALL the buildings. These are 30+ story buildings. What a waste.
    As for the 1 tonne challenge… I don’t even think my home emits 1 tonne a year. I live in an apartment, I am a vegetarian and mostly eat raw foods. I don’t have a car (two legs are fine for me), and only have one (small) fan for the entire apartment. I keep all the lights off (cooler that way). The only 2 items that run on electricity that we keep plugged in are the computer and the fridge. Of course, this has taken it’s toll on the cats, who have not moved from the linoleum by the door in days. My husband, who is from the Sacramento valley in California, has finally admitted that it has been d*mn hot here. It’s actually slightly cooler in Cali (no humidity!). Oh, and I have continued knitting. With wool. Not so pleasant, but better than not knitting at all.

  64. I’m from Brisbane, Australia. In January last year, my husband and I moved into a new house. It has aircon. What bliss! The first time I’ve ever had aircon in summer. I wish we’d moved a little sooner – the immediately preceding Christmas Day was 40 C and 90+% humidity. However, at least we had it for the heatwave that lasted for a week and was consistently above 40C. And there were lots of power outages, because everyone had the same bright idea of turning on the aircon…
    This sort of thing happens frequently in summer. Most of January overnight lows don’t go below 30C. Or Febuary. And it rains. A lot.
    At the moment, it’s winter. A few weeks back, we had a week of real winter. It was 2C overnight. Now, to you folks who live in climates where it snows, this doesn’t seem so bad. Except that everyone lives in houses designed to let the heat out – otherwise there is NO WAY we would survive summer. Central heating doesn’t exist. Which means that if it is 2C outside, it is that cold or colder inside. It makes getting out of bed in the morning quite a challenge.
    And depending on the season, my workplace is quite warm or quite chilly when I get there – aircon and lights get turned off at 10pm, and don’t come on until 9am unless someone pushes the magic button.
    Anyhow. Turn on the aircon. And drink a lot of crushed ice.

  65. The rule in our house is that if the temp in the house gets above 85, which means it’s around 90 upstairs, the AC goes on (we have central air). Heat stroke is not a happy thing. The moring I woke up clearly having symptoms of heat stroke I decided a little AC is fine for an otherwise environmentally conscious individual. Moderation, you know.

  66. Oh yeah, and when it is on we keep the AC at 80 during the day and 78 at night, so I think we’re ok.

  67. As a fellow citizen of planet earth..I forgive you for the use of your air conditioner. I happen to live in the land of the greedy americans, but try to atone for it by watching my “usage of resources”. I would love to totally turn off my airconditioner, but considering it’s 110F here, uh huh. I do, however, keep it set at 78 degrees and use the ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. By doing this, I actually stay under the “line” where you get charged extra for being greedy. Hey, if it’s not yarn, I can live in my alloted range.

  68. No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater… than central air. (from the movie Dogma, by Kevin Smith)

  69. Stephanie-
    I will keep this short because I have a new kitten who thinks my typing hands (and the attached wrists) are a new ploy to entertain her, and I’m already bleeding a bit.
    I’ve been reading for a few months now, and I really love your blog. I know, everybody loves the blog!
    I think I’d seen the book in passing here and there prior to reading your blog (I learned of it via a Clapotis knitalong), but I’d always been in denial. “Me? Knit too mucH? Never!” But then I started reading your blog, and I knew that the book was written for specifically the type of knitters that we are. That many many MANY knitters are.
    I look forwards to seeing your visit to Seattle at the Weaving Works, and I hope I can force YOU to pose with MY sock! And sign the book book book, of course.
    Be well, be good, and be happy,
    Ps. Thank you for enabling me to spend extravagantly on yarn for the first time. I think I’m approaching SABLE. Then again, I’m only 20. I think I can fill a few closets yet.

  70. I do not, repeat, do not miss the humidity of Ontario. You turn that air conditioning on and sit in front of it until you develop icicles…. They don’t issue heat advisories for nothing….
    Take care…and stay cool if you can.

  71. sounds like you are having the same weather we are in chicago.
    and funny how despite the humidity being incredibly high for weeks now, we are getting NO RAIN and there is brown gnarly coarse grass everywhere. you’d think with humidity this high we’d see a little rain, ya know.

  72. Wow, your readers have lots of interesting things to say here – and can I say how terrific it is that people a) know how much they pollute and b) want to change it?? Here in the US, we’re still treating Global Warming like the Easter bunny… Got any room up there? Maybe I’ll pull a Fuzzy — seems to be working out great for her.
    And when I was last in Maine it was about 90 degrees and humid! Though life is always better when you can sit in the shade in a hammock.
    It’s all about doing what you can, and living with the rest.

  73. You can’t suffer. If you can have a few hours of comfort, do it. You will always be able to do better later.

  74. Hi Stef,
    Here in not-so-distant central PA we are dealing with the same very hot and humid weather. I have been feeling guilty about the AC but it has been necessary — these houses were built to keep in the warm, not to cool things off! I am careful not to refrigerate the house, just take the edge off, for me and my knitting, and for the 14-year-old dog. I have been very conscious lately of energy use, but it adds up fairly well — what with the excuse not to cook ;> , careful use of the dishwasher and laundry, recycling… The big change will come in the spring when I move, since the point of that is to be able to walk to work.

  75. When it is too hot to knit…that’s a problem! You can have the A/C installed in the window, but only use it when you can bear the heat no longer. That’s a good compromise, yes?

  76. COMPLETELY off topic, but I thought this is pretty cool.
    First, I saw this story on Slashdot:
    “This is an unconventional story about an entrepreneur (who happens to be the child of a mountain and a washing machine) who gets involved in a scheme to blanket Toronto with free wireless mesh network, among other things.”
    And thought I should ask Steph if Mr. Washie has been steppin’ out on her.
    Then I followed the link:
    to Cory Doctorow’s site and read his essay on writing and publishing in the modern world, and found it very intersting. Now I might have to read his book!

  77. So you HAVE done your bit extra this summer, even when forced to install the a/c. You sent the link to all of us energy gobblers and forced us to think, “Hmm, where could I cut back?” If each of us changes one lightbulb from incandescent, you’ll have caused a change far greater than leaving your a/c off all summer, and stayed sane besides. My boss’s a/c has been broken all summer. When it gets too hot and humid (this is Virginia) I tell him it’s too hot to work and go home to knit booties (I haven’t quite graduated to socks yet.)

  78. I think tonne is correct – it’s metric rather than the old US imperial.
    Sitting in Birmingham UK >30celsius and wishing I was home in my hammock in the shade – it’s fine then – can knit kureyon, but NOT kidsilk haze!

  79. Hi Steph: As a 5- ton American, and the wife of a guy in the power industry, I have maybe a justification for turning the AC back on – running the fans probably produces just as much greenhouse gas as running the AC, especially if you are running a lot of fans. This is only true if your city is served by a power plant that produces g’house gasses. Canada’s (or is it Ontario’s) “Liberal government [has a] plan to shut Ontario’s coal-fired power plants by the end of 2007” Maybe next we can get the gas-fired plants!

  80. That’s just a bit hotter than it is here in Kansas. I COULD NOT SURVIVE a summer without ac. Once we get to winter we can have our race to see who can last the longest without heat (I think it would be more fair to go by lowest temp considering my advantage of living in Kansas…) but the ac thing just won’t happen. We can’t have you not knitting. That’d totally ruin your whole haven’t gone a day without knitting thing. How many days was it you’ve skipped, like 3 or something?

  81. Hi again! I won’t even mention what New Orleans in July is like or what a nine month summer feels like, suffice to say that when you feel like a guppy but don’t have gills it’s too hot. Years ago, I decided to tough out a New Orleans summer with just the attic fan. I walked around leaving little puddles of me behind and turned on the window unit only in the bedroom to get dressed to go out (because it takes longer to dress when your clothes stick to you). At the end of the summer every shoe and boot I owned (because I went barefoot) was mildewed and the house was a dust bowl from open windows and the attic fan! That was the end of that noble effort. I tread lightly on the planet as best I can but I need my AC to beat the humidity.

  82. The website you linked has really motivated me to try to move to a more environmentally-friendly/supportive area. We don’t even have recycling where I am, and it’s hard to reduce your emissions when you have to drive 35 minutes each way to drop off recycling.
    *makes notes for later*

  83. Hey there, from North Carolina. I think that the hottest we have have reached this year so far is the mid-nineties, a week straight.Plus, the humidity is horrible. We have another month and a half left, before we will even be able to smell fall in the air at night. We have a pretty good sized mobile home with only one tinsy, air conditioner. Sounds kind of like your situation. Cold showers, and sitting in front of fans, opening up the chest freezer and contemplating climbing in it. Sitting in front of that little a/c just so you can knit. Definitely can relate.
    Take it easy, and hope that it starts getting cooler for you.

  84. Sorry, but in Houston air-conditioning is a must. 105 and high humidity is an everyday occurence. I spend most of my summers knitting socks because they don’t sit in my lap while I work. We are evil, though and have 2 big units- one for upstairs and one for down. I don’t keep them turned down so low we need to wear my fab sweaters, but it sure feels good after running errands in the heat. I did trade in my minivan for a hybrid, though, and we do not have a big SUV like all our neighbors (the one across the street has 2!!). It evens out in the end, and I do try my best to not waste.

  85. Heat and humidity — sounds like you are practicing for a visit to South Louisiana in August for the bookbookbook?
    Moderation in all things is far better for your sanity than doing completely without. Here in South Louisiana, we have a whole-house fan (some people call them attic fans). Our rule for the AC is “85 and up.” We do not use the AC in the spring and fall, we use the attic fan.
    We keep the house at around 75 so we can wear summer clothes indoors. In the winter we keep it chilly and wear sweaters inside.
    I refuse to feel guilty for using AC in Louisiana. I drive a VolkswagenGolf diesel and I get about 50mpg. What makes ME sick in terms of greenhouse gasses are the 45,000 college students driving around this city, one per vehicle, in Hummers and SUVS burning about 12mpg. When I was in college, we had bicycles, and if you were lucky you had an old, batttered VW Beetle or a Chevette into which you would cram as many friends as possible. Only the rich kids had new cars. Almost everyone rented ratty apartements near campus, instead of fancy apartments in the suburbs, as the kids do now. And — get ready for a shock — we WALKED to class, to the grocery and to the pub.
    We need the Harlot to be cool and comfy so she can keep up the good work.

  86. Having grown up in the 50’s and 60’s without AC in the hot and humid Baltimore suburbs, I bless the inventor of AC daily, especially at night when I can actually fall asleep in the Virginia heat and humidity. My childhood suffering did teach me all the tricks of the South that combat heat — never open a window between 9AM and dusk, pull/close all shades to block the heat, invest in a LARGE window exhaust fan to pull in cool air when the weather gods actually allow the temperature to go down below 80 with 50% plus humidity– it doesn’t pay to open if it’s going to take an huge amount of electricity to make the house bearable again, and enjoy icy cold drinks. We have an old house with window AC units and we have the lowest electric bills of all our friends because we turn off the AC when we are not home and keep things closed up. So I figure conserve however you can and be grateful for AC — how did those brave pioneers settle this continent — no AC, no central heat, no indoor plumbing, and no deodorant! Yep, I am a total wimp.

  87. I have read that to cut down on my GHG emissions, I should change my driving habits first, my eating habits second. This article among many others points out that a vegetarian diet produces fewer GHG and is in general far more environmentally friendly that a diet high in meat, especially beef. (I can’t help wondering if the one-tonne-challenge info omits this because Canada exports a lot of beef, although I have also read that they manage to do it in more environmentally friendly ways than we do here in the US — what a surprise.)
    So, Steph, you are setting a great example for us, even if you caved just a little on the AC.
    My crew and I have not managed to go entirely vegetarian yet, but we are basically down to chicken and fish at this point. Working on it. Can one be an ovo-lacto-lobsto-vegetarian?

  88. Thanks for trying at least…here in Portland, Oregon -where I see you will be visiting soon :> on the book tour-
    we have a few weeks of really hot weather, and the webs between our toes and the moss of the garage roofs (which we now call eco-roofs but upon which we haven’t quite worked up to grazing sheep) begin to dry out.
    So the AC needs to function for just a few days of the year. And those few days mean sanity or insanity, as in no one sleeps if it’s too hot, the drivers become homicidel maniacs, and the children and cats wander vacant eyed out into the streets. People forget to eat. Not good.
    I’ve planted a lot of decidous trees to shade the house in summer and grow other vines for shade. This coupled with the really amazing new double paned windows keeps things cool with a minimum of energy.
    knit on !

  89. Thanks for trying at least…here in Portland, Oregon -where I see you will be visiting soon :> on the book tour-
    we have a few weeks of really hot weather, and the webs between our toes and the moss of the garage roofs (which we now call eco-roofs but upon which we haven’t quite worked up to grazing sheep) begin to dry out.
    So the AC needs to function for just a few days of the year. And those few days mean sanity or insanity, as in no one sleeps if it’s too hot, the drivers become homicidel maniacs, and the children and cats wander vacant eyed out into the streets. People forget to eat. Not good.
    I’ve planted a lot of decidous trees to shade the house in summer and grow other vines for shade. This coupled with the really amazing new double paned windows keeps things cool with a minimum of energy.
    knit on !

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