Thursday, July 15, 2021

it's climate friday

Happy Poetry Friday, friends, where we all digress as needed when there are burning, flooding, subsiding, melting issues at hand...At least each third Friday I'll be posting a climate action PSA along with the poetry.Today's action has to do with keeping cool at home  while making the least contribution to greenhouse gases.  

I'm sure you know the basics:

1) Every refrigerator and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants, specifically CFCs and HCFCs, were once culprits in depleting the ozone layer. HFCs, the primary replacement, spare the ozone layer, but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. YIKES.  Don't let your refrigerants leak into the atmosphere!

2) More manageable for most of us at home is to look at electricity usage.  Here's a little comparison: 

  • A small table fan uses about 10-25 watts per hour.
  • A ceiling fan uses about 40-50 watts per hour.
  • Your central air unit uses between 2000 and 5000 watts per hour!

3) So here's your home climate solution: run your AC if you must, at no cooler than 78*.  Then use fans to help circulate that gently cooled air in exactly the spot you need it. This reduces the load on your AC and reduces emissions at the power plant that feeds it; uses electricity much more efficiently; and is cheaper for you! (at least after you buy--or find/thrift/inherit--the fans 😊)

This information comes from a surprisingly authoritative article at eHow, and is corroborated by information from Project Drawdown.  You can read more about how building-based solutions are an important contributor to reducing CO2 emissions fast here.  Now pass this info on!


Let's find some steamy cooling breezy poems to pair today....

Are We There Yet? Dobby Gibson (from Skirmish, Graywolf Press 2009)
You only have to make her one grilled cheese
in the suffocating heat of summer
while still wearing your wet swim trunks
to know what it’s like to be in love.
And you only have to sit once
for a haircut in the air conditioning
with the lovely stylist to forget all about it,
and to forget that anything in the universe
ever existed prior to the small, pink sweater
now brushing softly against your neck.
In this world, every birth is premature.
How else to explain all of this silence,
all of this screaming,
all of those Christmas card letters
about how well the kids are doing in school?
We’re all struggling to say the same old things
in new and different ways.
And so we must praise the new and different ways.
I don’t like Christmas.
I miss you that much.
For I, too, have heard the screaming,
and I, too, have tried to let it pass,
and still I’ve been up half the night
as if I were half this old,
and like you, I hate this kind of poetry
just as much as my life depends upon it.
They’re giving away tiny phones for free these days,
but they’ve only made
a decent conversation more precious.
One medicine stops the swelling,
another medicine stops the first medicine.
Just like you, I entered this world
mad and kicking, and without you,
it’s precisely how I intend to go.
Oh, serendipity--look what I found in FIREFLY JULY (ed. Paul B. Janeczko, Candlewick Press 2014).
 In Passing | Gerald Jonas

Open-backed dumpy junktruck
stacked full of old floor-fans,
unplugged, unsteady, undone,
free whirling like kids' pinwheels
in a last fresh breeze--
What a way to go!
I do hope you can feel the air circulating around those companion poems, one for adults and one for kids, and around you! Our host today is Molly over at Nix the Comfort Zone--enjoy summer ten times with her!


  1. First, thanks! I love a good reminder full of facts every now and again. And, wow to the first and second poems and how they work together. I'll be thinking about these lines all day, "free whirling like kids' pinwheels" and, "every birth is premature." Great post, Heidi.

  2. I loved breezing through your post today, Heidi. Thanks for all the information. My husband likes frigid temps while I am more inclined to fill my house with moderate temps but this summer is a HOT one in VA. I do love this line "in the suffocating heat of summer" for it is REAL. Your 2nd poem was a real find, "stacked full of old floor-fans". The ending is great.

  3. I have to admit I love the Firefly July poem find for its perspective on thrown away fans. I needed your environmental reminder. I've gotten too complacent in the heat. No need for the windows to sweat instead of me.

  4. So much truth in both poems.

  5. It's always good to be reminded to zoom out and take a look at how our habits are impacting the planet. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for the reminders, Heidi. Your poem pairing is fascinating. I always learn something when I consider your choices. "In this world every birth is premature" is a heck of a line! I also love "In Passing" which I shared with my class this past spring. I'm in VT and it's quite hot here--no AC, but I just stimulated the local economy by buying a sundress. Another alternative...

  7. Thanks for the PSA. During the outrageous heat wave in Portland, that our electric company hosted three opportunities for saving electricity (5-8 PM). You could earn rebates based on the reduction of electrical use. We were able to save a cumulative $10+ by not have the AC on. We use a fan and try to limit the AC, I am not a husge fan of the AC. I like the pairing of the poems.

    This line might be a poem spark: "to know what it’s like to be in love."

  8. Hi Heidi! Thanks for sharing these thoughts and poems with us. I've re-read Dobby's several times (his name sounds familiar...I wondered if I had posted something by him but can't find anything). I decided in May to post on the same topic every Thursday. I probably should have decided to do it every third Thursday!

  9. It makes total sense that on Poetry Friday that not only the writers but also the poems themselves start talking to each other: there's another poem (by Tabatha Yeatts) with phones on Reflections on the Bayou Teche. Serendipitous for us readers!

  10. Heidi, thank you so much for the very specific ways to cut back on summertime cooling electricity usage. I enjoyed the poems you shared. I can picture that junk truck full of old fans and these lines are a perfect ending to their useful lives:
    "free whirling like kids' pinwheels
    in a last fresh breeze--
    What a way to go!"

  11. Thank you for the energy usage info, Heidi. We use our AC as little as possible and rely on our strategically placed fans to keep us cool. Right now, though, I have a lovely "fresh breeze" keeping me cool. Firefly July is one of my all-time favorite anthologies. The melancholy of the first poem (is it melancholy, or am I just projecting?)fits my mood this morning after news of the death of a dear family friend.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!