Feelin’ pretty cozy? Chances are you’re reading this blog post while inside conditioned space whose air temperature is being controlled by you or some other human. We typically move around from conditioned space to conditioned space: our car, home or place of work. We’ll go outside and travel through unconditioned space in order to gain access to our next managed, conditioned cocoon. Comfort zone to comfort zone, minimizing discomfort while in transition.
Comfort drives so much of what we choose to do and where we choose to be, doesn’t it? And these choices typically disconnect us, to varying degrees, from the natural, unconditioned world; from outside. Most of us go outside so as to get back inside, conditioned and comfy.
What a bind we’re in! If the temperature of the room or car you’re in right now is achieved by burning carbon, then unconditioned space – Mother Nature – suffers some in order to furnish you with your conditioned space. Reminds me of an anonymous quotation I dare not put on our readerboard on Northwest Avenue:
Plants and animals die to make room for your fat ass!
The thing is, our physical, conditioned places condition our mental spaces as well. When you’re hangin’ out in a dark, dreary room free of plants and natural light, it sure is difficult to feel at one with the natural world! So the physical spaces within which we reside help determine the mental spaces within which we reside!
Ultimately, then, it’s important to pick our places carefully. Know that plants and animals will probably suffer to the degree your comfort is derived from environmentally-unfriendly products and processes. And know that your mental health will probably suffer to the degree that your built environment is derived from unnatural settings, disconnected from nature.
It’s no wonder I’m so driven to be outside; to challenge my body; to have the skills and gear that allow me to remain comfortable inside less-than-comfy, conditioned space, or outside of conditioned space, or in the wilderness. I’m driven to find comfort in the uncomfortable; attached and connected to nature, free of a conditioned cocoon. Concurrently I’m then minimizing the environmental damage of my actions by not needing a cocoon, or the comforting heat, and my mind is free to roam, unencumbered by the cognitive dissonance of hurting Mother Nature while staying warm.
If you’re concerned about the state of our natural world, and you get this connection between your comfort and nature’s continued deterioration, then be very aware of how you achieve your comfort. Know the consequences of your actions. Staying warm, done wrong, overheats the planet. Damn. We’ve learned this lesson, Mr. Gore, and it’s time to change our ways.
Find comfort with solar energy and wind power; find comfort with smaller spaces; find comfort with wearing sweaters and down booties; find comfort grabbing a hat instead of the thermostat.
Find comfort while treating Mother well. We now know how.
If we’re going to succeed in turning environmental degradation around, my comfort cannot be achieved by imposing a climate emergency upon you. And your comfort should not create my emergency. There’s one planet; it’s one spaceship; we’re all crew, and there are no passengers.
Condition your space well.