What Happens When a Vegan Meets a Vegetarian Environmentalist?

They get engaged and it gets hot. Really f*!#ing hot. It’s not what you think.

I may not be using it, but I’m certainly not ready to find a new home for it either.

Environmentalists don’t like air conditioning. I like A/C a lot. So do my cats. It makes my life comfortable. I don’t like to sit in my living room and sweat — while doing absolutely nothing. That’s what I’m doing right now. Sweat is dripping down my chest and I’m barely moving. My feet feel like they are on fire.  Too much movement makes it worse. If I lie really still on the bed with the fan on over head, I can handle it. Doesn’t make for a productive citizen of the world though.

As I write this, I have a very powerful window unit sitting in the basement calling my name or rather shouting, “install me, damn it!” It’s taken all my power of restraint not to do so. (Not to mention that it’s pretty heavy.) I haven’t given up air conditioning without a fight. We have a small cooling unit installed in the bedroom. I have used it exactly eight times this summer. I would use it more but it makes the environmentalist in the house grouchy.

Ah, the breeze on my face feels good!

I’m not putting up with the heat because I love my fiance (although I do) nor because artificial cooling is a major cause of climate change (it is). I am open to this change because I practice yoga.

As mammals, we are homeostatic. That means we maintain certain constant balances within our bodies, temperature for example, by adapting to change and challenge in the environment. Strength and flexibility allow us to keep an inner balance, but man is trying more and more to dominate the environment rather than control himself. Central heating, air conditioning, cars that we take out to drive three hundred yards, towns that stay lit up all night, and food imported from around the world out of season are all examples of how we try to circumvent our duty to adapt to nature and instead force nature to adapt to us. In the process,  we become both weak and brittle. Even many of my Indian students who all now sit on chairs in their homes are becoming too stiff to sit in lotus position easily. ~B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

I read this years ago and it stuck in my mind. I want to remain strong and flexible. I have tried giving up air conditioning before, but always gave in as soon as I became uncomfortable. This summer I have noticed that the more I live without air conditioning, the easier it becomes. In fact, my body is adjusting and 85 degrees is quite comfortable now. But still, 95+ degrees is really not and I dread trying to sleep tonight. I’m certain it’s going to take a long time to let this go, but I’m keeping an open mind — as best I can.

We don’t use the air conditioner because it makes it too hot outside. ~Anonymous apartment resident in Losing Our Cool

In case I made you hot reading this blog post, think about winter.

So what does this have to do with veganism?

Yoga helps with change. If you want to switch to a vegan diet, practice yoga. It may make the transition easier. Practicing yoga will teach you to stay present to what’s happening in your life — on and off the mat. You will be less likely to throw in the towel when it gets uncomfortable — because it will. It’s also a good teacher for learning to be patient and honest with yourself. Yoga has served me well and is worth the effort.

Want to learn more about how air conditioning is changing our world?