Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Land of the Rising Temperature
Japan has been a relatively environmentally sensitive country for as long as I can remember...well, at least in some areas. They're not the most river friendly, coating every river with a nice cement bank so that it won't leave its path, but they are really recycling friendly, trying to recycle everything possible before burning the rest. Some of this is a result of the culture, where, as the old saying goes, "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down," Conformity is the culture and they have used that to their advantage. Take a story from this morning's Journal for example. Instead of my favorite office/room temperature of somewhere between 70-72 degrees, they have a push to increase the temperature of trains, office buildings, and so on to 82 degrees. 82! That's the temperature it's supposed to be in Washington today and I have to say that after being in a long sleeved shirt and suit coat outside in the heat and humidity that I would die. Well, not die, but certainly want to die. It was heaven to come back to my hotel room and change into shorts and a golf shirt. My arms and legs were free from the heat, even though it was a lightweight summer suit. I know that I'm a temperature wuss and would never have made it through the days where you had to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants in stifling hot muggy weather, and that was just the way it was. When I biked around Japan for a couple of years the only thing that made it bearable was my giant 1.5 liter of frozen ice that gradually turned into ice water throughout the day, with a mid-afternoon swap for another. Sometimes environmental programs can go too far, and this is one of those instances. If I was one of those workers, I'd support a kinetic floor (where people's steps translate into energy) or even little bicycle pedals underneath my desk to pedal to turn a turbine. That's environmentally friendly, and if it was my choice between that or 82 degrees, there's no question which one I'd pick.