Sunday, 25 January 2015

Week 4: Honouring Nature in Air Conditioned Comfort.

As a group (I'm well aware this is a wild generalisation) Pagans like to think they're all about honouring Nature in all Her forms.  You know the images.  Dancing under a full moon. Dancing outside around a Maypole at Beltane.  Dancing through meadows as you pick flowers in Spring.  Dancing around a bonfire at...  Hmm... there is a lot of dancing here.  Let's change that to sitting around the bonfire at Winter Solstice.  Actually you probably need to dance to stay warm.

Regardless there is a lot of celebration outside in Nature.  Then there is the gardening with the moon, meditating in the woods, observing the changing seasons by celebrating when the last leaf falls or the first buds bloom.

Now I'm a Winter girl.  Always have been.  Introspection is my thing.  Darkness, cold weather, and hibernation.  I like big sweaters and heavy duvets on my bed.  Gloves on my fingers and scarves, oh do I own so many long, thick, woolen scarves. 

My problem is that right now it's hot.  Today the mercury rose well above 30 degrees Celsius and in some parts of the country I'm in (Australia) it went above 40. There are no scarves or gloves or thick comfy sweaters in my near future.  In fact it's so hot that even sitting relatively idle leads to uncomfortable sweating and stickiness so much so that like many I seek refuge under the cooling jets of an air conditioner.

I've just been wondering, how does using technology to artificially get around Nature's all too warming embrace during the Summer months, fall in the realm of honouring Her in all Her forms?  There are two issues I see.  Firstly the use of air conditioning is a use of electricity and with that, unless you're harnessing the power from a renewable source, you're wasting finite resources.  And secondly, by seeking to avoid the warmth (well sweltering heat is more like it) that She provides, are you  presuming that by having a Summer Solstice celebration of some sort you can still be honouring Nature, while thumbing your nose at Her by putting your comfort ahead of Her 'gifts'?  Are you saying you know better than Her when it comes to the correct temperature for the world to be?

On the other side of the coin are you of the opinion that we have been given free will and an inventive spirit so that we can make things and advance technology to where air conditioning is standard and that's also an example of us honouring Nature, because we, as humans are also a part of Nature.  By denying our gifts of knowledge and ingenuity, are we also choosing not to use gifts we have been given?

It's a trivial argument really and to be completely honest I don't know if I fall on either side, or if I care enough to actually find out where I stand.  Perhaps it's the heat that addled my brain before taking refuge in a nicely air conditioned room.  It's just I've been reading so many Facebook posts from friends and hearing people complain about how hot it is and how they love their fans/air conditioners/swimming pools that I wondered how seeking to adjust the natural temperature the world is (even though it's just your tiny portion of it), fits into honouring Nature.   

Any thoughts?

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