Cities aren’t loud, cars and air conditioners are

July 24, 2022 by Joshua
in Nature

In February I posted Cities aren’t loud, cars are, partly to promote the wonderful video channel Not Just Bikes. I recommend listening to the host, Jason Slaughter, on my podcast, then watching all his videos. While I could have promoted any of his videos to start with, I started with his video showing how much of noise in cities comes from cars (and even more from motorcycles).

Well, it’s late July in New York City. I don’t think I’ve turned on my air conditioner in years, but I think nearly everyone else does. To be clear, I’ve worked several hours a day for several days each of the past few weeks in NYU buildings, but I spend more time at home and don’t use the air conditioner.

A couple weeks ago, before the weather hit the 90s F (mid-30s C), when I said I wasn’t using the air conditioner or even a fan because of my off-grid experiment, that person asked how I could handle the heat. I felt like warmer days were still to come by then it wasn’t that bad yet. It hadn’t occurred to me that someone who turned on the air conditioner at the slightest hint of summer would have been conditioning their air every night since.

Strike that last comment. Of course I knew because of the noise I’ve heard 24/7 since mid-May of, as best I can tell, all the air conditioners of everyone on my block. I leave my window wide open for what breeze I can get, which means I can’t block the noise. I suspect all of them don’t worry about the noise they cause since they’ll figure everyone else will close their windows to keep their cold in and block the noise in the process.

So far we’ve only hit about 95 F (35 C) during the day and significantly cooler in the evening. Nearly everyone leaves on all their air conditioners all the time. Yes, there are a lot more degrees higher than the mid-90s, but we haven’t hit them yet this year and all the energy pollutes.

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