Thank you for your comment. Perhaps you have misread or I have been unclear. I made no judgments about the culture of Costa Rica, but shared impressions, and I certainly am not saying anything about overall approaches to climate change here. For the most part, I would agree that Americans could use a different approach to how we live, and I have written fairly extensively about that.

I was writing here about the ability of any place to handle extreme heat waves. I'm not talking about it being warm, but rather about killer heat--where the wet bulb temperature goes above the survivable level. This only has to happen for a few days, and when it does, I am sad to say that AC will be a survival tool no matter where in the world you are. Acclimating to a climate is critically important for the long term and can result in better strategies, as you point out. But surviving an extreme heat wave is a whole different matter.


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Dear Anthony,

I live in Costa Rica and have been living here and/or vacationing here since 2009. With all due respect, your month in Costa Rica is not enough time to make such judgments about the culture, lifestyle, infrastructure, - and how climate change will affect it.

I conclude that the United States should be learning from Costa Rica how to find alternatives to a dependence on air conditioning. Air conditioning creates more problems than it solves.

The increased extremes of heat (and cold) in the United States should be your focus: How can we build houses that are more in tune with nature's climate protections? Less concrete and more trees are the most obvious things Costa Ricans do to buffer temperature extremes. Large, shaded outdoor spaces, screen windows, open rafters that create air circulation, tile floors, no carpeting, on-demand water heaters and only cold water in the taps...I hope you begin to understand my point.

Costa Rica is not in trouble: The United States is.

We ticos do not need to learn from or imitate housing and lifestyle choices from the first world: the first world needs to learn from us. Stop building big box houses and cutting down all the trees. Stop building super-highways for more big cars:! Instead, build mass transit bus and train systems: less concrete will cool the earth. Get rid of central heating/air. All of those motors heat up the air and create the carbon emissions that are causing climate change.

With over 25% of the land mass in forest, this is another natural buffer to temperature extremes. And how about this: Learn to live in peace with other people so that more people can live in houses and thus reduce energy usage. The Caribbean region is not in trouble - it's Guanacaste that is too hot. Why? Because it has imitated the United States with cutting down trees, building big houses and malls, buying more cars, and using air conditioning. One word: Waste. I hope you will consider my point of view. Come back to Costa Rica, spend more time, listen and observe and imitate that.

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