I think we should discuss what must be on everybody’s mind these days: the record breaking heat! Let’s face it, it’s been HOT pretty much across the northern hemisphere. Those of us with air conditioning dread our utility bills and those without dread the rising of the sun each day. In south central Texas, the mercury topped 100 degrees before the first of June, which is very unusual. Add to that the record drought most of the US has felt in recent years and it’s small wonder that the western third of the nation is on fire, even while the eastern third is getting hammered by storms, tropical and otherwise. And it isn’t going to get cooler any time soon.

Now I could note that 3,215 temperature records were met or set in June in the United States. Or I could lament the fact that climate change deniers who lack degrees in science are given just as much credibility (or in many cases more) as are those who tell us that climate change is both real and anthropogenic in nature, some of whom have been working in this field for decades as Bill Nye pointed out to a CNN host just recently. I could even threaten the non political tradition of Pull Up a Chair by expounding on my frustration that concern about climate change is dropping across the board, largely led by conservatives.

But that is not my purpose. I want to be a little more practical and non-partisan and discuss what each of us can do, should do, or have done to address the heat. I really can’t afford to have my utility bill skyrocket so I’m trying to use less hot water, fewer lights, and I’m keeping the thermostat set at 85 degrees. Kitty Kuroneko prefers it warmer and she has the cool spot under the sink to curl up in need be, and I cool down by putting one of those frozen gel packs (usually used for camping) against my neck if I’m just sitting and reading or I keep it (covered) against one thigh while at the computer. I have never tried this method before but it seems to be a much more efficient use of electricity than cooling all the air around me is. My blood circulates and cools when running under the ice pack and then goes on to cool the rest of my body. I use a ceiling fan at night over my bed and just cover up with a light sheet. During the day I keep the blinds drawn and the windows closed to keep radiant energy down to a minimum. So far I’ve managed to keep my utility bill under control, but the big months are coming up.

Maybe some or all of you have used some or all of these methods to keep your cool as inexpensively as possible, or maybe some of these haven’t occurred to you and you might find them helpful. Please share what has or has not worked for you in regulating your temperature, both indoors and out, and perhaps all of us can then survive this brutal summer both unroasted and financially intact!