Humans originated in Africa. We then spread across world to occupy and now occupy almost every landmass. Even in impossibly inhospitable conditions. We not only survive in these places, we thrive there. We’ve adapted to environments, be they frozen or bone dry. Our success in doing so is due to our ability to adapt to our surroundings and, where necessary, adapt our surroundings to suit us by changing their environment.
In Australia about half of the population own an air conditioner. It has been known for tourists to die when walking to nearest settlements for help when their cars have broken down. However, Australia is a beautiful place to visit and air conditioning allows for people not used to the temperatures to visit the hottest areas free of worry.
Tourists flock to America’s Death Valley each year. Its name derives from the misfortunes suffered by the first people to inhabit the area. However, it is an area of miles of wonderful sand dunes, rocks and canyons, inhabited by a wide range of wildlife and boasting unique salt evaporation features. Its land slopes from a height of 1km above to 86 metres below sea level and it’s this depression that leads to temperatures rising over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. An incredible place to visit, but definitely not without air-conditioning.
Dubai, is an area in the Arabian Peninsula whose main revenues are from from real estate, tourism and financial services. Its recent construction boom would not have occurred without the omnipresence of air conditioning. The modern builds make it a lot easier to stay in Dubai compared to the older parts of town which lacks the modern amenity. Without air conditioning Dubai would not be the attractive retreat for the famous and wealthy who buy up its real estate.
Antarctica was the last great wilderness for humans as it is one of the most inhospitable places in the world. However, scientists now live for months on end at research stations there and tourists can visit the barren yet beautiful region. Without temperature control at the research centres and buildings this would not be possible. Tourists are only allowed onshore at certain times and are never unescorted. This is primarily in the interest of conservation, but also because people unprepared for the Antarctic environment would not survive very long.
While we don’t need air con to survive it makes our lives a lot more pleasant and allows us to explore and live in areas that would otherwise be a lot less attractive.