As I write these lines, the day outside is quite a scorcher at 105°F… and it’s barely 9 AM. The jungle is sweltering, releasing tons of moisture into the air with every passing minute. The sunrise was particularly spectacular, with blood-red hues splashed all over the sky and streaked with golden clouds; it promised to become a very hot day, probably reaching the 110s or maybe even the 120s.
However, inside my little house the temperature is a comfortable 72°F. In fact, after so many years living in the jungle and getting used to the local climate, I find that temperature a bit chilly for my liking. I may even need to wear a sweater to avoid getting a case of the sniffles. I can almost hear a few of your mental gears grinding away the following question: “Why don’t lower the thermostat of your air conditioner, dude?”
Well, I’d love to… but the problem is the room temperature has been achieved by natural means; I have no air conditioning system. Well, I have one, but it’s busted since 2005.
How’s that possible?
By means of generating a micro-climate in this place. When I bought the house, I knew what I was getting into. The heat on the day I came here to check the property was oppressing; I could feel the beats of my heart pulsing against my temples, I couldn’t breathe and even less swallow my own spit. I was on the verge of a heat stroke.
As soon as I moved here, I began to alter the micro-climate at least in terms of projected shade; I planted two jabillos trees right in front of my house, a mango tree on the easternmost side and three extra trees behind it, two mangos and an avocado tree. I calculated the way their treetops would project shade all over my house in another decade or two and acted accordingly.
Of course, this wasn’t enough. The original façade of the house was an ugly red brick and mortar surface, which I promptly had covered with stucco to increment its heat insulation. As an extra measure, I had the walls painted white and the floor covered in white porcelain tiles. This last thing, besides from adding to the general feel of coolness, had the secondary effect of making the tiny, itsy bitsy spidery rooms look a little larger. It’s a nice optical illusion, folks. It takes away from the impression of living inside a matchbox.
I constantly hear my online friends complaining about the local weather; I frequently ask them the layout of trees around their homes… and I see the err of their ways. A few have too many trees planted, and those in wrong ways… but mostly they don’t have enough trees about, which just adds to their problem. A nice row of tress planted in the right place could refresh their properties during the harsh summer… and another set of them could break the wind during the winter, helping them to save a few bucks in heating oil. And if a few of those trees were oranges, peaches or apples, they could easily contribute to their food budget.
Do I ever suggest these things to my online friends? Nope. They won’t listen. I learned it the hard way. During my idealistic phase of using the Internet, I quickly realized that they, like every one else who’s a member of the human race, is blind and deaf to the best of reasons. Some argued that it’d break some absurd local law; others only saw the implicit work involved in raking leaves during the fall…. A few others would go: “Nooo! Canker! Canker! Can’t have orange trees ‘cause of the canker scare!!!”.
Well, I gave up long time ago. Meanwhile, I live comfortably at 72°F without spending a penny in electric power while others need pay top dollars to have their ACs at full blast to achieve that same effect.
Excuse me; I’ll go to the kitchen and grab a few bananas and have a shake made of freshly harvested mangoes.