This year, we asked for your help in nominating and then selecting a Brave Thinker. Among the scores of candidates submitted, Stan Cox received the most votes from readers of TheAtlantic.com.
As global warming heats up the planet, who could be opposed to air-conditioning, an invention that has shaped our culture in the name of keeping us comfortable? In his book, Losing Our Cool, Cox takes a strong stand against it: the widespread use of air-conditioning, he argues, not only damages our health by spreading microbes and unbalancing our hormones, but also intensifies the very problem it’s supposed to solve. “The hotter summers get, the more we become dependent on air-conditioning, and the more of it we use,” he told me, “which ensures that summers will be even hotter.” If Cox is right, you’d better turn off your A/C and open your windows, before it’s too late.