Keeping cool should be priority
The use of air conditioners produces greenhouse gases. Environmental groups suggest people turn on their air conditioners only when it's 28 degrees Celsius or above. They have a good point. But students' health should also be taken into consideration.
In my classroom, for example, students have been suffering health problems, such as fainting and respiratory diseases, due to poor ventilation. We cannot concentrate because it is so hot.
The environment is important, but so is students' health.
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Pearl. In places like Hong Kong, we tend to become dependent on our air conditioners. In public places such as cinemas and shopping malls, the air is always fresh and cool - even when it's (relatively) cold outside.
But the fact is that it is hot in Hong Kong for several months of the year, and being too hot can be dangerous.
I think there is more to this issue than simply whether or not the air conditioning should be turned on. Although most Hong Kong students have grown up with hot summers, many of them do not know how to protect themselves from rising temperatures.
For example, many young people do not drink enough liquids, so the body doesn't have enough fluid to create sweat and naturally cool you down. There is also a curious habit, especially among teenage girls, of leaving on jumpers and cardigans, even when it's hot. This can cause the body to overheat, leading to dehydration and sometimes fainting.
Instead of just expecting the cold air to be switched on the moment the weather heats up, why not suggest that your school board looks into installing water fountains and ceiling fans in classrooms? Fans use a lot less energy to cool a room, and having water on hand would also keep body temperatures down.
While of course your health should never be at risk, we must work to find cooling solutions that are healthy for people as well as the planet.
Karly, Deputy Editor