Thursday, October 2, 2014


I remember when I was a small child my mother and my grandmother cooking in the kitchen on a wood burning stove. They had to first build a fire, let it die back a bit, and then proceed to cook whatever they were preparing. They did this in the winter and they did this in the hot, steamy summer. This was in the south and let me tell you we did have hot, steamy summers. Oh, and we didn’t have an air conditioner. Nobody had an air conditioner. I remember small fans which were used to blow the hot air from one room to another. At that time, some sixty plus years ago, what I just described was commonplace.

We also didn’t have a refrigerator. We had an icebox. The iceman would come and deliver ice which sort of kept our food cold for a time. Spoilage was quite common. In fact food poisoning was a regular occurrence.

Time and chemistry changed all that. Today virtually all new homes and cars have air conditioning. Everybody has a refrigerator. Everybody has a range and oven. Almost everybody has a freezer to preserve food and to make their own ice. While food poisoning still happens, it is far less common.

My mother and my grandmother, as well as most of their peers, aged before their time. Their toils and labor just being homemakers were life shortening experiences. Back then a fifty year old woman was old.

Look at today. People, especially women, in their sixties and seventies are vibrant and alive. Seventy is the new fifty. All people are living longer, healthier, more comfortable lives. I believe a lot of this is because of refrigeration. Refrigerating the air we breathe and the food we eat. We have come a long way and it is good.

Here is the point of all this. Some in the so-called “scientific community” have apparently decided that the refrigerants we are now using are harmful to the atmosphere. It started with Freon. They didn’t like that so it got eliminated. Now they are after the chemicals which replaced Freon. It was just announced that some world leaders, whatever that means, are getting together to try and ban many of the chemicals that we use to cool our air and our food. I wonder what they have in mind to replace them. Some skeptics among us believe that somewhere in the wings is a chemical company which stands to make billions with the next big chemical and that many of these “leaders” will be in for big money themselves. Oh, and the cost to the consumer will skyrocket. Tsk, tsk. Why would anyone be that skeptical?

This is what I know for sure. People, all people, are living longer more comfortable lives because of many things but certain among them are refrigerated air and food.

As a child, if I wanted to experience air conditioning, I had to go the movies. For some reason, in those days, theaters had air conditioning. It was, in a word, heavenly. If I wanted a cold drink, I chipped a shard of ice off of the block in the icebox and chilled my drink. But there was no respite for my mother and my grandmother. They still had to build their fires and cook over that hot stove. We all took it for granted and never really appreciated what they went through for the family, and because of their sacrifice, they aged before their time. Look at how much better our lives are today through chemistry.

Ron Scarbro

No comments: