But when I discussed teachers who are advocating for A/C in the classroom (and a Premier who agrees with them), my grade tens were keen enough to pick up on the irony of it all, on the paradox created. Our excessive use of fossil fuels (and factory farms) has increased the global temperature such that we're seeing hotter summers, and we can expect them to increase in intensity in the years following. And this solution of adding A/C to all the schools will make the privileged few more comfortable in the short term, but it will actually exacerbate the problem for the many and around the world.
It's worse than a band-aid solution. A better analogy might be to rip the crap out of a mosquito bite (which we can also expect more of) to get some immediate relief and then put a band-aid on the bloody mess we created, which still itches but now it hurts too. It's a self-wounding-band-aid solution.
There are some immediate solutions that use less energy. I gave up time instead of money and went to school shortly after six every morning to open my classroom windows and those of the room across the hall to blow out the hot air. I tried to convince the custodians to turn off half the hall lights (emergency lighting only), but I got nowhere on that one. There are also more innovative solutions like running a fan through a cooler full of ice. You still have to make the ice block, but that might not take significantly more energy if there's room in your freezer for a large tupperware container (or old milk carton) of water.
But this attitude has to change dramatically if we're going to get out of this alive. Everything will have to shift to acclimatize to the new normals in temperature. Some teachers are asking to be allowed to dismiss students on very hot days. That could be a nightmare for working parents having to pick up kids suddenly, but perhaps we could allow siestas during particularly hot afternoons. It might be the case that we really utilize a daylight-savings-type system where schools start a couple hours earlier from late May to early October. Or maybe, once students all have their own computers that they carry back and forth to school, classrooms could keep their windows open at night without fear of computers being stolen. The schools are all alarmed anyway.
My point is that we can't keep looking at old solutions that are part of the problem to fix this situation. We have to develop more innovated strategies. And part of that is just getting used to it - just plain adapting to our changing environment. People who don't have A/C in their homes have an easier time in hot schools and outside because their bodies have been able to get used to the change. See here and here: "People who spend a great deal of time outdoors become 'outdoor acclimatized.' These persons are affected less by heat or cold extremes because their bodies have adjusted to the outdoor environments." And here: "It takes one to two hours a day in hot temperatures to acclimate properly. You don't feel the stress of the heat. You feel more comfortable."
The more we add A/C everywhere, the more we'll need A/C to cope. We're starting down a spiral that will keep us unable to manage in the outdoors. Out of all possible solutions for the sticky mess we wade through at the beginning and end of each school year, adding air conditioning to schools is the worse.