A technology fromthe 19th century or earlier that cold help humanity respond to present-day environmental challenges would be a Yakhchāl. A Yakhchāl, as presented by Professor Stein is a Persian evaporative cooler designed in 400BCE. Despite the extremely hot a dry climate, this structure is oriented and designed to work as refrigeration system requiring no electricity.
This historically provides for human life by providing cooling properties for regions that are warm and are unable to store perishables and also provide cooling to structures. This can provide for humans in the present by serving as a natural and carbon free approach to cooling homes and buildings. This would be an example of mitigation to reduce consumptions of CO2 and reduce the contributions to climate change.
This integrates well with the larger ecosystem because it fits well in the urban landscape utilizing mud and water from aqueducts. It doesn’t require any artificial or toxic materials allowing it a small environmental footprint.
Potential issues with current levels of density and lack of craftsmanship would not allow for the Yakhchāl to be utilized. Additionally, our structures are probably much larger and have a larger cooling and chilling needs if this would feasible replace HVAC units. Lastly, this would only be able to thrive in few and limited climates and regions where such a structure could thrive which could be rapidly changing as a result of climate change. According to the Climate Vulnerability reading, mega cities are facing an increased rate of change and phenomena such as flooding and growth, which such a historical Bronze-Age technology might not be able to adapt to.
We can learn about materials, orientation, and techniques for evaporative cooling from the Yakhchāl, but current environmental changes may require something more dynamic and flexible.
Environmental Design 4B Lecture 3/7/2017. Professor Stein
3. Climate Vulnerability Reading by Andrew Schiller, Alex de Sherbinin, Wen-Hua Hsieh, Alex Pulsipher