10 Enviro Tips to Keep Cool this Summer

With summer now here in full swing, so too is the heat!

With the emerging realization amongst people that our summers are now hotter and more severe than they used to be, people everywhere are looking for ways to keep cool.  However since part of our ongoing heat problems relate to issues such as climate change and global warming, it would seem counter-intuitive to stay cool by employing tactics that only make the problem worse.

With that in mind, here are a list of  10 Enviro tips that will both help to keep you cool while being eco-friendly at the same time.

LIGHTEN UP:

While that dark suit may look distinguished and that little black dress is just so ooh-la-la, neither will be of any big help staying cool.  Dark colours absorb heat while light colours reflect.  Also try to wear loose fitting clothing to allow for breathability and don’t trap heat close to your body.

HYDRATE:

It seems pretty basic but we need to keep hydrating ourselves with water to replenish what our bodies loose when we sweat.  Water really is best here since caffienated or alcoholic drinks can act as a diuretic and pull water from your body as opposed to replenish it.  Sugary drinks don’t work as well either due to the energy they provide.  It’s also very important from an eco-friendly standpoint to avoid bottled water.  The world used over 26 Billion plastic water bottles in 2008, and many of them don’t find their way to the recycling bin.  Drink tap or filtered water in a reusable water container instead of running to the store to buy water contained in plastic.

COOL YOUR PULSE POINTS:

People around the world know the power of controlling pulse points, and so should you. Ever notice how people living in the Sahara usually have scarves around their necks?  Well there’s a reason for that besides guarding against the sun. The neck, along with wrists, the tops of the feet, inner ankles, inner thighs and the temple on the head, are all pressure points. Theses areas, when cooled, relay that sensation throughout the entire body. Focusing attention on these small areas can bring down the body’s temperature. Use moistened handkerchiefs, scarves or even ice cubes held on these points to chill out in even the hottest deserts of the world.

EAT SPICY FOODS:

To some, this may seem counter-intuitive but spicy foods actually help to cool the body down.  There are a few reasons for this including the fact that spicy foods will help increase blood circulation which aids in cooling the body’s core temperature.  This is why so many tropical countries have spicy foods as a mainstay in their diets.

EMBRACE THE SHADE:

When you are outside, try to spend it in shaded areas as much as possible.  Planting trees around your home can provide for shade as well as increase the quality of air around it.  Also use blinds or drapes appropriately at home by keeping them closed during the hottest parts of the day.

OPEN YOUR WINDOWS:

Keeping the air circulating in your home will go a long way towards keeping it cool.  It’s important to remember that opening only one window won’t help as it won’t create air flow.  Open as many windows as you can and also take note of prevailing wind directions around your home so that you are assisting air flow as much as possible.

BE A FAN OF FANS

Fans use less energy than air conditioners do.  If you have a fan, try placing it directly into a window opening to help circulate cooler air.  You can also keep a pail of cool or ice water near a window  or in front of a fan to increase the cooling effect as well.  Keep in mind though that fans simply move air around, they do not cool air by themselves.  There is no need to keep a fan on whenever you are not at home.  It won’t cool things down but it will be a drain on energy.

CENTRAL AIR HAS MORE THAN ONE DOWNSIDE:

Not only do central air conditioners require a lot of energy to use, but they also have a tendency to decrease one’s tolerance to heat.  Just think about how dramatic it feels when you walk out from an air conditioned building into the heat and then think about how quickly you want to run right back inside.  If you use your air conditioner set it higher that you might think is necessary.  A thermostat set to 24 or 25 degrees celcius in the summer, when combined with smart usage of blinds and drapes will keep a house comfortable.

SLEEP OUTSIDE:

Who says camping is just for campsites?  Many of us have lots of money invested in tents, mattresses, sleeping bags, etc yet they stay packed away for all but a couple weeks a year.  Sleeping in your backyard in a tent or hammock can be fun and can offer more comfort than inside on a warm evening.

COOL SHOWERS:

Showers have a smaller eco-footprint than do baths.  Cold water uses less energy than hot water.  Take a cool shower and be sure to hit all the pulse points mentioned above.  If you are used to applying lotions after a shower, try using aloe vera lotions given the natural cooling properties that aloe very posesses.

 

There are plenty of ways to keep cool during the hottest of times without sacrificing many of the eco-friendly principles you believe in.  With a bit of thought and some proactive planning we all can get through the worst of the heat while keeping our environmental footprints as small as possible.

 

Eric Novak

About Eric Novak

Eric Novak is a father of 4 who also thinks that environmental stewardship is a requisite of parenting. He's not a professional Dad nor is he an environmental scientist, but he's someone who gives a damn and is trying to make the right decisions as he lives his life as a father, environmentalist and business owner. Eric and his wife Karen have 4 children and reside in Ajax, Ontario.