Five Earth-Friendly Ways to Stay Cool This Summer
As the temperature soars, so does our impact on the Earth and it’s resources, what with increased power and water consumption. Electricity bills can run high to meet air conditioning and refrigeration needs and this exerts a greater strain on the environment, particularly in the long run.
Scientists have confirmed increasing global temperatures and climate change will orchestrate devastating impact on the planet in the coming years. If we want to secure a healthy and sustainable future for our children, it’s imperative for each one of us to take ownership of the problem and commit to making changes. Remember, even seemingly small measures do in fact add up and make a difference in the long run. So this summer, in honour of Earth Day (April 22nd), let’s show some love to the planet and try these environmentally responsible ways of staying cool, now and in the future:
Eat cooling foods and stay hydrated
The best and easiest way to stay cool is by eating delicious summery foods that help cool down your body naturally. Buy fresh local produce that is in season and opt for more salads, raw dishes, and no cook recipes. This will also reduce heat in the kitchen! Raw foods like cucumber and watermelon, as well as herbs like mint have an inherent cooling nature. Juice them up into delicious green smoothies that replenish your body with fluids to keep you hydrated and vitalised through the energy-sapping summer months.
Remember to drink plenty of water to ensure perspiration which will help keep your core body temperature down. Ultra-hydrating drinks include water, herbal teas and natural juices. Coconut water is especially good to replenish electrolytes.
While keeping hydrated, remember to be extra cautious to not waste water though. It is an increasingly precious resource, so make sure to use any “leftover water” to give to your pets or plants or any other suitable uses you can think of.
Clothing can play a big role in how hot or cold you feel. Wearing white and other light colors will help you keep away the heat, as will breathable fabrics like cotton. Avoid synthetic fabrics like nylon and spandex, and opt for free-flowing, pastel linens in the summer months. Also opt for cotton bedding and avoid higher thread count sheets as they tend to be much warmer than lower than those with lower thread counts.
Try this age-old natural trick
People living in the Sahara desert cover their necks with scarves not only to guard themselves against the sun, but also because the neck contains vital pulse points. With temperatures crossing 45 degrees centigrade, Ahmedabad is not too far from desert conditions!
Pulse points are areas on the body where you can feel your pulse because your blood vessels are close to the surface of your skin. Because they are so close, you can cool off your blood and body temperature by getting the area in contact with cool water.
Pulse points include your neck, wrists, ankles, inside of the knees and elbows, inner thighs, temples and forehead Keeping these areas cool through the use of wet handkerchiefs, ice cubes, or water can bring down your body temperature and relay the cool sensation to the rest of your body too. So go ahead and give this age-old trick a try to beat the summer heat.
Unplug & take advantage of public spaces
This summer, why not make a personal commitment to unplug more and reconnect with family and friends. Declare your independence from technology and you’ll subsequently save on electricity costs of constantly charging multiple gadgets. Instead of scrolling through social media every morning, take advantage of the sunlight and practice some yoga or exercise before the heat settles in for the day. Early morning sunlight is also the safest way to get your daily Vitamin D intake without exposing yourself to the harsher rays during the rest of the day. Think of ways to better enjoy nature despite the weather such as weekend hiking trips, evening walks or swimming sessions. Invite your family to join you to make it quality family time! Needless to say, stay safe in the sun using cotton scarves, hats or umbrellas, along with sunscreen lotion.
If you absolutely must cool off in an air-conditioned environment, then choose a public spaces such as malls, libraries, and cafes. These public spaces cool many people down at one time, which is less harmful to the environment than individual families using multiple air conditioners in their own homes.
It’s the same concept as carpooling, which is an excellent alternative to driving your own private vehicle to work everyday. Pooled cab services are also a great option for commuting to work. Even though it may not seem like much, the long-term effects of these green practices are considerable.
Most importantly, remember to switch off lights and electrical appliances whenever they’re not required!
Make friends with plants
If you prefer staying indoors, liven up your space with indoor plants which act as living air purifiers and help fight indoor air pollution – an issue which is often worse than most of us realise. Plants have also been known to enhance mood and serve as beautiful decor elements.
If you have a garden, backyard or porch, plant some native species to provide a habitat for beautiful butterflies and birds. You could also grow some fresh fruits and vegetables which will be safer and tastier than store-bought ones. Many simple D-I-Y gardening tutorials are available on the internet so make the most of the resources you have on hand!