view from our stoop earlier this eveningOf course, this breeze will tonight turn into hurricane force winds as Hurricane Earl comes blustering through Nova Scotia, first of the many hurricane season storms.
Wind was something I missed while living in Vernon BC. Nothing sounds the same as the wind passing through leaves, or the feeling of home when the wind makes the window panes whine and howl.
It's the heat that I cannot stand. This summer has had periods of hot, unusual for coastal Nova Scotia and this week gave us humidity of 40+ (celcius). Andrew and I do not have an air conditioner, only one lonely fan and three windows. Although tempting, we won't be getting one anytime soon.
Air conditioners are catastrophic polluters. Everywhere you look in the city you see the ugly boxes and huge contraptions suck huge amounts of energy as they give you the privilege of having cooler skin. Although most a/c's no longer have icky CFC's in them, their replacement isn't all that better. Many pump HCFCs into our air, which deplete the ozone layer and contribute to climate change through their coils. The "greener" alternative, HFCs are still considered a greenhouse gas.
A fan moving air across your skin will allow the sweat on your skin to dry and the body to cool itself. We've become so accustomed as a nation to feel cold all day, that coping in mid-twenties weather and using alternative means to cool our systems seems impossible. I'm not saying that a certain level of heat isn't dangerous, when you're elderly or a young child... or walking directly under the sun. But simply dealing with a week of heat a few times a year isn't worth the energy suckage and carbon emissions produced.
Sure, "cranky children" and "a bad night's sleep" aren't ideal... but then the reality is that neither of these things compare to destroying our climate. Sorry.
So, how to decrease you're addiction to the a/c?
1. Buy a fan. Fans use 90% less energy than a/c's and like I mentioned above, cool your body naturally. A few fans well placed can really make a huge difference. Especially at night.
2. Keep the window's wide open at night, allowing cool(er) air to flow through your home and shut your blinds and windows during the day. I was flabbergasted at how much cooler our apartment was the days this week that we kept the blinds and windows closed.
3. Drink a LOT of water. Seriously. Cool brita filtered water will immediately help cool off your body while hydrating your system with healing water. We really don't drink enough of it.
4. Make home made popsicles. We use smoothie juice with less sugar, but you can make your own smoothie mix from local fruits and berries. Now is the season!
5. Freeze your magic bag. Every night Andrew went to the freezer, took out his magic bag (cloth bag filled with beans) and used it to help fall asleep at night. Works like a charm.
6. Can't go cold turkey? For home systems turn your thermostat up to at least 26 degrees (celcius). Every half a degree below 25 degrees ups your energy consumption by 8%. Program your thermostat to start cooling only an hour before you get home from work.
7. Box a/c: try slowly adjusting the temperature each day to gradually get used to warmer indoor settings. Introduce a fan and start trying some of the alternative cooling strategies (like popsicles, yum!).
8. Reversible window fans are amazing at pulling the air and creating a much better cooling breeze!
9. Invest in non-hcfc air conditioners that are energy star- at least they use significantly less energy that conventional a/c's.
10. Check your coils- make sure that your a/c isn't leaking harmful ozone depleting chemicals into your home and planet's air.
For more fantastic tips check out "Ecoholic"; her website, or look into ordering her books (Ecoholic and Ecoholic Home).
Although Andrew would tell you right now that he would kill for an a/c, two weeks a year really isn't worth it for us. Even for the two years we lived in semi-arid Vernon BC, no a/c was had and we survived just fine.
Atreyu chillin' out on our floor- he might be warm but he still had the energy to go all "kitten" on me and attack my fingers. thank goodness he drinks about a cup of water a day. I heart that cat fountain.Now, my yoga practice and productivity (ahem, wedding is t-minus 5 weeks) definitely suffered this week. But then, Yoga will always welcome me "home" when I return :)
Safe wishes to all my Atlantic Eco-Yogi(ni)s out there! I'll be enjoying the powerful beauty of the Atlantic Wind.
article and photograph copyright of ecoyogini.blogspot.com