Summer, in a temperate climate, lends itself to a more natural, less energy-intensive way of living, as I explain in my July column for NRDC, Summertime and Green Living is Easy. (In hotter regions, make that “spring and fall.”) The key is working with the weather, not fighting it.
Don’t insist on the same habits you use when the cold wind blows. They don’t make sense on a sultry day. For instance, using a dryer would heat up the house — the last thing you’d want! Air dry your clothes instead. It takes no time, even inside. Ditto for dishes. Use the sunshine instead of the lights to read by and keep your showers cool and bracing.
Ignore the stove. Cool meals are what your body craves. Heavy, meat-based foods? Fuggedaboutit! The hotter it gets, the more you want a light meal — made with local fruits and vegetables. The variety in summer is amazing. Buy them at a local farmer’s market if possible. The flavor will top anything you can get at the store.
That’s the way to live more sustainably and beat the heat at once.
Of course, summer has its pitfalls for would-be green livers, too — especially the tendency to turn on the air conditioning as soon as temperatures begin to rise. In a heat wave, that shouldn’t be your first concern; use the a/c for your health and safety if fans aren’t enough. But on normally hot summer days (outside the torrid zones), try natural cooling techniques. They’ve worked for centuries and still work today for those in the know. For guidance on natural cooling and other low-impact summer practices, see my column on NRDC.
Some of the seasonal fruits and vegetables available in New York in July.