Green Living in Summer

Summertime and the Living Is EasySummer, 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.

July produce
Some of the seasonal fruits and vegetables available in New York in July.

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4 Responses to Green Living in Summer

  1. Terri Bea July 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    In reference to drying clothes on a line . . . keep your clothesline for winter . . . when the humidity from drying garments will be welcome in the dry heated air in the home.

  2. Patti J July 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I live in the tippy top north coast of California and when the rest of the nation is experiencing heat we are in chilly fog! But the clothes still dry on the line (it just takes longer and you need to pull them in way before sunset). My favorite part is that my Solar Oven works in the fog too, again it just takes longer. Solar Ovens are easy to use and magnificent. I would like to suggest to you, and your readers, if you don’t have a solar oven then invest – it is completely sustainably worth it! You can cook cakes and cookies, casseroles, anything, without heating up the kitchen by turning on the oven AND it uses only the sun. Summer is meant for solar cooking :)

  3. Barbara July 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

    After I cook summer’s bounty (corn, beans,etc.), I ‘m sure to then pour the boiling water on my walkway as a non-toxic way to keep the weeds away.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Green Living in Summer « Environmental News Bits - July 29, 2011

    [...] Read the full post at This Green Life. 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. [...]