Keep cool. Warmer temperatures mean using the air conditioner more. Cut back with other ways to stay cool. I’m a big fan of fans. I have one in each room and they keep my place surprising cool with the air circulation. Or as Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) executive director, Ted Ning suggests, “Open windows in the morning and on the opposite sides of the room to allow a natural flow of coolness and moisture through your home.”
Also try insulating window treatments such as glass films and heat reflecting drapes to reduce the amount of warmth that comes in. If your property allows it, consider solar panels. I recently discovered solar shutters that absorb that sunshine and put it on your energy grid! It’s a great solution for renters or condo owners.
Dress wisely. When shedding layers for lighter options, look for fashions made with organic cotton, which means it is produced on farms that use methods that have a low impact on the environment. Or instead of buying new, shop your closet for items you’ve forgotten about. I also wear a lot of vintage fashion – the ultimate reuse clothing. I love the styles from eras past and each piece is one of a kind, which definitely adds some personality to my wardrobe.
Eat smart. Yum, fresh juicy summer fruits are a delight of summer – but harmful pesticides do not sound tasty. Know what you’re biting into – each piece of produce in your grocery store has a sticker with a code on it. Go for “fine number 9,” which means the fruit is organically grown. A code that starts with 4 means it is conventionally grown – and sprayed. You’ll probably find more organic choices at a farmer’s market, which also helps you keep it local, and it’s a great day out! Eco lifestyle expert and author of “The Conscious Kitchen,” Alexandra Zissu offers this suggestion, “Talk to farmers and ask what they use to spray. Some use Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which is almost as good as organic. Another good resource is the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists to find out which fruits contain the least amount of pesticide residues.”
Protect your skin. A few minutes of sun is good for Vitamin D but more than that and the sun’s UV rays can damage skin. That means wrinkles and skin cancer – yuck! To keep skin beautiful and youthful, be sure to have some fresh sunscreen on hand and just like the food you eat, read the ingredient labels. According to LOHA’s Ning, “Some some sunscreens can contribute to cancer due to their mutagenic and free radical generating properties. Zinc oxide is a mineral that provides complete UVB/UVA protection.” Some green sunscreens options include Kabana, Coola and MyChelle. If you really want a tan, opt for a sunless tanning lotion. Lavera makes an organic, award-winning self tanner.
Vacation time! Summer is a great time to getaway but transportation can put a big dent in your carbon footprint. I love taking a “staycation” and just being at home, seeing friends and catching up on much-needed sleep. When you do travel, pick destinations that are walkable or check listings for cab companies that use hybrid vehicles. Hotels are also becoming more socially responsible. Orbitz has listings for eco-friendly options. If you find yourself being quite the jet-setter, CabonFund provides a way to calculate your carbon offset and donate to your choice of carbon-reducing projects.
So enjoy your summer, be healthy and do the same for the planet.
Photo of Malibu beach from Wikimedia CommonsAlexandra Zissu, CabonFund, Coola, Environmental Working Group, green, green summer, Integrated pest management, Kabana, Kastle Waserman, Lavera, Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, LOHAS, MyChelle, Orbitz, solar shutters, Stiletto City, Sunless tanning, Sunscreen, Sustainability, Ted Ning, The Conscious Kitchen