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Rebel Without a Car – Stay Cool While Staying Safe and Sustainable

Staying cool

Summer is here. And global warming is here as well. It is tough sometimes to stay cool and at the same time conserve energy and be sustainable.

Before my son was born, it was easy to say that I’ll just “suffer” through the heat but he is a mini heat generator and he is constantly hot and sweating. Especially when we get into the hot car that has been sitting in the sun for hours. Ugh! 

Keeping the rental car cool has been the biggest challenge for me. When we drive somewhere I try to find parking under trees or shade from a building. Oftentimes the sun has moved by the time we get back to the car, so now I’m also looking at how the sun moves and what direction the car faces so his seat won’t be directly in the sun. I also throw a cover over his seat so that he won’t burn himself on the metal buckles.

Staying cool in the summer months is a challenge for many but if we collectively keep cool in the most sustainable and reasonable way, we can be kinder to mother earth and at the same time save some money. :-)

Staying cool in the car:

  • Find shaded parking spots if possible.
  • If you sit in your car during your break, park in the shade and keep your windows down so the breeze can keep you cool.
  • If the car is hot when you get into it, roll down the windows and turn the a/c on full blast. The a/c will push the hot air out of the car and the car will cool faster once you drive off and roll up the window.
  • Turn off the a/c when you are driving uphill and keep the fan on. With the a/c on, your car works twice as hard and uses up more gas. The fan will keep the cool air circulating and once you reach the top of the hill you can turn the a/c back on.

Keeping your body cool:

  • Wrap a wet towel around your neck to keep cool.
  • Use body powder to stay dry.
  • Take a cool or cold shower.
  • Wash your hands with cold water and let cold water run over your wrists.
  • Line dry your laundry inside (you can hang laundry from doorways, door knobs, some furniture, etc.)
  • Wet a large thin cloth and hang it to keep the room cool.
    Use an air vaporizer instead of an a/c.
  • Create a draft by opening some doors and windows.
  • Go to a public place like a coffee shop to get some work done.
  • Use a fan, instead of an a/c. Put the fan into the window to blow the hot air out, or to blow cooler air inside.

Stay safe while keeping cool!

  • If you have doors and windows open, don’t forget to close them when you leave the house.
  • Don’t open the doors to solicitors and keep your screen door always locked if you have doors open to create a draft. Install a screen door if you don’t have one.
  • Open windows only so far, that no one can climb through them while you are in another room.
  • If you leave your car windows down, only leave it open a crack. Don’t leave valuables in your car or anything with your home address.
  • Check your car before you get in, that nobody is in the back seat.

Keep your home cool when you are away by drawing the curtains. Have light colored curtains during the summer as it reflects the sun. Don’t run the a/c when you are not at home. By the time you get back in the evening, it might be cool outside and you could cool your house by opening the doors and windows. Do dishes and laundry in the evenings after it has cooled down.

If you are riding your bike and it’s hot outside, select routes that have shades, like tree lined streets and high buildings. Dress light but don’t expose your skin to prevent overheating and sunburn. Use sunblock, shades, and a helmet with a visor to protect your face. And try to schedule errands when it’s less hot to ride.

It’s not always possible to stay cool and at the same time to be sustainable. If you can’t, don’t worry about it. It is important that you are safe and that you are not compromising your health.

Enjoy your summer and see you next month!

This article appeared in the on-line magazine for actors The Networker, in August 2012.


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