Written by Queenie Lei, a fourth year Communication student minoring in international studies. She is passionate about international affairs and non-profit organizations. She is always learning something new about herself!
If there was one season that I could avoid, it would be the summer. Despite all the fun summer activities available, I do not like the heat or that grimy and uncomfortable feeling of sweat mixing with sunscreen. Although the use of home air conditioning is rare in Metro Vancouver, air-conditioning units do release coolants over time that harm the Earth’s ozone layer.
Instead of using the air conditioner, why not try other methods to stay cool without negatively impacting the planet?
1: Keep the Heat Out
Usually, when I am going out for work and I know that the day will get hotter, I like to close my curtains to keep the sunlight and heat outside of my room. By closing my curtains, I minimize the chances of the heat and sunlight permeating in my room.
Another way to keep the heat outside of my room is the use of awnings. An awning is a roof-like shelter of canvas or other material extending over a doorway or other openings of your house to provide shade and protection from the sun. If you still aren’t sure what I’m referring to, I have put in a picture below for reference! According to the United States’ Department of Energy, the use of awnings can reduce solar heat gain (the amount temperature rises because of sunshine) by 65-77% on windows.
2: Eat colder foods and stay well-hydrated!
When it is summer, I love to eat summer fruits such as frozen blueberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe. I also love to eat ice cream as it helps to keep my body nice and cool.
Additionally, drinking lots of water is also very beneficial as our bodies become easily dehydrated and it increases our risks for health issues (eg. heat stroke, dehydration, etc.) to occur. Drinking water helps to replenish the amount of electrolytes we have lost when we are sweating a lot. Electrolytes are levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or too high. This level of change in electrolytes can occur when the amount of water in your body changes, causing dehydration or over-hydration. Examples of electrolytes are: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. When we sweat on a hot day, the water content and level of electrolytes in our bodies decrease while increasing the level of sodium in our blood. Thus, by drinking enough water as we sweat, it will allow our bodies to cool down and not be dehydrated.
3: Wear suitable clothing
When it gets hot, it is usually best to wear loose-fitting clothes or clothing that is airy and breathable. For example, clothes made out of cotton, chambray, rayon, linen, and blends allows air to circulate & move freely through the fabric, which makes heat more bearable. By wearing suitable clothing on a hot day, it would allow air to circulate underneath allows air to circulate underneath and through the clothes, taking heat away from the body.
Those are some of my tips to stay cool during hot and humid days! What are some of your tips when it is hot and humid?
Happy summer from the Embark Sustainability team.