After a long, cold, wet spring it is easy to forget the damage that extreme temperatures can do to us and the environment. On those hot, lazy, crazy days, take time to check out a few things with your family and take the necessary actions. I know the women of the household know all this that I question below, but get the family out there and put that knowledge to work.
To improve the lives of your family and help make the world a better place to live, we can all do better.
o Have we ever learnt how to read a thermometer? Do we possess a thermometer?
o What is the temperature outside under a tree on this hot day, compared to the temperature inside without the air-conditioning unit blasting away?
o Do we sit outdoors enough during summer to take advantage of the cool breezes and the sunlight? In other words, do we enjoy summer for what it is and adapt without the economic costs of high energy bills?
o When did we last open the windows in summer to cool the house? (reducing the energy bill and giving us more money to spend on other things!)
o While we are outdoors enjoying the cooling breezes, have we checked out how we could make the interior temperature of the house more comfortable – cooler in summer and warmer in winter? Perhaps we should consider deciduous plants against the walls, trees for shade.
o Does all that concrete and other hard surfaces around the house deter your from sitting outdoors in summer – the reflection and absorption of the heat is too much to bear? Consider this, all that heat from those heat islands around your home is sending hot air up and blowing into your home. Break up the hard surfaces where not need and plant ground covers in cracks or put down permeable paths that will soak up all the rain.
o Colour – you know what colours you choose to wear for coolness in summer and warmth in winter. Have you put any thought to colours around your home? Dark colours absorb the heat, light colours reflect it. Why so many dark houses in Australia and dark roofing – what are they thinking?
Jan Couper M.Ed.;M.Env.