The popsicles are melting and the temperature gage continues to rise. The kids have taken to the streets to cool off under the stream of the fire hydrant and even the dogs are hiding under the shade of the trees. It’s a bonafide heat wave! If this sounds familiar, it’s because the US has been under a nationwide heat wave for the past few weeks. Yes, it is the middle of July, but is there something more sinister at work? With temperatures rising steadily, a lack of winter, and crazy, unpredictable weather, it’s hard not to pose the question. In fact, last week the entire country suffered temperatures well into the 100’s.

In a new study from the American Meterological Society they answer that very question. It states that heat waves are directly related to global warming and  they are on the rise!  The study points out that several heat waves have been connected to human-made global warming. These heat waves include last year’s brutal heat in Texas which was considered 20 times more likely to occur due to global warming and November’s warmer than normal temperature in England was 62 times more likely.   This study marks a new feature in climate science, where it has usually taken years to compile weather studies, this one was able to be analyzed and published within several months. This is groundbreaking science that is sure to help shed some light on the issues we are to face.

If you thought that was bad news, it only gets worse. In another study published by Stanford last year stated that the US is “likely to undergo extreme summer temperature shifts within 60 years.  Yup, expect more droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, tornados, fires, floods and any other weather extreme that will terrify and complicate our modern lives. But not all disasters have been directly connected to global warming including recent floods in Thailand. Monsoons are common in Thailand and researches have related these particular floods to rapid development, meaning more people in more vulnerable areas.

And as the temperature continues to rise, we lose more and more of our polar ice. In 2011, the Artic warmed as a whole and was at it’s second lowest level since we humans started keeping track. In case you haven’t heard, this is causing the sea levels to rise at a steady pace.  Higher sea levels means less land for humans and animals alike and with our population reaching 7 billion, major social issues are headed our way.

Basically all this news is bleak and a bit scary. Is there anything we can do? It’s unlikely we will be able to slow the affects already set in motion. However, we need to get serious about changing our ways. What we have done to the Earth over the last Century needs to stop now. We need to figure out more sustainable energy and stop using gasoline like it’s water running from a tap. We also need to start planning for the future. Rather than deny the Earth is warming, we, as a society, must plan for the future. Acting now, could save countless lives and resources. You and I need to start pressuring our leaders to pay attention to these issues and we need to change our everyday actions. The heat is on, as the say, so let’s cool it down.

Its the end of July and the temperature gage is rising. The summer heat can really take its toll, especially inside a cramped apartment or muggy house. No matter if you live in an urban setting or out by the countryside the heat traps itself inside your humble abode. So what to do? Most Americans would run right over to their Central AC or window unit and crank up the air conditioning. But how necessary is this? Air conditioning is actually pretty unnatural for the body (imagine the shock of coming in from 100 degree heat down to 50 degrees). It just doesn’t add up that we have to carry around layers in the summer, just to survive the temperature changes from outside in.

Achoo Photo By Giles DouglasBeyond the annoyance, air conditioning also effects your health and what you are breathing in. Dust particles, pollen, and even bacteria are circulated through air conditioning units and can cause allergies, asthma attacks, and even the spread of illness. And on top of the health effects, air conditioning is very harmful for the environment. Not only do they use massive amounts of electricity that usually comes from not so green sources but the coolant is damaging to the ozone and a hazard material. So what is to be done about this? How do you survive the summer swelters without the use of air conditioning? Well today is your lucky day! We have compiled a short list of tips on how to keep your house cool without giving into the evil artificial cooling devices.

Caribbean ceiling fan Photo by exfordy1) Proper Use of Fans: To handle the summer heat we suggest you invest in some good fans. Although they use electricity, it is considerably less than central air or air conditioning. If your house has ceiling fans these are great to keep a room cool. But if you are not lucky enough to have this luxury it helps to face one window fan facing in and one facing out in the same room. This will create an air movement throughout the room and cool it down. You can also place a fan on the floor if there is a breeze coming in the room to move the breeze along.

I will follow you in the dark Photo By devinlynnx2) Lighting: One obvious trick when it comes to lighting is to turn off all lights when they are not necessary. Extra light just adds to the heat of the house, as do other electronics such as computers and TVs (however we are not suggesting you go without all entertainment). Also, if you are going to use lights be sure to use lower lighting such as lamps instead of the bright heat expressing kind. Fluorescent lighting is also very efficient and will keep the room overall cooler.

Wafting Curtains Photo By Ctd 20053) Be Smart About Windows: One of the easiest ways to keep the sun from bearing down into your house is to hang thick and dark curtains, at least during the high sun hours. The less sun that makes its way into your house, the better! Keep your windows open during the cool parts of the day and be sure to close them if any warm air is circulating into the house. You’ll want to also keep the windows in the bathroom open when you are showering, this will help keep the warmth of the water out (or you could always opt for a cold one!). Also, a trick that helps keep our office cool is to create a cross breeze between windows, making sure opposite windows are open at the same time. This will exponentially keep the room cooler. 

Clothes line. Photo By stacy michelle4) Use less Appliances: It may seem really simple to say but do not use the oven, especially during the hot parts of the day! You will also want to avoid using the dryer during the summer months. Dryers emit a lot of heat into a household, plus there is a better green way to dry your laundry: hang a clothesline! Not only will you use less electricity and keep your house cooler, you will save money and have that fresh Summer smell to your clothes. If you must use the dryer, be sure your vents are clean and the best time to wash clothes is in the early morning or late at night, when the house will be its coolest. 

Photo of Stone Fruit Salad Photo By foodistablog5) Keep Cool with Food and Drinks: This summer cut back on warm foods, because really who wants the feel of warm soup on hot summer day? Switch to cool foods such as salads, sandwiches, and cool desserts. If you want some suggestions, check out our vegan recipes, there are plenty of salads and cool items on there: Raw Avocado Mousse is a favorite and will keep your body cool. Along with cool foods, you’ll want to keep cool with cold drinks. Its pretty obvious that warm drinks like coffee and tea bring your body temperature up, so switch to iced coffee and teas. Lemonade and fruit juices are also a refreshing way to keep the temperature down. Some people might say to avoid alcohol, but we just won’t take it that far, because we know a cold beer or iced sangria really hits the spot on a hot summer night. So we say drink away!

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