10 Tropical Traditions for Temperate Climates


Respecting Nature

The Hawaiian term malama ka'aina, or, taking care of the land, can be applied in whatever climate you live. The Hawaiian people refer to malama ka 'aina in many ways, including using whatever resources are available to them, not removing items from nature, ecological fishing and farming techniques and sensible water use [source: Recycle Hawaii].

For us, taking care of the land can include what's inside, as well as outside, your home. Being environmentally conscious in each season can help save energy and preserve our homes and communities. Here are some ways to respect nature during winter by being environmentally conscious:

  • Wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat. You may be a little chilly, but you'll save money, as well as use less gas or electricity. Turning the heat down by 10 degrees for a daily eight-hour stretch (many of those hours when you're probably not even home), reduces your heating bill by as much as 15 percent [source: Whole Living].
  • Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if one light bulb in each household in America was changed to a CFL, the country could save about $600 million in energy costs, as well as save enough energy to power 3 million homes for a year [source: Energy Star].
  • Kick rock salt to the curb and make a switch to sand. Urea-based deicers and rock salt (which contains the chemical sodium chloride) can pollute water supplies and seep into plants. Sand acts as a natural, traction-based material without the chemical runoff [source: Whole Living].
  • Use what nature gives you. The sun can still pack a warm punch in your home, even when the temperature is lower. Keep your blinds open during the day, and your home will warm up safely and naturally. The sunlight will also help feed your houseplants by kick-starting the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis also helps produce oxygen, which is released from plants into your home, helping to improve your environment [source: Groleau].