A+ A A-

The Eco-Friendly Tweaks I'm Taking Home From Journeys Abroad

uganda acacia wood ground fog

Uganda's terrain varies wildly, from Bwindi Impenetrable Forest's dense, jade-colored rain forests to Kidepo Valley's fat acacia trees and dry, tawny plains. A recent visit to these remote national parks and their surrounding communities gave me a glimpse into how Mother Earth could serve as inspiration for our built environments.

Many properties in Uganda are designed to leave as small an impact on the beautiful surrounding land as possible by relying on solar power and making smart swaps.

After my visit, I brought some green tweaks home with me to New York—a wildly different landscape where the planet needs just as much love. Here, four ways to make like a Ugandan tree-hugger without leaving home:

1. Rethink your cooling system.

Your mental image of a sun-beaten landscape is pretty accurate: Uganda is warm and sun-splashed and right on the equator. I sweat even when it’s only mildly muggy, and I start to feel sick as temperatures rise, so I was nervous to hear that none of the lodges I’d be staying in had air conditioning. Well, surprise: Turns out if you just let the dang breeze in, you’re fine!

How I brought it home: Everywhere I stayed, the expansive eating and lounging areas were covered but totally wall-less, too, so the breeze could sweep through. At home, I bought a cute Vornado fan to help circulate air through my apartment, and I haven’t had to turn on the central AC once. I’m sure I’ll need it when temperatures climb, but for now, fresh air is doing the trick!

2. Whittle away food waste.

I was amazed by the gourmet meals I found on my trip, in what felt like the middle of nowhere. (I’m a Seamless addict, and some of these spots were a four-hour plane ride from the nearest major supermarket.) I soon realized that many businesses in Uganda try to source locally (think from nearby farms that grow pineapple, charcoal, and produce, and fish caught in the Nile), only shipping from neighboring cities as a last resort.

How I brought it home: I’d already signed up for my summer CSA, but I liked the idea of swapping in-season stuff into recipes. I bookmarked a seasonal produce guide and am already dreaming about all the improvisational cooking I’ll do.

3. Watch your water.

Uganda’s tap water isn’t drinkable, so I expected to find every room loaded with complimentary bottles of water. (That’s what I’d found traveling around Southeast Asia.) But no: Resorts stocked rooms with pitchers of filtered drinking water and glasses. Of course, guests do sometimes burn through bottles, but the lodges find clever ways to reuse them. "In the main area, we recycle wine bottles for use as table water bottles," says Jane Goldring, co-founder of Wildfrontiers Uganda, which runs Baker’s Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park. "And any bottles we do use are recycled as flower pots and other containers." The staff at another getaway, Mahogany Springs, has a clever use for empty bottles, too: "Slowly watering plants and vegetables during a dry spell is a good use for plastic bottles," says managing director Barrie Gotch. "You fill them with water and insert them into the soil, and the water is slowly absorbed." Genius!

How I brought it home: Obvious, sure, but when I got home, I was struck by how many seconds I spent standing at the sink, waiting for the tap water to cool before I could fill my glass. Now I keep a water pitcher in the fridge—inside the door, specifically, so it stays cool but not ice-cream-headache cold (girl’s gotta chug!).

4. Cut the power!

Many of the places I stayed at on my trip had phone-charging stations in the main lodge only, and one especially remote resort, Apoka Safari Lodge in Kidepo Valley, ran the generator for only certain chunks of the day—so come 11 p.m., it was lights out. (Solar-powered lamps and flashlights helped us out in our cabins.)

How I brought it home: This led to a fairly obvious question: Why do I run my modem and Wi-Fi router when no one’s home to use it? The fix was stupidly easy; I plugged both gizmos into a surge protector and just flick it off when I leave for work or before bed in the evening. I don’t miss it, and I like to think I’m shaving a little bit off my electricity bill (and carbon footprint). And I love being mindful about when I want to be connected—not surfing the internet, zombielike, when I should be getting ready for bed.

I may not have African birdsong or the roar of distant lions to put me to sleep here, but I like knowing I’m living just sliiiightly further off the grid, even right here in Brooklyn.

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
Please donate a small gift of $11.11 or $22.22 or $33.33. 
Thank you! 
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2020 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

  Please buy us a coffee!
Pin It

Featured Writers

Featured This Month

Page:

Aries Mythology

Aries Mythology

The Mythology of Aries First things first, when referring to the mythology ... Read more

Bloodstone

Bloodstone

The Blood Energizer Stone The combined colours of bloodstone allow it to fu... Read more

Birth Totem - Falcon

Birth Totem - Falcon

Birth Totem Falcon Birth dates: March 21 – April 19 Birth Totem is: Falcon... Read more

The Michael Invocation

The Michael Invocation

The Michael Invocation has been used for many years as a means of clearing p... Read more

The Alder Tree - March 18 - April 14

The Alder Tree - March 18 - April 14

The Vernal Equinox (Alban Eilir) Celtic Symbol : Pentacle Or The Hawk Zodi... Read more

Aries Spiritual Stone - Eudialyte

Aries Spiritual Stone - Eudialyte

Eudialyte Birthstone: Aries Planet: Mars Element: Fire Chakra: Heart Read more

Green Aventurine

Green Aventurine

The Emotional Balancer Stone Green Aventurine is perhaps the best balancing... Read more

Dandelion

Dandelion

Reminds you of the abundance life holds. Gender: Masculine Planet: Jupiter E... Read more

Sun in Aries

Sun in Aries

Aries March 21 through April 20 An Overview of Sun Sign Characteristics for A... Read more

Beltane

Beltane

Beltane Ritual Celebrated May 1st Beltane is also known as May Day, Walpurg... Read more

Aries

Aries

ARIES Mar 21 - Apr 20 Spirit: Adventurous, courageous Objectives: To plan... Read more

The Time of No Time: Beltane!

The Time of No Time: Beltane!

Around the medicine wheel of life we go, from season to season (solstice to ... Read more

Budding Trees Moon

Budding Trees Moon

Red Hawk - Fire Opal - Dandelion - Yellow March 21 – April 19 The Budding ... Read more

Hematite

Hematite

The Grounding Stone With its iron content, hematite has a strengthening inf... Read more

Diamond

Diamond

The King of all Stones The diamond symbolizes wisdom and enlightenment, pur... Read more

© 2008-2020 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.
X

Right Click

No right click