California correspondent Sandy Nader is reporting from her hometown of Miami, FL
For seasoned Miami hurricane vets, there seem to only be downsides to a bad storm: loss of power, fuel shortages and a desperate demand for water to stave off the sweltering, late-summer Miami heat. To make it worse, sometimes the storms just don't quit; in 2005, south Florida experienced three major storms
in the span of one month. In order to be better prepared this year, here are a few things you can do to live sustainably once the power goes out.
If the post-hurricane weather is hot and sunny ...
1) Use solar powered lamps to light up your backyard and a solar cooker to cook small meals.
The south Florida sun can be brutal, so why not use it to your advantage? Solar lamps can combat the pitch black, post-hurricane night and deter looting. Solar cookers are a great way to save gas for bigger tasks, like powering a giant fan or small-scale air conditioning. Check out this Gulf Coast blogger's
excellent recommendations on how to navigate this low-maintenance solar technology.
2) Practice sustainable living habits that you can continue after the power comes back on. Why not try line-drying your clothes, or walking short distances to save gas in your car? Since hurricane season leads right into the gorgeous Miami winter weather, starting to walk instead drive might be a good habit to keep. Also, meet your neighbors if you haven't already! Community cook-outs can be a great way to consolidate and reduce the neighborhood's energy use.
3) Try to avoid using too much disposable kitchenware and water bottles. Filling up your bathtubs with water before the storm gives you a nice supply of water for washing clothes or dishes after water starts becoming precious. For drinking water, buy larger containers of water instead individual bottled water.
If the post-hurricane weather is rainy ...
Don't despair! Rain can be an excellent resource for collecting water for dish-washing, clothes-washing or even outdoor showers (trust me, I've done it before). For households that depend on well water that gets cut off when the electricity goes out, a couple of rain showers can be godsends.
Hurricane season doesn't have to be all bad. If there's one thing living without electricity teaches us, it's that living sustainably is nowhere near impossible.