What methods do hunter/gatherers in hot regions use? Sit in a river all day? Naps in the shade?
I'm in the DC area with heat index predictions of 110-115 and no AC. I've been mostly AC free other than work for 6 years, but days like these make me wonder how our ancestors coped in areas that were usually very hot.
Didn't it get really hot in Africa 60,000 years ago, and they didn't have AC, so some people left Africa and started eating grains and building factories and having world wars? No good can come of this heat wave.
But yeah, I would guess that we use streams and ponds for cooling purposes a lot less than our paleo ancestors.
I'm an adventure guide. I currently work (outside, without AC, sleeping in a tent mon-fri) in North Carolina (the heat index was 126 two days ago!) and have worked in Dubai and Oman (where the temp hits 110 by April and 140 in August) Here are a few things I do:
1. wear a BIG hat. a big dorky old lady hat. It keeps your face in the shade :)
2. keep something like a bandanna handy that you can soak and wear. the evaporation cools you off
3. stay in the shade. Find a space in the shade with a little breeze
4. get low. dig a hole and sit in it, get under a rock. the ground is cooler than the air
5. get in deep water. jump into a large body of deep water. it will be cooler than the air. watch out for rocks and sharks
6. lay around during the hottest part of the day
7. use an insulated water bottle. it will keep even water out of the tap cooler longer. add ice if you can
8. drink water constantly. like a gallon a day.
9. wear breezy, lightweight, light colored, fast drying clothes that have long sleeves. sounds hot but trust me. your skin will be in the shade.
10. Also, an umbrella is a great way to take shade around with you! Make sure your umbrella is opaque and a dark color.
11. If you know you're going someplace without shade, take a silver (yes SILVER) tarp with you. You can set up a tarp using some tent stakes, rope and poles or vehicle or any large object (boulder, hill etc) On the beach we set up tarps with kayak paddles as poles and rope. Blue/orange/green tarps let too much light in and essentially turn into an oven. Silver stops the light from coming through to create real shade.
In the United Arab Emirates, the traditional buildings have these weird towers coming up from the middle. The tower has openings like windows on all four sides at the top and bars running across them. I asked about them when I was there last. Turns out they used to wet cloth and hang the wet cloth from those bars. The tower was high enough to catch a breeze. The wet cloth would cool down the air, which would fall downward. The main seating/living area of the home was situated beneath the tower to make life bearable. AC before AC was invented! You can utilize this in your house. Moisten a t-shirt or a pillowcase and use clothespins to put it over a floor fan. Also in UAE, everything opens really early in the morning, like around 6:30 or 7, and closes from 11 to 3:30 and then opens up again from around 4 till 10pm. No one does anything during the hot part of the day. Too bad the hot parts of the US can't switch to that schedule.
I can tell you what Africans and Indians do in places where the temp surpasses 40 C -- they sit in the shade. They sleep outside. They move as little as humanly possible during daylight hours. If something needs to be done, they'll do it at 3am when it has cooled down a bit.
its hot here, too- index is about 107 today. im by the coast, but its too hot at the beach today. i also dont have AC and will never, ever get it. i cant stand the stuff, but i do have a small window unit in my kiddos room set at 75. sometimes i wuss out and chill out in there for a while, but honestly coming out of the AC is such torture that i would rather just power through.
i would imagine that people would seek shelter and just take it easy on abnormally hot days. its important to conserve energy when its like this outside if you dont have a reliable water source. i like to lay low, myself. i get very sleepy in the heat....seems like its telling me something.
stay cool out there, and please check in on your elderly neighbors.
Our ancestors were better adapted to handling heat than we are today, they did not have a/c and did not spent almost all of their time protected inside buildings and by wearing a lot of clothes. They probably were smart enough to rest during the hottest part of the day and were more active in the mornings and late afternoon/evenings. They were probably naturally better hydrated than we are today as they did not drink things that had diuretic properties or take prescription drugs or have messed up metabolisms. Overall they were way more in tune with their environments than we are to day.
It's abnormally hot and humid around Chicago too! We did the sitting in a river thing (tubing) on Wednesday and it was AMAZING how cool we were. We didn't feel the heat at all, just bobbing along in the water. I would guess if water were available, they would have utilized it.
This is not currently a problem in Scotland. One day recently the temperature got as high as 24 C (74 F), that was a very hot day.
Perhaps they just sat in their cave if they had one, they are cool whatever the weather.
Or went for a swim and sat in the shade.
Being naked probably helped, there were less social rules about clothing.
I reckon people who live in tropical areas that are hot all year round do get more accustomed to the heat.
I expect our higher latitude paleo ancestors reacted to heat waves in a similar way to us, they sat in the shade and complained about how hot it was.
Concrete creates micro-climates hotter than what you'd find in nature. Unless you're in the desert shade and wind would make hot environments tolerable.
My house is in a horrible spot and even though it will be windy outside, the wind won't hit my house and it heats up to like 100F during the summer. Sometimes I feel like my brain is melting.