We want a super summer, and we want to live it sustainably!
Stay on the path to sustainability this summer while considering your carbon footprint by following simple tips that will not only protect the environment but also help you save money throughout the sunny days ahead.
From quick green thumb tricks to thoroughly planned initiatives, ensuring you are adding care for nature to your agenda this season is easy!
Use Fans Over AC
Reduce energy costs and increase energy efficiency by opting for the use of single-standing fans or ceiling fans instead of blasting the air conditioner in your home all day long. These fans are easy to operate and can cool you down wherever you are in your home instead of cooling the whole home when not all the areas are being used.
Of course, be cautious of scorching summer days where your air conditioner will be necessary to your wellbeing.
Opt For Natural Light
Use natural light as much as possible during the summer! With more hours throughout the day with the sun out, turning off the light switch can help you save energy and money in the long run. Nothing beats the positive effects of natural sunlight! Sunlight boosts Vitamin D levels, which can improve sleep, physical health, and mental health too.
Reminding young ones to switch off the lights when not in use can be a fun game that kids can become experts at!
Avoid Car Idling
Although the summer days are hot, and darker car interiors may trap summer heat further inside your vehicle, try cracking the window open before traveling in your car to cool it down instead of letting it sit in the driveway and idle.
Did you know idling your car for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more emissions than restarting your engine does?
Although it may be difficult to altogether avoid, remember to consider how much pollution can be created when idling your car this summer when at drive-throughs, stuck in traffic, or waiting to pick up kids after a party. Every bit counts!
Visit Local Farmers' Markets
Summer months mean summer produce! Visiting farmers' markets in your area will give local farmers the ability to sell their produce and goods that have been grown close to you. Purchasing produce from local farms avoids the use of preservatives on your produce to keep it fresh and avoids further harm and pollution caused by overseas transport.
Fortunately, many farmers' markets also include fun activities such as hayrides, sandboxes, cornfield mazes, and live animal attractions, which can turn a simple farmers market visit into a full-day family outing the kids will love.
Enjoy Home Summer Cooking
Although visiting beloved restaurants or ice-cream shops can be a tradition during the summer, so can home-making the foods you love!
Cooking at home can give you more control over the quality of the ingredients, the amount of food being wasted, and the amount of single-use plastic used - typical with take-out orders or to-go boxes from restaurants.
Did you know plastic waste can take hundreds and even thousands of years to break down? Styrofoam never (ever) decomposes?
Unfortunately, Styrofoam's low cost has made its presence in our society addicting and popular. Remembering this fact can help you consider a more sustainable summer meal next time you want to head out.
Enjoy More Meatless Summer Meals
The total amount of meat consumed in the USA has increased by nearly 40% in the past 60 years! Serving up a delicious vegetarian dish at least once a week can positively benefit your body and your wallet while also helping the environment:
- reducing further deforestation
- preventing biodiversity loss
- reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
Remember, every meal counts! There are also tons of great meat-free recipes that will work great at summer events or simple nights outdoors with family and friends, including:
- vegetarian pizzas
- black bean and corn salsa with guacamole and tortilla chips
- quinoa salad filled with fresh veggies (tomatoes, onions, peppers etc)
- grilled corn-on-the-cob, seasoned to your liking (butter, salt, spices)
- veggie burgers (homemade with soybeans or tofu)
Plan Ahead for Parties
According to a European study, plastic waste increases by nearly 40% during summer months because of our use of these party items:
- plastic plates and utensils at BBQs
- single-use decor and table cloths at birthday parties and picnics
- plastic cups for drinks and drinking games
- use of plastic water bottles outside
- consumption of pre-made and pre-packaged foods
Planning ahead for parties means making more eco-friendly choices as hosts.
Dry Clothes Outdoors
If possible, avoid using your drying machine this summer, and dry your clothes outside on a clothing line or balcony. This can also help you save a few summer bucks as well. Use this tip for your hair, too! Let your hair dry naturally, instead of using the blow dryer.
Travel By Foot or Bike
Summer months mean more things to do outdoors! With busy, sun-filled schedules, plan ahead to add in extra time for travel to and from by opting to walk to your next summer event, bike, or maximize on a carpool plan if needed!
Consider Sustainable Summer Fashion
To reduce consumerism and promote the reusing to reduce theory, try purchasing pre-loved clothing from local vintage stores, summer yard sales, or from fashionable friends and family. Trading clothes you no longer love in exchange for some past cherished clothes from friends is a great way to enjoy new goods without the new tag price or environmental impact of fast fashion finds.
Remember to 'Practice Protecting What You Love'
We want our loved ones to have a healthy environment to live in. Make this your motivation for spending more time outdoors this summer to deepen your love for nature and all its glory!
Bonus Tip: Eat more ice cream cones! Avoid plastic containers by savoring the tasty cone to hold your scoop instead!
We hope you have a safe and wonderful summer, everyone!