12 Simple and Earth-Friendly Summer Sustainability Tips
By Cora Gold, Editor-in-Chief of Revivalist
With the ongoing concern over carbon emissions, it’s wise to consider how you can help the environment. This is critical in protecting both current and future generations. So, keep the planet in mind as you go on your summer adventures. Living sustainably doesn’t require burdensome changes. Here are some things you can do this summer to go green.
12 Tips to Practice Summer Sustainability
1. Use Less Plastic
Summer is a great time for picnics or family barbecues. While plastic utensils and disposable plates may seem easy, they end up in landfills. When they break down, they release greenhouse gasses that pollute the air. Also, they can get carried away and end up in the oceans.
Instead, always have reusable options available. A metal water bottle will be much more convenient than constantly using up plastic bottles. If you’re having a party, skip the plastic red cups, and hit a thrift store to buy regular cups at a good price.
Traveling to far-off places uses tons of gasoline. In fact, planes burn about 740 million tons of fuel per day. That doesn’t mean you can’t still have plenty of adventures. Take a chance to explore your local sites and look up popular attractions in your area.
Also, check out your town tourism board for ideas. You can even see if any friends or family members have recommendations. If you follow local travel blogs, these are excellent places to browse as well.
If you end up traveling farther, support local businesses rich in history. Many destinations are full of restaurants and shops that may be over 50 years old and run by local families. Rather than supporting major corporations that produce a lot more waste, invest in more meaningful souvenirs, meals and experiences.
These activities can help you beat the summer heat in a more sustainable way. They’re also a perfect excuse to get outside and off your phone or computer. Try paddleboarding instead of spending hours in a boat that burns fuel the whole while.
Plus, these boards cause less damage to waterbeds and river banks than some motorcraft. It’s an excellent sport you can do solo or bring along some friends.
Flowers provide resources for pollinators, like bees. We rely on these insects for agricultural production. About 35% of the world’s crops depend on pollinators to reproduce. You can also build a bee house to provide a safe place for them to rest. Along with helping the environment, flowers increase your curb appeal.
Gardening is also an activity that’s good for your health. Consider planting some vegetables and fruits to save you a trip to the grocery store.
Composting helps the environment by reducing runoff water and improving soil conditions. It also enhances stream water quality by retaining pollutants and lowering methane emissions. Composting even eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers. To get started:
- Gather organic materials or anything that was once a plant.
- Layer on materials from your kitchens, like eggshells, coffee grounds, and fruit peels.
- Mix in some leaves, straw, and corn stalks.
- Add some topsoil and a sprinkle of organic fertilizer on top.
If it’s an accessible area, biking is an eco-friendly way to travel. It also promotes exercise and builds up muscle strength. It is also good for your heart, lungs, and overall circulation. Plus, it’s a low-impact exercise if your body needs a rest.
Using a bike also conserves non-renewable resources and reduces air pollution. Take a bike ride to explore a new town or even hidden spots in your neighborhood. Instead of driving, take a bicycle to your local ice cream shop.
Tourists leave tons of trash on the beaches. These then end up polluting our oceans and harming marine life. So, take a day and volunteer to help your community. It can make you feel good and is a great chance to meet new people.
Bring along your family and make it a group activity. Check your community website to see which organizations or individuals are planning events. You can also look at sites like OceanConservancy.org to find specific locations.
Around 85% of textiles thrown away in the U.S. are dumped into landfills. This releases tons of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. So, reuse your old t-shirts before throwing them away.
They make excellent cleaning rags or unique throw pillows. If you have a white t-shirt, grab some dye to create a new outfit. If you end up shopping, start at thrift shops or vintage stores. This can save you money and is better for the environment.
If you need some inspiration, look for outside resources. Listen to sustainability podcasts, like GreenBiz 350, or read some books. Check out titles such as “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben or “Wilding” by Isabella Tree.
You can also ask friends for recommendations or take a trip to your local bookstore. Then, share what you learn with friends and family. The more you know about eco-friendly practices, the easier it is to add them to your routine.
Summer is the perfect chance to let in the natural light. Instead of wasting electricity, use sunlight to perform afternoon tasks. This will lower your utility bills and help reduce carbon emissions. Also, use the heat to air dry smaller articles of clothing, like bathing suits.
Swap out your current blinds with light-colored cotton ones. Keep in mind natural light can also boost your mood and provide an excellent source of vitamin D.
Going out to eat is always a treat, especially in the summer. However, this can contribute to food waste and vehicle emissions. Also, beef production can release greenhouse gasses and increase water consumption. Plus, eating at home saves you money and is better for your health.
Instead of the fats and sugars from processed food, you can make nutritious meals. You could cook Italian sausage-stuffed zucchini or chicken parm-stuffed peppers. Eating at home is an excellent chance to bond with your family, too.
Any energy-hungry chores, like laundry or vacuuming, should be done during off-peak hours. This means at night instead of the middle of the day. Just be mindful of your neighbors if you live in an apartment.
Doing chores then reduces your energy bills and prevents your home from overheating. This way, your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, lowering your carbon emissions. You don’t want your home to feel like an oven on a warmer afternoon.
How to Live Eco-Friendly This Summer
Final Thoughts on Summer Sustainability: Helping our environment is something everyone can do. You don’t need to make big changes, either – just simple routine shifts, like using less plastic. When the weather warms up, you might start spending more time outside and taking more time to appreciate nature. Follow these tips to have a sustainable summer and tons of fun while you’re at it.
About the Author
Cora Gold has a passion for writing about life, happiness and sustainability. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves to share her insights and find inspiration from others. Follow Cora on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.