Summer is officially here! Kick off the official start of summer by gearing up with some summer sustainability tips. Summer can bring many great things, but with it comes some less desirable ones like: extreme heat, bugs and powerful sunrays.
Don’t let these summer bummers get you down – we have the sustainable solutions for you to have your greenest summer yet!
Beat the Heat this Summer
1. Wear the Right Clothes
Wearing dark colored items or too many layers are simple habits that can be changed to keep you cool in your home and outdoors. Wear light colored clothing and lightweight fabrics instead to reflect the suns rays and promote breathability.
2. Shut Heat Out
Keeping heat out of the house in the first place is a great way to reduce overall temperature inside. Cover windows with blinds or shades. Keep unnecessary lights in rooms turned off as well as appliances like your television, oven and clothes dryer that also create a lot of heat. Using alternatives like outdoor cooking and using clotheslines work great.
3. Use Energy Saving Methods to Cool
Air conditioners can use large amounts of energy to cool your home. Before cranking up the A/C this summer try some low-energy usage options first. A few fans around the house really can help air circulation.
Opening two windows to create a cross-breeze can also help; just make sure that it’s not during peak heat times of the day. If you do choose to use an air conditioning unit, make sure the unit is tuned up and working at peak efficiency. If you are purchasing new, opt for one with a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and turn the unit off when the home is empty.
Appreciate the Great Outdoors
Summer is a great time to be outside here is some advice to keep you comfortable and safe while enjoying time outdoors.
4. Tell Bugs to “Buzz Off”
Some bug sprays can be harmful to the environment, but getting bitten isn’t very fun either. Bug sprays may contain DEET, an ingredient that when in introduced to the environment breaks down slowly and is toxic to birds, fish aquatic invertebrates.
However, there are alternatives to standard, chemically-based bug repellents. All-natural alternatives such as citronella candles, repellents and torches work well and smell good too. Using deet-free options for repellents leave less of an environmental footprint, as well. (For some all-natural bug spray recipes visit this link.)
To avoid exposure to irritating bugs wear light colored long sleeves and pants while outdoors, stay inside between dusk and dawn when bugs are most active and dump out any standing water around your home to not offer areas for mosquito nurseries.
5. Ban the Rays
Sunscreen is always a must in the summer. However, some sunscreen ingredients can be toxic to water ecosystems. Diethanolamine and benzophenone, common ingredients in sunscreens have been found in groundwater and surface waterways around the country. These ingredients pose a threat to animals who may ingest the water.
Look for alternatives with all-natural formulas. Nature’s Gate and Purple Prairie Sun Stuff are some great options. (Find a list of other natural ingredient sunscreens at this link.)
6. Harness Solar Power
If you’re going to stay outside on those warm summer nights look for varieties on outdoor lighting. Take advantage of the strong summertime rays with solar-powered lights, which use renewable energy AND save you money so you can enjoy the outdoors all night long.
Summer Treats and Eats
From BBQs to fresh summer produce summer is a wonderful time to indulge in favorite seasonal goodies.
7. Pack a Smart Picnic
Summer is the time of year for barbeques, camping, picnics and other outdoor feasts. Look for recyclable or biodegradable options for dinnerware; or better yet, invest in some reusable dinnerware to enjoy all summer long.
8. Let It Grow
Growing your own food is a great hobby and provides you fresh, homegrown produce. Think of all the money and carbon emissions you’ll save when you don’t have to drive and buy fruits and veggies from the store! Visit Urban Farmer to see which plants you can still get in the soil in mid to late summer.
9. Shop Local
If you would rather let someone else do the gardening check out one of your local Farmer’s Markets for fresh produce. Many vendors might even have other things for sale such as breads, pies and jams. What a great way to support your neighbors and local economy and get some delicious food.
On the Road
Summer is an exciting and busy time to travel. Make the most of your travels and where they take you this season.
10. Go for a Ride
Whether your travels are close to home or you are exploring a new area, biking is the way to go. Not only can it serve as exercise and time with friends, biking can also dramatically decrease your carbon footprint if you normally drive everywhere. Whether at home or in new territory, TrailLink can help find a bike trail near you.
11. Share the Cost
When traveling on vacations research to find the most fuel efficient way to your destination. Fuel-efficient vehicles are available to rent and can drastically reduce the amount of gas used actually saving you money. Other options include bus trips, carpooling with friends or family and vacationing close to home.
Use these tips and others to make the most out of the season and have a great green summer!
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