After that last final comes to a close, it's officially summertime! It's time to relax while still keeping up with your sustainable efforts.
We've compiled a list of the top 10 tips to stay green this summer:
- Protect your skin and the environment. Choose a green sunscreen and apply it frequently to block out harmful UV rays. When picking a sunscreen, avoid nanoparticles and look for a mineral-based product. Details are provided in this handy guide.
- Keep your home cool. If AC is necessary, pick a unit that is energy-efficient and just big enough for your space, no bigger - this saves you money and energy. Close your blinds (especially on south-facing windows) to reduce the need for an AC. Set your thermostat at a higher temperature during the day when no one is home - 78 degrees is generally a good middle ground between comfortable and energy-efficient.
- Volunteer. Use your free time to help others! Help protect endangered species, work on an organic farm or join community cleanups. Use Volunteer Match to help find opportunities that align with your interests.
- Take a staycation. Take time to really learn about your local community and do things you've always wanted to do but never have. This not only saves money, but energy as well!
- Avoid layovers and redeyes. If your travels require flying, avoid booking flights that have layovers or are overnight. Frequent takeoffs and landings use more fuel, and the pollution emitted on night flights has a more detrimental impact on the climate.
- Pack smart. Be picky when packing, and include only the necessities. Heavy luggage in cars and planes use more fuel.
- Leave your destination better than you found it. When you are out camping or enjoying the river, make an effort to clean up after yourself before you leave. Follow these 7 principles to Leave No Trace.
- Hydrate. Keep hydrated but not with endless plastic water bottles! Use a BPA-free reusable water bottle. While you're at it, use reusable containers/utensils for picnics and barbecues!
- Green grillin'. Who doesn't love a good summer BBQ? Propane burns much cleaner than either wood or charcoal briquettes. If you can't resist charcoal, try a natural product like Cowboy Charcoal. When you're done grilling, use natural, soy-based cleaning products. Natural products work just as well, just without leaving behind chemical residue that will get on your next veggie kabob. Take it a step further and try a solar oven!
- Eat your veggies. Summertime is the perfect time period to test out new diets, like a vegetarian or vegan diet. This will up your energy for summer activities and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Tons of delicious vegetables are in season during the summer - give them a try!