Summer is for …
Picnics! Pack all of your food and drinks in reusable containers. Bring along old blankets or sheets you don’t mind getting a little dirty instead of buying new picnic blankets, and use cloth napkins. Don’t forget to pack up all of your trash and food crumbs! Leaving them behind will encourage animals to look to humans as a source of food, rather than finding it on their own (plus, human food is not healthy for animals).
Farmers markets. Buy as much of your produce as you can from your local farmers markets. It will be fresher than anything you can buy in a store, and it will have traveled a lot less to get to you. Plus small local farmers are less likely to use lots of chemicals in growing their produce, and you can talk to your famers to find out exactly what methods they use. Some farmers markets also have other grocery items, like beef, fish and honey.
Recycled crafts. Stuck inside on a rainy day? Use your imagination and materials you can find in the house to create fun new crafts to use as decorations or gifts. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls, bottle caps, feathers escaped from pillows, scraps of yarn and string, yogurt containers, mismatched buttons and old coffee cans are great craft materials. The less recyclable or reusable an object is, the greener a craft it makes.
Riding your bike. Get those bikes tuned up and hit the trails. Summer is the perfect time to get the whole family out for an evening bike ride together. Bikes are also a great mode of transportation. Bring a backpack or saddlebags and ride your bike to the famers market, grocery store or local concerts and festivals. Try biking to work as well!
Watering the lawn. You worked so hard all spring to make sure your gardens and lawns are looking their best, and you want to keep them that way. Keep everything fresh and healthy while cutting down on your water waste at the same time! Use a rain barrel to collect water from your roof and use that for watering.
Water plants in the morning and evening, when it is more likely to soak in to the soil than evaporate, and water your lawn heavily but less frequently. This encourages deep root growth, which could potentially cut back on your lawn’s dandelion population since dandelions have very shallow roots.
Staycations. This year, instead of jetting off to some distant local for your annual summer vacation, try having a staycation! Turn off the phones and the TV and spend a week enjoying quality time with your family exploring all of the neat things your local area has to offer. Check out nearby parks you haven’t been to in ages, spend a day at the beach, sleep under the stars in your backyard or find a new museum or local attraction to visit.
Fun on the water. When you head out to the lake for the weekend, be mindful of your trash. One of the biggest hazards we leave behind is fishing line. Do your best to make sure every scrap of line is disposed of properly, and not snagged on a tree or floating in the lake for a bird or a fish to get tangled in.
Green cleaning. The best cleaning supplies are things you already have in your house. White vinegar and baking soda are the base of most green cleaning recipes, and will do just as good of a job as the highly chemical cleaners sold in stores without harming the environment, and will do it for less money. Use old t-shirts and socks for cleaning rags too, and you’ll soon have the greenest cleaning routine in town. Look for natural cleaning recipes at greenlivingideas.com.
Barbeques. Cooking outside reduces the need to remove excess heat from your home. Electric grills create less air pollution than charcoal grills, but if you prefer the flavor of charcoal, try starting your grill with a chimney instead of lighter fluid.
Fresh laundry. Nothing smells better than clean clothes dried in the breeze. Install a line in your backyard, or get some good drying racks. Too much sun can sometimes be damaging for clothes, so consider drying them in the shade. It may take a bit longer, but the colors won’t fade.