School’s out for summer, but it’s never a bad time to learn about being green! Here are a few tips for sustainable ways to beat the heat.
- Be smart about watering your yard or garden. Not all watering techniques are created equal. If you water your garden in the morning or evening, when it’s cooler, you reduce the chance of the water evaporating before being absorbed by the soil and plant roots.To really reduce water demands, set up a rain barrel to capture and reuse the water that would otherwise become runoff. You can learn about rain barrels and how to protect your local watershed at one of our workshops!
- Bee-friendly When Planting Your Flowerbed. We usually plant flowers for the aesthetic appeal, but what if your flower garden could help thousands of tiny neighbors? (You can learn more about Colony Collapse Disorder and why the bee’s need your help here.) By planting native wildflowers and you can go a long way in helping local bee populations to thrive. They are already working hard to pollinate all your favorite fruits and vegetables, so give a little back. Here are just a few gorgeous options! Be sure to avoid plants treated with neonicotinoids (a type of pesticide), which harms bees and pollinators. Learn more about bee-friendly gardens here.
Keep it Cool and Cooking
- Sweet Treats. Bummed out that ice cream cartons aren’t recyclable? Not to worry, you can skip the packaging involved with store-bought summer treats and make your own zero waste options! Silicone ice pop molds like these make it easy to mix and match your favorite locally bought fruits into fresh, package-free summer snacks.
- Green Grilling. Instead of turning on the oven and heating the entire kitchen, it makes sense to move to the outdoors. Remember that your grill is capable of so much more than a perfect brisket. When you cut back on meat consumption, you also reduce your carbon footprint! Add some color to your menu and include some fresh veggies from your local farmers market. Items such as asparagus, zucchini, and beefsteak tomatoes are easy to brush with olive oil and spices and put directly on the grill.
- Keep Your Cool. In the heat of summer it is tempting to crank up the AC and inevitably, your electric bill. Instead, try opening windows and using fans in the cool of the morning and evening. During the day, close windows and blinds to keep excess sunlight from heating up your home. If you still can’t beat the heat, only use the air conditioner in one, closed off room, as opposed to cooling the whole house.
- Sunscreen that’s Good for Everyone. Before you head out on your next summer adventure, be sure to protect your skin with plenty of sunscreen. Unfortunately, as with most personal care products, some sunscreens contain additives that are bad for both you and the environment. Avoid sunscreens that contain oxybenzone. Instead, check out Eart911’s favorite sustainable sunscreens or try making your own.
- Be a Happy AND Smart Camper. Summer is a perfect time to head out to your favorite state park. As any Scout can tell you, a good camper knows to Leave No Trace. Many parks are moving towards a “carry-in, carry out” policy for trash to minimize the number of garbage cans for critters (large and small) to get into. Bears especially love dumpster diving for late night snacks. Help protect both other campers and wildlife, and take with you all the trash you brought in.