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For an Eco-friendly Summer, Think Local

Published Aug 17, 2015

 

Even though summer is winding down, it’s not too late to think about making the most of your remaining vacation without using a lot of energy. Low-impact, high-value activities are everywhere. But more importantly for the eco-minded, they’re right where you are. Think local with these tips on how to leave a smaller footprint with your summer fun.

 

Get out of the house

 

Reduce energy consumption from A/C, lights, appliances, and indoor electronics like TV and computers. Shut down the computer, turn down the A/C, unplug the TV, and enjoy the outdoors. It’s good for your body, your mind, and the planet.

 

Go Camping

 

Get away in true eco fashion by camping the old-fashioned way. Learn and use valuable outdoor skills, get plenty of fresh air and exercise. Sleeping in a tent uses far less energy than staying in a hotel (camping in a gas-guzzling RV might not). Pack reusable dishes and utensils for dining to reduce waste, and biodegradable soap so that washing them doesn’t hurt the land or wildlife.

 

Try Your Hand at Gardening

 

Growing your own vegetables not only makes your household more self-sufficient, it helps reduce the demand for produce that has to travel a long way to the supermarket—travel that leaves a big carbon footprint. Your garden can also help the earth by including flowers that are good for bees, who are crucial to ecosystems and agriculture, but whose numbers have recently declined sharply.

 

Explore Nearby

 

Every region has its hidden gems, and not-so-hidden ones you’ve just never gotten around to visiting. Check out what regional, state, and national parks are close by. You might be surprised at the gorgeous views you can find without venturing far afield.

 

Visiting and supporting these parks can also help make sure they stay in operation, protecting the land, its beauty, and its wildlife. The zoo and aquarium are great, low-footprint local destinations that also support conservation.

 

And don’t forget to support local small businesses that source locally and leave a smaller footprint.

 

Pick up a Book

 

See what events are happening at your local library, and while you’re there, check out perfect summer read (or stack). Spending time in a real book is a great low-energy pastime with plenty of benefits for you, too, like reducing stress and sharpening your mind.

 

Get Creative

 

Use those long summer days to learn or hone an artistic skill. Outdoor photography gets you outdoors and creative, appreciating the world right around you. Try your hand at painting, at making art from found objects, or making jewelry from recycled materials.

 

Wood-working, carving, or small building projects are all other ways to reduce stress, stay green, and have something tangible to show for it. All of these activities can mean much-needed alone time. They can also provide valuable bonding time with your family, friends, or partner.

 

Whatever you choose to do with the rest of your summer, choose to go green by making the most of what’s right around you, whether it’s in your state, your town, or your own backyard.

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