Climate Action

Summer of Sustainability

As the weather heats up and summer gets closer, we’ve all started to think about our plans for the upcoming sunny season. Does travel, hiking, or camping fill your schedule for the months ahead? What are you doing for the Fourth of July? And most importantly, how does sustainability factor into your plans?

If you don’t know where to start in terms of planning your summer sustainably, here’s some quick and easy tips to make your summer just a little more environmentally conscious!

At The Beach

Whether you live in a beach town or you are traveling to reach white sandy beaches, the shore is sure to be crowded with sunbathers and swimmers alike. Make sure you wear reef friendly sunscreen when you go in the ocean to combat coral bleaching and destruction to ocean life.

Unfortunately, “reef friendly” or “reef safe” are not regulated terms, so make sure you check the label yourself before you buy to make sure it does not contain Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, or Octocrylene, among other harmful compounds. The National Ocean Service has wonderful resources to help you sort through what to look out for on labels. Additionally, opt for lotion sunscreen, rather than spray, which lands on the sand and floats in the air, more easily washing into the sea when you spray it. 

Don’t take shells as souvenirs off the beach and please don’t buy those poor hermit crabs in shops along the boardwalk. They are invasive to North America, and it’s cruel to the crabs and they are more likely than not going to die on your car journey home.

When Camping

With more time off from school or work, camping and hiking are always popular summer activity options. Make sure to practice leave no trace, and to double check that you pack up everything you brought with you, be it plastic utensils, beer cans or bottles, and ALL of your trash.  

Even better, pick up any trash around your campsite whether you brought it in or not. Plus, many campgrounds prefer you using clear trash bags so they can recycle it afterwards much more effectively.

If you’re just starting out learning about camping, resist the urge to rush out and buy too many supplies all at once; you don’t want to be the one who goes camping for one night, realizes it’s not for you, and tries to sell $500 worth of camping gear at a yard sale! Instead, consider buying used gear or renting it before making a purchase, to cut down on wasted supplies. 

Try to use reusable plates, bowls, cutlery, pots and pans and eco-friendly washing up liquids.  Don’t pick plants or wildflowers and if you see any critters out in the wild, feel free to admire them from a distance, but PLEASE don’t feel them, as this can disrupt the ecosystem and make them ill. Plus, bears can get hangry! To learn more green camping tips, click here.

On The Fourth of July

It’s never too early to start thinking about your plans for the Fourth of July. Whether you plan on attending a cookout, or a trip to see friends and family, here are some practical (and budget-friendly) tips to follow!

First, think before you buy those on-sale red, white and blue shorts. Ask yourself if you’re really going to wear them any other day of the year — do you see them becoming a staple of your warm weather wardrobe? Or will they end up stuffed in a cupboard?

Plus, why use tacky plastic decorations when it’s so much cheaper to make your own? Red, white, and blue paper chains look adorable and can be made in a pinch, and paper stars cut out and stuck to windows will be easier to scrape off than melted window stickers once the holiday is over.

When it comes time to watch the fireworks, think about heading to a local fireworks display rather than setting off your own to minimize air pollution. Plus, you won’t have to worry about any of the cleanup!

As you make your plans this summer, think about the planet in everything you do. We need to keep our home safe from the growing problem of pollution, microplastics, and climate change. If everyone makes small changes in their lives, we can have a major impact together. Let’s all have a more environmentally conscious summer we can feel good about!