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While sustainability is a year-long endeavor, summer sustainability is particularly important in the face of travel, increasing temperatures, and longer days. The good news is, there are plenty of quick and accessible ways to make your summer more sustainable. Here are some of our favorite tips!
Summer is undoubtedly one of the biggest seasons for travel. But with travel comes significant carbon emissions. The easiest way to reduce carbon emissions with travel is to drive or take public transportation instead of flying. Planes emit over 1 billion tons of CO2 annually, representing 2.5% of total CO2 emissions globally. Choosing to drive or take a train or bus will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of your trip. Grab some friends, pack up the car, and enjoy the view from the road!
When you’re in the sun all day, it’s important to keep your skin protected – but don’t forget that the sunscreen you choose impacts reefs as well. Chemicals in sunscreen can harm marine life, so your choice of sunscreen really does matter. Check out what ingredients to watch out for and some reef-safe sunscreen options here.
Cookouts and picnics don’t need to be full of beef burgers and deli meats! Cutting down on meat is a great way to make your summer soirée more sustainable. Consider offering plant-based options like veggie burgers, grilled vegetables, and various fresh salads. Here is a list of some great veggie-forward grill recipes.
And don’t forget to shop for your meal at your local farmers’ market! Buying local supports farmers in your area and also helps to cut down on the carbon footprint of your meal by reducing how far it had to travel to get to you. Plus, local farmers are more likely to use sustainable farming practices and to use fewer preservatives than the mass producers you find at the grocery store.
Is it just us, or do styles evolve even faster in the summer? Something about seeing so many people outside seems to inspire shopping sprees. Before you run to the closest fast fashion retailer, consider shopping secondhand. Thrift stores are always a great option and secondhand sites like Poshmark and Mercari often have gently used or even new pieces, including bathing suits. If you can’t find anything secondhand, try to choose a retailer who uses sustainable materials like recycled fibers or organic cotton.
Air conditioning uses a significant amount of energy. Of course, it is sometimes necessary on hot days, but using fans instead when possible can lower your energy usage (and bills!). The extended summer sunlight can also mean less artificial light is necessary, which is another quick way to reduce energy usage.
There are plenty of small habits you can adapt to reduce your overall waste:
Summer is the season of sunshine and fun, and there’s no reason sustainability can’t be part of that! Remember that whatever small changes you can make add up to help make our planet a better place for all Earthlings.