Small changes lead to a more eco-friendly summer

By Maria Kimble, Contributing Writer

The summer months offer a great time to make small changes to lead a more eco-friendly life. With having the extra free time and taking baby steps, going greener is easier than ever. As long as you can get started, small steps can make a big difference on our planet. Here are five easy ways to accomplish this.

1. Watch your water usage.

By watching how much water you use this summer, not only will you be helping our ecosystem, but also your wallet. With the warm weather on the rise, the amount of water used increases. Set up a rain barrel outside so that you can reuse the rain to water gardens. The best time to water your garden is in the evening because the sun will not evaporate the water as quickly.

2. Turn down the AC.

A floor fan uses 90% less energy than any AC unit. If there is a cool breeze, turn off the AC unit all together and open the windows. When using less energy, we downsize the pollution created from fossil fuels. Instead of leaving the AC blasting cold, wear loose fitted clothing during a relaxing day at home. Though it is hot outside, taking these small steps can help our environment this summer.

3. Change the way you BBQ.

One of the most popular summer activities is barbecuing. With delicious char-grilled food and great company, this summer activity is sure to be a favorite. Before sending out your guest list for this summer bash, take a look at your grocery list. Cut down your waste by switching to reusable kitchen utensils instead of disposable plastic. Gas grills also leave behind less waste than charcoal grills. The greenest option is to opt for an electric grill; models with the lowest number of BTU’s are most efficient.

4. Buy local foods.

There are multiple benefits from buying local. Some food travels miles before it hits the kitchen table; local foods conserve materials and energy to reduce your carbon footprint. The transportation and production of overly-processed store-bought options are bad for the environment. You will enjoy the most fresh, seasonal products that have not been over-processed and preserved. Buying local is a healthier option for you and the environment.

5. Spend time outside.

All winter long, we daydream about the warm weather and all of the summer activities. Summer is here and it’s time to go outside! Before heading outside, make sure you unplug all the appliances that are not in use; look into solar-powered chargers for your devices as well. Time spent with your friends and family can be a great way to catch up and have fun. Get out of the AC for a day and go to your local swimming pool. Instead of soaking up the AC, sit outside and get into a new book. This simple and fun step will help reduce your carbon footprint this summer!

Photo Credit – Ian Beabout