July 4 | Eco Parent Magazine
Heat Up The Holidays! Five Hacks to a Greener Summer with Your Kids!
Listen up: Summer has finally arrived! Get ready to barbeque to your heart’s content, wade in the water until your fingers (and toes!) prune, and lick melted popsicle off your arm. Summer is a license to chill! Literally. And while you’re enjoying all the season has to offer, why not go next-level by adopting a few greener measures that say a big thank you to Mother Nature.
1. Ditch the plastic
Maybe you’ve already started doing this. Perhaps you’ve even gotten tough on the storage container drawer. Make this summer the one you go full on plastic-free and toss anything plastic (even those BPA- free plastics aren’t awesome!), and try stainless or glass. If you’re on the go, especially with the kiddos, make sure to pack a reusable water bottle and a set of stainless straws. Not only are they reusable superstars, they also make drinks feel colder (which is always a welcome surprise on a hot summer day!)
2. Keep the cool factor in check
Sure, being able to cuddle under a duvet in a super-cool room at night might be a summer luxury you look forward to at the end of a long, sweaty day, but cranking the a/c isn’t only hard on the pocketbook, it’s also hard on the environment! If you have central air, invest in a programmable thermostat that will automatically set the temperature higher when you’re away. And when you’re home, try a little test to see how cool you actually need it to be comfortable by starting at 26 degrees and dropping it a half degree at a time until it feels just right! You can also help keep things cooler by investing in a few fans, letting the cool outside air in at night, and by keeping curtains drawn and windows closed on those scorchers.
3. Hit the farmer's market
Got a hankering for some local peaches? Instead of heading to your neighbourhood grocery store, why not pop by a farmers’ market? Not only is it great to support your local farmer, it’s also a fun excuse to get a little exercise, check out the scene, and maybe pick up something delectable you or your family have never tried before. Best part? Many vendors at farmers’ markets offer organic, naturally grown, or even biodynamic products. While you’re there, grab some delicious local honey to drizzle on that perfectly fresh-from-the-farm fruit!
4. Use non-toxic sunscreen
While covering up skin is a summertime essential, sometimes (like at the beach) less is more. Protect that tender skin with sunscreen! While there are a number of sunscreens on the market that make big promises of super-high SPF, waterproof/sweatproof/anything- proof protection, the claims come at a huge price: toxins. That’s why a good quality mineral-based sunscreen is key. Look for ones containing ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide—an SPF of 50 is more than enough!
5. Plan a staycation
Feeling the sting of flight-shaming? Lots of people are trying to rely less on airplanes for travel because of pollution concerns. If you’re feeling the guilt or even just want to save some cash, why not opt for a staycation? Stay in town (or at least stay fairly local and bust out the camping gear!) and get to know your area! Walk through your downtown and travel by public transit to get to those more distant destinations. Check out some cool shops you’ve never ventured into, or grab a bite to eat at a great hangout you’ve heard about but haven’t tried. Or what about doing an ice cream crawl? Instead of the pub crawls of your younger days, why not grab the kids and hit every ice cream shop in town, trying whatever they’re known for!
Get out there, throw on those shades you’ve been itching to pull out since winter, and celebrate summer. (Just make sure to take your reusable bag with you!)