By Tiffany Krezinski:
Growing up, I spent tons of time in the great outdoors. My family always would take trips to visit national parks, so I have a serious appreciation for nature and our amazing planet. Now that I’m a mom, I am trying to teach my family about economic and environmental responsibility. I see all the ways that our family is generating waste, so I strive to reduce our footprint so we can live a little more sustainably – helping to preserve the earth and saving a little bit of cash. One of my goals this summer is to incorporate more ways to reduce the amount of waste our family generates. I’ve compiled some tips that I’ve acquired over the years: these ideas will surely help you achieve a more sustainable lifestyle this summer.
1.) Visit a farmers’ market – Spend your summer shopping for inexpensive, locally grown produce, cheeses and meats at your
local farmers’ market. This is a great way to support the local economy and the environment. Who wants strawberries shipped from California when you can eat some freshly picked no farther than 30 miles away?
2.) Upcycle – Recycling is great, but upcycling is better. Think twice before tossing something to the curb. There are so many ways to convert those unwanted items into something useful rather than buying new products. Upcycling is repurposing an item that has outlived its original purpose into something of equal or greater value. While recycling is good for our community and the environment, upcycling takes the approach to the next level. Green architects like William McDonough and Peter Busby of Perkins + Will are implementing new strategies for doing just that – finding ways to be more efficient in how we design products and buildings.
3.) Study up! – There is a ton of information out there about the things different businesses and people are doing to support the “green” movement. Learning about current issues and new projects doesn’t have to be a bore, either. Take Leonardo DiCaprio’s documentary, The 11th Hour, on the impact humans have on the environment. It’s an exciting, eye-opening take on today’s environmental issues, and one I highly recommend.
4.) Make your own bug spray – Those cans of Off! get expensive, and they are full of chemicals. Instead, try making your own bug spray with distilled water, witch hazel, and citronella – it’s inexpensive and efficient. There are plenty of other household products you can make yourself that are definitely worth a try, and could end up helping you save money.
5.) Revitalize your wardrobe – Need new clothes for summer? Before you run out to buy something brand-spankin’ new, be sure to check out local sales. Thrift stores, garage sales – they’re all great places to pick up some new pieces for your summer wardrobe. Plus, you can get rid of some of your unwanted winter items by donating them to the Salvation Army or other local organizations. This is a thrifty and environmentally friendly way to reduce waste and keep reusing.
6.) Plant a garden – It’s easy to grow your own fruits and veggies, and a great way to teach kids responsibility. Seeds are readily available at farmers’ markets, grocery stores and drug stores. You may not be able to grow a garden that makes your family entirely self-sufficient, but being able to provide some of your own produce feels good. If everyone in your neighborhood, your town, or your state grew their own gardens, the positive impact on the environment would be huge. Less produce shipped from state to state and more homegrown goodness.
By following these eco-friendly tips, you’ll make strides this summer towards keeping the earth healthy and your home more sustainable. Not only that, but you may save some money and get your family into the habit of living and eating healthier.
Tiffany Krezinski is a wife and mother of one with a passion for green living. She is always looking for new ways to improve her lifestyle and support the environment, logging her experiences on her blog, responsible-tourists.blogspot.com.