Plant a garden or buy local produce. Growing a garden is such a fun and rewarding way to spend some time with your family. It’s the ultimate in knowing where your food is coming from and it will save you money. If you don’t have the space for a garden, plant a container garden or consider banding together with other families in the neighborhood to develop a community garden. To find out more about community gardens and if you have any in your area, visit https://communitygarden.org.
If you don’t have time for gardening, farmers markets and produce stands are a great place to get fresh and local produce. When you buy locally grown products you are getting fruits and veggies at peak nutritional value, eliminating the carbon impact of transportation and packaging and helping the local economy.
Plan More Meatless Meals Raising animals for food requires a lot of land, fossil fuel, water, and feed, so cutting back on some of the meat you eat is a good way to reduce your environmental impact. Reducing your meat consumption may also reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Drive less. Make a family commitment to drive less and either walk or ride bicycles more. When doing errands that require a car, plan out an efficient route so you can accomplish more in one trip and avoid backtracking. Driving less will help save at the gas pump and, walking and/or biking more can improve your physical health.
Turn off Water and lights. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. Limit shower times. If you must water your lawn avoid overwatering and watering in the daytime when it will quickly evaporate. Enjoy the long days of sunshine. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Reducing the energy used in your home helps the environment and your utility bill.
Plug energy leaks. Weatherization isn’t just for wintertime. On average, homes that are 10 years or older will have duct leakage of 27% or more. That means you’re likely paying to cool your attic. Sealing your ducts and insulating your home can cut your energy bills by up to 35%.
You can also save on your power bill by closing curtains and blinds on the sunny side of your house during the day, and use ceiling fans to feel cooler without having to crank down the air conditioning unit.
Get out of the kitchen. Summer is a great time to grill out and it’s a delicious way to keep from heating up the kitchen. Be sure to practice grill safety by keeping your grill at least 10 feet from your house; clean your grill regularly; check for gas leaks; keep a spray bottle of water handy to dowse flare-ups and avoid charring your food. Don’t forget to follow safe food handling methods to prevent food-borne illness (www.fsis.usda.gov).
Recycle more. If you aren’t recycling all of your plastics, cardboard, cans and glass, make that a priority this summer. Check with your city to see what things can and can’t be recycled through your local service. Make it a habit to think about packaging when purchasing an item – can it be recycled? Is there an alternative product that doesn’t require as much (or any) packaging?