It's August already (can you believe it?), which means that we're at the high point of summer. As parents start thinking about heading back to school, I have a few suggestions for how to enjoy what's left of the dog days of summer while they last. And - bonus points - they're easy on the earth.
Green Ways to Celebrate Summer
- Head to the Beach - Taking a dip in the water is a fabulous way to cool off without burning a whole lot of energy on AC. To make your day on the sand a little greener search for a non-toxic sunscreen, pack along your water bottle and snacks in reusable packaging and make sure to pack out all your trash. If you choose a local beach you can walk, cycle or take transit to, all the greener.
- Take a Bike Ride - Of course riding a bicycle is green anytime, but it's more fun when the weather is warm and dry. Celebrate summer by getting out and cycling in your community. Once again, make sure to bring along your reusable water bottle for hydration, and don't forget that non-toxic sunscreen.
- Forage for Berries - Here in the Pacific Northwest blackberries are in season. They grow wild pretty much everywhere, so picking them is a great way to enjoy some fresh, seasonal, foraged treats. What to do with all those berries? That leads me to my next suggestion ...
- Preserve the Harvest - How can you enjoy the fruits of your gardening and foraging labours all year long? Preserving, of course. A couple of weeks ago I shared three easy suggestions for preserving food. Canning, freezing, pickling and drying may seem intimidating at first, but they're immensely satisfying. And just think how sweet your homemade jam will taste in the dead of winter.
- Visit a Farmers' Market - Don't have easy access to foraged or gardened produce? Visit a local farmers' market, or drop by a farmstand. Farmers often offer discounts when you buy produce in bulk, making this not only a green way to celebrate summer, but a way to save a few bucks on your food bill. Your frozen blueberries will be way cheaper than storebought, and you'll know exactly where they came from.
- Spend Time in Nature - Winter will come again, as we all know. Make the most of the warm, sunny weather by getting outside as much as possible. I've already mentioned visiting the beach, cycling and foraging, which are all outdoor activities. There's also walking, hiking, gardening, camping and just finding a nice spot to sit and contemplate the great outdoors.
- Make Frozen Treats - On a hot summer's day, a frozen treat really hits the spot, but who wants a bunch of sugar and artificial coloring? Instead, make your own frozen treats. Stainless steel popsicle molds and real fruit combine for a delicious popsicle you can feel good about eating.