Sun-Kissed Sustainability: Embrace a Greener Summer Glow

With it officially being summer, now is the perfect time to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. There are so many new things you can integrate into your life to be more environmentally friendly and enjoy the summertime to its fullest potential. 

1. Enjoy Local Food 

Take advantage of the fresh fruit and vegetables of the summer and shop at a farmer’s market near you. Shopping locally supports local businesses while reducing your carbon footprint — decreasing the mileage traveled to get delicious produce into your fridge. There is also less packaging at farmers’ markets, and local farms tend to avoid monoculture, thus improving biodiversity in your area! *TIP* You can bring your favorite tote bag to the farmer’s market to reduce extra waste. 

2. Thrift or Buy Secondhand 

Although thrifting is an all-year-round activity, Boston has many outdoor vintage and flea markets in the summertime. Buying secondhand gives items a new life rather than these items ending up in landfills, and virtually any textile in any condition can be reused, repurposed, or recycled If clean and dry. Because the production of clothing can often be resource-intensive, buying secondhand can prevent water usage and carbon dioxide emissions. So, take a trip to the Fenway Flea or the SoWa Vintage Market, and buy a unique outfit for the summer season. I mean, who doesn’t love to spice up their wardrobe? 

3. Solar Power the Summer 

With sunnier days ahead, there are a myriad of ways you can make use of the sun for your everyday needs. This summer, try to make use of the natural light from the sun instead of using electricity for artificial lighting. In fact, natural lighting can also be very beneficial to one’s mental health, as well as beneficial to the environment! You can also hang your clothes to dry outside instead of using a dryer. Here at BU, we use the sun with our new solar panels on the Track & Tennis Center, Booth Theater, and 25 Buick Street. If you are enjoying a walk in the area this summer, stop by and take a look! 

4. Participate in a Community Clean-Up 

Warmer weather equals more time outside (on the weekends, at least), meaning summer is the perfect time to round up some friends and participate in a clean-up of your community! Trash left outside can harm wildlife and well as your neighbors. Helping clean-up your community is a fun and direct way to make a positive impact on the environment and your neighborhood. So, grab a trash bag and spend the day in the sun! 

5. Embrace the Joys of Cycling 

Take advantage of the warmer weather by riding a bike to work. Around Boston, there is access to Bluebikes, so biking has never been easier. Students, faculty, and staff get a discount on memberships. And remember, always wear a helmet!

6. Unleash your Green Thumb 

Home gardens are the bee’s knees! Whether it’s flowers or food, growing plants in your yard can be very beneficial to the environment. Gardens increase biodiversity and reduce your carbon footprint. Growing plants at home can also support pollinator species which are very valuable to ecosystem services.  

7. Unlock the power of Composting 

To accompany your new garden, you can collect food waste in a compost bin in your kitchen and start and compost pile in your yard. Food waste is a major contributor to climate change and food waste comprises 24% of solid waste in U.S. landfills, and nearly 60% of all food waste in the US ends up in landfills. To use your food waste for your garden, follow these steps of composting, and don’t worry, it’s easier than you think! Also, if you don’t have a garden, Boston, as well as surrounding areas, offers free composting pickup! 

8. Beat the Heat with Fans 

Instead of blasting the air conditioning to keep your house or apartment cool in the summer, use fans! Aside from the pro of saving you money on your electricity bill, fans are a more environmentally friendly way of keeping cool in the summer heat. Because fans are less energy-intensive, they don’t produce as much pollution or emissions. Did you know that a fan that has been running for a full 24 hours uses less energy than running the air conditioning for 15 minutes! Sounds like it’s time to make the switch! 

9. Make Beach Trips Eco-Friendly 

Going to the beach is a huge part of summer, and there are so many ways to lower your environmental impact. One way to achieve an eco-friendly beach trip is by buying earth-conscious sunscreens. Some sunscreens can harm ocean life and, as a result, affect ocean biodiversity. Also, bring reusable containers and a packed lunch to the beach to reduce plastic and other trash, and make sure to bring a garbage bag for any trash you may have or for trash you find at the beach! Leaving trash at the beach can be hazardous to wildlife, and picking up trash makes the beach more enjoyable for you and other beach goers! 

10. Eat Ice Cream Cones

Ice cream is synonymous with summer. It tastes delicious and cools you down. What’s more, being eco-friendly is in the palm of your hand. Order your scoops in a cone to eliminate the waste from single-use cups and spoons.

Whether you are an experienced eco-warrior or just starting out, these tips are a great way to integrate environmentally friendly practices into your life. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and make sure the earth stays healthy and happy. And as they say, there is no better time than the present!