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Tips for a more sustainable summer

Whatever adventures you've got planned for the coming weeks, we've got some tips to help keep your summer sustainable

Megan Hermes | 11 Aug 2021

Walker carrying their reusable water bottle

Whatever adventures you've got planned for the next few weeks, we've got some tips to help keep your summer sustainable. A new UN report this week has given the starkest warning yet about the urgency of the climate crisis – and we all have a part to play in tackling it. By making greener choices we have the opportunity to demonstrate our love for our global neighbours and for God’s creation while sending a clear message that we want decision-makers to act to build a better, fairer world. 

Tourist in your own town

The need to stay closer to home has reminded us how much there is to do and enjoy on our doorstep. Here are a few ways to enjoy your local area in an environmentally friendly way.

  • Shop local. Local shops and restaurants often source their goods and produce locally, helping to reduce the miles they’ve travelled and therefore their carbon footprint. By staying local it’s also easier to walk or cycle to get there, reducing the air pollution of your journey.
  • Remember your reusables! Whether a day trip or a full staycation, remember to take your own bottles, cups and cutlery to reduce disposable plastic usage. It always helps to plan ahead – is there anything you can bring along to avoid having to purchase while out?
  • Explore your local area. Adventures don’t have to be far away – why not check out a new local park on foot or on a bike? If you’re in a city, why not look up any local electric bike hire schemes for the day?
  • Make the most of local events. With events starting up again, there may be more happening in your neighbourhood than you realise! If you have some free time, why not check local community boards or social media groups for local events you can join (abiding by coronavirus regulations in your area)?

Take some time to take stock

While some of our regular calendar events might still be on pause, this summer could be a great opportunity to take a step back and look at which areas of your lifestyle you could adapt to live more sustainably.

  • Do a ‘waste audit' at home. Go through different rooms and note down the products you use. Could you find any lower-waste alternatives for them? Or take the time to go through your waste as a family, record what items you throw out or recycle the most, and then research what lower-waste options you could replace them with. If there’s a few of you in your household, why not turn it into a summer challenge for who can reduce their waste the most?
  • Calculate your carbon footprint. Carbon calculators can be helpful tools to pick up tips on how to further reduce emissions, and Giki Zero is a great tool for whatever stage of the journey you are on. It could also spark conversations in your household to learn what areas of your lifestyle you could change to live a little greener.

Keep cool with green fuel 

Now could be a great time to look at your energy provider, check if they’re using renewable sources and, if not, consider swapping to a renewable energy provider. To find out how you can make the switch check out Tearfund’s Big Switch platform.

Keeping it clean and green this summer

If you've been spending more time at home than usual this year, you might notice that cleaning is a job that never ends! How we clean has the potential to impact the environment – from the ingredients in the products we buy and the packaging they come in to the temperature we wash our clothes at. 

  • Reduce packaged cleaning products. Nowadays, there seems to be a plastic-packaged product for everything. This can quickly add up to a lot of plastic bottles in your cupboards –- and eventually your bin. Could you find a local refill store to refill your supplies, or find a refill service online?
  • Or why not take things a step further and make your own cleaning supplies? Many of the chemicals in our cleaning products can have a negative effect on the natural environment.
  • When you put on a load of washing over the summer, try lowering the temperature setting. This reduces the amount of power your machine uses as 90% of your machine's energy use is for heating the water. Lowering the temperature also helps your clothes last longer.
  • Make use of the warmer weather to air-dry your clothes! Air-drying could reduce your carbon footprint as well as your electricity bill.

Summer BBQ menu 

Introducing more plant-based meals into your diet is one of the best ways to cut your carbon footprint, and it's often a healthier choice too. Why not add some meat-free alternatives to the dinner table this summer? Lots of supermarkets now offer great meat-free BBQ options, so why not try some plant-based alternatives on the grill over the holidays – or try eating meat-free one day a week or opting for a vegetarian option whilst eating out. 

Whatever you get up to this summer, remember your actions and everyday choices make a difference – and influence those around you to take action too. This goes hand-in-hand with calling on leaders to act. Together, we can build a greener, fairer world that will help people in poverty who are hardest hit by the climate crisis.

  Megan Hermes

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