Summer is almost here, less than a month away now! When I think about summertime, it's beach trips, vacations, watermelon, and smores. It's about enjoying the (mostly) beautiful weather with friends and family. For many people, summertime signals time to live carefreely and have fun. We have this upbeat attitude toward the months to come, and I think it's because of all those years of getting out of school for the summer. But even now, it's been a full year since I've been out of school, and the same feelings are there. The vibes are high, and so is consumption. This summer, I have a few tips to not only make your summer sustainable but possibly even make this summer the best one yet.
Make Your Beach Trip Ocean Friendly
This is possibly the most simple and cost-effective tip of the summer, but BYOB! The night before your beach trip, freeze some water bottles, grapes, and make some vegan sandwiches, then bring them to the beach in a cooler. To make this even more environmentally friendly, buy your snacks and food without packaging, and reuse water bottles. And here's the kicker, when you are at the beach, don't leave any trash behind, and make sure to recycle if you brought plastic water bottles. Next, if you haven't already, check out my in-depth article on sunscreen here and get some reef-safe, mineral sunscreen. Also, ditch the spray sunscreen. The lotion is more effective and leaves a smaller environmental impact when compared to the spray. If you're like me and haven't bought a swimsuit in 5+ years and really want a different one, try getting a used one or a sustainably made one. Oh, and hopefully, you are all already doing this, but carpool to the beach! Or, if you live close enough, take public transit or bike there. Lastly, this goes without saying, but these tips are good for any outdoor outing you might embark on this summer.
Fun fun fun; who doesn't need a solid vacation in the summer? With the past year, I think we all do, especially those who are fully vaccinated. Tip number one: bring clothes you already own, try to style them in different ways to reinvigorate some life into them. Borrow from your friends, and coordinate packing outfits with them so that you can all share. If you're sitting here, thinking, 'Lauren, there's no way I'm going to listen to that,' well then you already know my next suggestion: thrift new clothes and accessories for your trip! A new trip doesn't have to be associated with the idea that we need new outfits to wear. Before you pack anything, make a thorough list to ensure you don't forget anything. Then go through your list multiple times to make sure you have everything. This will help reduce your consumption because you won't have to buy anything you forgot. Additionally, think about taking a local trip to save money and lessen your carbon footprint. Throughout your trip, eat more plant-based meals, bring reusables with you, and avoid throwing things out. Remember to avoid driving, try to walk or bike more, especially if you're on the beach. Take a morning bike ride to see the sunrise. If you are flying, try to book with an airline company that already invests in offsets and meets sustainability goals.
This summer is hot girl summer, but you know what no one ever talks about doing to really have a hot girl summer? Eating right. If you want your best body and to feel energized this summer, you gotta eat those fruits and veggies. Food is also an important area of sustainability. A plant based diet has hundreds of positive effects, whereas an animal based diet has hundreds of negative consequences. Its easier to avoid plastic, eat local, and save money when you choose to consume plants. And I mean there's nothing hotter than a healthy, happy girl also changing the world. ;) If you do decide to eat plant based, take a trip to the farmers market, this is a cute date or trip for friends, and you lower your impact. When you're there, pick a out a new thing to try or cook with. Chef up some delicious food for your friends and family, you don't even have to tell them its vegan, part of the fun is letting them figure it out. After dinner, sit by the fire and make them ~shockingly~ vegan smores! It will be practically impossible to ditch packaging or plastic for this, but remember you don't need to give up everything you love to be sustainable. Eating vegan alone is a huge help to you, others, and mama earth.
Did I miss anything? If you have any other thoughts or suggestions for ways to have a fun, sustainable summer let me know in the comments! Another important tip I forgot was try to save water this summer. Ditch water balloons, water guns, or visit community pools instead of getting your own. This is also why thrifting and buying local is so important, because it conserves water. If you haven't heard, California is one of the worst droughts to date, its insane to see the lakes dried up and this is only the beginning of the climate crisis if we don't make a change.