With summer right around the corner, we are all getting ready for long hot days. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be excited to get a new summer wardrobe and start working on your tan. Most of us are unaware that mindlessly buying these summer items could be bad for both our health and the environment. Never fear though, I’ve compiled a list of super easy ways you can enjoy this summer in an eco-friendly way.
During the summer, we often want to be out and about more. With trips to the beach and to BBQs becoming more frequent, it’s important to think of ways to reduce your car usage.
Obviously, one way to reduce the number of cars used is to care share. Figure out who is going to the same place and go together in one car. This way you can save on gas money, travel together and cut down on your carbon footprint.
When the days are warmer, getting out on your bike seems enticing. Cycling to places is not only better for the environment but it’s better for you. Cycling is a great way to keep fit whilst you get to where you need to go, and if you don’t want to break a sweat you don’t have to.
Electric bikes/ scooters
If cycling isn’t for you but you want to get around in a more environmentally friendly way, electric bikes are your new best friend. Ranging from between $400 to over $1000 for high-end bikes, they can be a bit of an investment. However, they’re fun and you can get some fresh air, do some exercise if you want, and get where you need to go, all in a more eco-friendly way.Amazon’s best selling electric bikes
Once summer hits, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I love to lay outside and get a tan. Obviously, this comes with having to protect our skin using sunscreen. Recently we have become more informed about the harmful chemicals used in mainstream sunscreens. These chemicals are bad for us and damage our environment. For example, some chemicals, in particular, oxybenzone, are getting into the water and bleaching coral reefs. When looking for a sunscreen, browse the ingredients and look for zinc oxide, a natural active ingredient that protects you from the sun. Though these sun creams do leave you with a slight white sheen, they don’t contain any harmful, potentially cancer-causing chemicals and protect our environment. You want one with simple, easy to read ingredients and preferably organic. Here are a few environmentally friendly sunscreens you can choose from this summer.
This company offers a variety of sun care products. You can buy eco-friendly sunscreen with SPF 15,30 or 50. They also offer an eco-friendly tanning oil which doesn’t contain any active sun-blocking ingredients.
This company produces biodegradable eco-friendly sunscreens which contain only simple, safe ingredients. They offer a selection of sunscreens with SPF 30 or 50 along with tanning oils and after sun aloe vera gel. You are able to buy in bulk which can help save money. These sunscreens guarantee that they are reef and coral safe so you don’t have to worry about damaging the planet. They also offer free shipping on all US orders, which is a plus.
This is one of the more well-known brands and they offer a wide selection of sunscreens. It seems they have recently added a “less whitening” sunscreen for those of us who don’t want to look quite so pasty after applying it. This product contains only natural ingredients, is non-GMO, biodegradable and cruelty-free, but it does use beeswax so it isn’t vegan.Biodegradable, non-GMO sunscreen
I have already written a post about how fast fashion is bad for both our environment, health and fellow humans. This is no different for summer clothing and bathing suits. It’s fun to buy new summer clothes and having clothing that makes you feel confident does wonders for your mental health. So this summer, try opting for a sustainable and eco-friendly brand. This often means paying a little bit extra but this is because the companies are using good quality materials and are properly paying their workers. Often the cheap bathing suits we buy fall apart after one season, whereas these will last much longer so saving you money in the long run.
This company produces bathing suits as well as gym clothing. Their products are made from recycled plastic bottles and are super funky. They are a little pricey but they come with the knowledge that you are protecting the earth. They do offer free shipping on orders over $50. You can also use this link to get 20% off your order!Shop sustainable bathing suits
You can buy both summer clothing as well as bathing suits from this company. Another cool thing about this brand is that they sell wedding clothing so you can look incredible on your big day whilst doing good for the planet. They are pretty expensive but this company send out quarterly sustainability reports so you can be sure your clothing is being produced in a sustainable way. Not only do they purchase and manufacture their clothing sustainably they also make sure they replace the resources they use. They also sound like a really great employer.
Patagonia is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands. Not only do they produce high-quality clothing that is perfect for adventuring and looks good, but they are also a very environmentally and socially conscious company. They actively campaign to protect our planet and do this in every aspect of the brand. They ensure they source sustainable and ethical products and work closely with manufacturers. Basically, their motto is to save the earth. Their clothing is reasonably priced for the quality and will last a long time.
Food and Drink.
As the warmer days draw nearer, everyone is getting their grills out and thinking about the BBQs ahead. However, did you know that the very food you’re grilling could be bad for the environment?
Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gasses than all of the cars and trucks combined, in fact, it is believed to be THE single biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses. Further to this, cows and sheep are responsible for 37% of methane a substance which is 23 times as warming as CO2.
Animal agriculture also uses an astounding amount of water. To produce just 1lb of beef takes between 13,000-100,000 litres of water, that is more than you would use showering for 6 months. Not only does it use a lot of water but it also pollutes a lot of our natural water sources. Waste from animal agriculture, including antibiotics, hormones and pesticides is running into our waterways and polluting these habitats.
Livestock farming is responsible for 70% of deforestation in the Amazon, meaning that boycotting palm oil is all well and good, but if we want to make any real change, we have to cut down on our animal consumption.
Eating for the people of the planet.
An unthinkable amount of people are starving throughout the world whilst we are over-consuming. If we switched to a plant-based diet we would have enough resources and space to feed everyone in the world. The grain that is used to feed livestock could feed 1.3 billion people. On top of this, animal agriculture takes up a lot of space, 30% of the Earths total land (that’s a size roughly as big as China) is being used purely for animal agriculture.
Eating for your own health.
Eating a plant-based diet is not only good for the world but also for yourself. According to the American Diet Association, people who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet typically have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, less chance of developing certain cancers and a reduced risk of Ischemic heart disease. That is only one study from a wealth of information that suggests a plant-based diet is highly beneficial for our health. It is also becoming more obvious that the animals used for commercial meat are being pumped with hormones and antibiotics which are then being eaten by us. This intake of anti-biotics is destroying our own good gut bacteria and also leading to the antibiotic resistance we are facing.
— Information is taken from here —
What to eat instead?
There are TONNES of plant-based alternatives to the foods that you love. Beyond Meat have a range of burgers and sausages that taste delicious and will leave you feeling satisfied this BBQ season. Oumph also has great BBQ options including ribs, burgers and ‘meat’ chunks. There are a lot of other products out there including vegan salad dressings, taco “meat”, ice-creams and so much more.
In most grocery stores you will be able to find a whole host of plant-based alternatives that will leave you feeling a lot lighter and more energetic.
Another good option is to grill veggies. If you spice them they’ll still be super satisfying. Corn cobs, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms all taste delicious when grilled, and they’re healing and healthy foods.
I hope this article gave you a lot of information and ideas about how to make this summer more eco-friendly. Protecting the environment is about us all doing what we can. Obviously, I don’t expect everyone to do every single thing on this guide but if everyone tries their best and makes some changes then it will make a big difference. The most important part is that you make the transition to an eco-friendly lifestyle fun and satisfying. There are loads of alternatives out there so you don’t have to feel like you’re missing out.
For tips on how to have a more eco-friendly summer check out this post I wrote for vegansisters on sustainable ways to prepare for a summer holiday 🙂