Summer is here!
Long beach days, warm nights and late sunsets are here for the season. And as for us (total sun-worshippers) we couldn’t be happier about it! But as everyone flocks to the beach at record speeds, we can’t help but take into consideration the harmful impact the influx of tourism can have on our quiet, beach town. While we live and breathe the sustainable lifestyle everyday, we thought it’d be nice to share a few tips that can help us all stay earth-conscious while we live our best life this summer.
1.Avoid disposable products for outdoor cookouts and picnics
Don’t get us wrong, we love the backyard, pool party BBQ as much as the next person, but stay intentional with your eating tools. While disposable napkins, plates, cups and utensils can make for a quick and easy cleanup, these items are less forgiving to our planet. Making these minor changes for your next get-together can have a big impact! Look for options such as compostable plates and trash bags, wooden utensils, silicone cups and reusable beeswax wraps for leftovers!
2. Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones
As the temperatures rise, so does our need to stay hydrated, and in many cases so does our carbon footprint. It may be easier to just buy a bottle of water from the corner store, but all those disposable plastic bottles can take a toll on the wallet – and more importantly – the planet. Disposable plastic bottles produce almost 3 billion pounds of waste each year in America, impacting wildlife, air quality, and water supplies. With so many environmental and health benefits to stay hydrated, there are nearly unlimited options for water bottles on the market today – from chemically safe BPA-free plastic – to glass and stainless steel versions.
3. Eat local
Farmers markets and seasonal produce hit their peak during the summer! They are also a great way to eat healthy, while helping the environment! Unlike food you may find at the grocery store, eating locally will reduce the amount of energy spent to transport the goods. Eating organic also minimizes the impact on the environment by reducing the amount of chemicals that could contaminate the water or soil. Support your local farmers!
4. Keep the beaches clean
Whether you’re at the beach for 5 minutes or 5 hours, find some trash! You’d be unpleasantly surprised at the amount you’re able to find when you’re actually looking for it. Triple check before you leave that you’ve picked up everything (including those beach toys). Leave only your footprints behind!
5. Use reef-friendly sunscreen
Did you know that the ingredients in your sunscreen can be harmful to marine life? The chemicals found in most sunscreens can accumulate in coral tissues and can induce bleaching, damage DNA, deform young and even kill vegetation. Remember to look for reef-friendly products this summer! We can all do our part!
6. Walk and bike more
Motor vehicles are responsible for close to 80% of carbon monoxide and 55% of nitrogen oxide emissions in America. As traffic continues to grow, our air quality will continue to decline. One way to combat this problem is to walk and bike more, especially in Amelia Island. Summer is the perfect time to take up these environmentally friendlier transportation methods, and they are also a great way to get exercise and positively impact your health.
7. Use reusable straws
Do our sea turtles a solid and skip the plastic straws! There are so many options now from silicone, stainless, glass, paper, compostable, collapsable or simply skip the straw all together and drink straight from the glass! Remember this summer to BYOS (bring-your-own-straw).
8. Wear eco-friendly sunglasses
Sunglasses can range from no-name cheap shades to designer brands that cost more than some people's rent. But no matter the price, most pairs are not environmentally friendly. They are made of plastic, metal, paint and other materials that are near impossible to recycle and will spend forever in a landfill. To combat this waste, companies are making sunglasses that are eco-friendly and even socially conscious. Some pairs are made from recycled materials, such as fishing nets, reused ocean plastic, old skateboards, and vintage records.
9. Shop secondhand
We know there is nothing better than picking out new outfits for your upcoming vacation (or stay-cation). But this summer, try out your local thrift store, yard sale or anywhere you can shop secondhand. By purchasing used goods, fewer new items are being produced, which results in less water used, reduced waste, and fewer carbon emissions. I’m sure you’d be impressed with what you can find!
10. Get outside
This one is a no-brainer. By spending time in nature, we observe and develop a deeper understanding and love for our planet. Which ultimately makes us feel more compelled to protect it!