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5 awesome summer activities you didn’t realize were eco-friendly
Blog post by Roopa Suppiah, Co-founder of Water Well-ness Project – Get free updates of new blog posts here.
You’ve been waiting half a year for summer, right? So now that it’s finally here, how are you going to make the most of it? Water skiing courtesy of your friend’s motorboat, cranking the air-conditioning as you lounge in the house on a Saturday afternoon, and road-tripping across the country are pretty appealing ideas. But what about some ideas that keep the environment in mind. We have 5 activities that bring you face to face with summer in all its glory without sacrificing your commitment to supporting an awesome planet.
Organic Winery Tour – Summer just isn’t summer without a crisp glass of wine sipped on a patio under blue skies of a sunny day. That’s why visiting an Organic Winery is at the top of our list. No matter how many times I do wine tours, I always am amazed by how much care and fine-tuning goes into making wine. If you feel the same way and haven’t been to an organic winery before, just wait because organic wineries take wine making to a whole new level of care and precision. The term “organic winery” differs in definition from place to place. In Ontario, Canada it means 100% of the grapes are grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers, compost is made naturally from manures and food compost, and certain winemaking techniques are used that incorporate little manipulation and flavor additives. The terminology is tricky, but even if a winery isn’t “certified” organic, this doesn’t mean they don’t practice in this vigilant way. Getting organic certified by a certifying body has a cost, so some small scale organic wineries choose not to go through that step. Other terms such as “Sustainable” and “Biodynamic” have precise definitions of their own, but the important thing to know is that these wineries are doing their part to not only make exquisitely tasty wine, but also are achieving healthy ecosystems, waste reduction and water and energy conservation through their methods. So, find out where your nearest organic winery is and go tantalize your tongue with hints of pear and citrus.
Visit a Zoo or Aquarium – I went on and on about wine (because let’s face it, wine is great!) so I’ll cut to the chase about this next summer eco-friendly activity: visiting a zoo or aquarium. Although this activity may have some controversy around it since holding animals in captivity if they aren’t purely rescued animals or endangered ones may be considered inhumane, zoos and aquariums have some redeeming qualities. Almost all participate in robust environment conservation efforts. For example, the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada supports local shoreline clean ups and financially supports animal habitat and species conservation programs. Zoos, aquariums and the like also have huge educational impact for both kids and adults. After seeing the stunning colours of a peacock’s tail in real life or getting to meet a seahorse up close as he stares at you through the glass, I dare you not to be inspired to work hard for this planet!
Plant an indoor garden – The next activity of the summer is getting down and dirty with mother earth by growing an indoor garden. Not everyone has the luxury (or the desire) to have a backyard to plant a sprawling pumpkin patch. But, creating a small indoor garden is the perfect way to bring the summer indoors so you never have to be a moment without it! An indoor garden is pretty fantastic because it allows you to grow vegetables and herbs that you can harvest and feast on throughout the summer, it lightens your grocery bill every week, it creates clean air for your home, and it’s a tasty daily reminder of how important the earth is for our very existence. Get started on your indoor garden right now (actually, after you finish reading this article) with instructions here.
Summer cleaning – The fourth item on the eco-friendly must do’s for the summer is a house clean up. Why should spring be the only time that we can rejuvenate by purging our last 7 years of too tight dresses or printers that came free with every electronic device you’ve ever bought. Take a rainy Sunday (because you know this summer is going to have one of those), choose a high yield room in your house (e.g. the “I’ll need it one day, I’ll put it in here” closet) and sort through the items, separating them into “donate to stores/charitable organizations”, “recycling” and “Oh, I was looking for this” piles. You will love yourself while ensuring the community and the earth are helped out too!
Berry Picking – And the final, and probably the most fun, summer ecofriendly activity that you cannot miss this summer is good ol’ fashioned berry picking. I pray that every one of you reading this article has indeed had the pleasure of frolicking through rows upon rows of blueberry bushes, but if, for some twisted merciless reason you have not had this pleasure, you really must go. Berry picking is an ideal activity when you want to do something outdoors but don’t have a lot of time. You can head over to a local berry farm on a workday evening, and within an hour or two, you have more strawberries than you have room in your fridge and deep freezer for. I love berry picking because it feels really wholesome to be able to buy local, meet and support local farmers and to help keep food production local. And FYI, a whole bunch of strawberries accidentally going into your mouth during the picking process is not considered stealing (at least that’s what I tell myself!)
So there you go – your eco-friendly summer plans all set in a picnic basket. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to scratch your head about what to do to make the most of this summer? You are welcome! Now go out there and celebrate summer the right way! I’ll meet you on the patio with a Pinot Grigio in hand.
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