With easing restrictions and months of feeling stuck at home, this summer feels to many like a return to normalcy and an opportunity to enjoy the luxuries of an open economy and open airports. Bucket-lists have risen in popularity in an effort to make the most of this period. However, in a world of rising consumption and pollution, it is important to be aware of the environmental implications of the decisions we make. Although most of the burden of blame falls on corporate and government inaction, there are still ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints and contribute to more cyclical economic systems. In this list, I have highlighted fifteen activities to incorporate into your bucket lists for this summer; it is a great time to get educated and get active in making more sustainable choices for a more sustainable future!
1. Take a trip to the farmer’s market
- This is a great way to spend a morning, while also shopping more locally and sustainably
- To go one step further, bring your friends with you and challenge each other to create a multi-course meal with the foods you buy!
- Find the nearest one
2. Start a compost in your backyard
3. Buy second-hand
- Summer is the perfect time to try to evolve your sense of style, and the most environmentally ethical way to do this is to try to buy the majority of your purchases second-hand
- Flea markets, thrift stores, estate sales, and garage sales are great places to find second-hand goods
- By going through your closet and donating items you don’t see yourself wearing anymore, you can help feed this cycle and avoid sending your clothes to the landfill
5. Try going vegan for a week
- A plant-based diet can not only be beneficial to health, but it has a massive impact on emissions as a result of the meat and dairy industries, and other forms of pollution from the seafood industry
- Helpful resources
6. Read a book about the environment and climate change
- Are you on booktok? Are you one of many who have gotten back into reading lately? Try throwing a non-fiction book onto your To-Be-Read list to gain a more complex understanding of our changing planet
- Want to take it one step further? Start a book club to discuss these reads with like-minded peers
- Recommendations: This Changes Everything — Naomi Klein, The Uninhabitable Earth — David Wallace-Wells, Rising — Elizabeth Rush
7. Learn from podcasts
- Is reading not your thing? Podcasts are a great way to expand your knowledge without having to take hours out of your day
- Enjoy these creators while doing everyday activities like exercising, driving or cooking: How To Save A Planet, MIT’s TILclimate, For What It’s Earth
8. Watch a documentary about an environmental issue
- Recommendations: Gasland, Lowland Kids, Chasing Corals, How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, Cowspiracy
9. Contact your local politicians about the issues you care about!
- Government policies make a huge difference, so let your senators and representatives know how you would like them to be voting in the best interest of the planet
- Find your representative
- What to say
10. Start a produce garden
11. Clean up trash in your community
12. Challenge: Try Shopping completely single-use-plastic free on your next grocery trip
13. Enjoy nature (and leave no trace)
- Visit a national park
- Go on a picnic
- Go stargazing
- Get up for sunrise
14. Make some eco-friendly swaps
- Trade that disposable camera for a film camera. (You can find these at second-hand stores!)
- Try out packages hygiene products. Either buy from zero-waste businesses or make your own.
- Make the switch to compostable trash bags. (Normal trash bags take 500 years to decompose!)
- Use reef safe sunscreen
- Research the brands you are consuming from
15. JOIN YCAT! If you are already a member, try out a new committee or subteam! We would love to have you!
Good luck, HAGS (Have A Green Summer)!
Completed items on this bucket list? Send your pictures to @youthclimateinc for a potential feature!