I have had several friends say that they were planning to stay home this year for their vacations. And while they felt good about not adding to their carbon footprint because they weren’t traveling by plane anywhere, they were unsure as to how to help keep their staycations on the green side. As their go-to person on all things green they asked me for help with suggestions of things they could do with the kids that were green and fun. Not wanting to disappoint my friends and to also offer real advice, I looked into it and came up with the following suggestions.
First, a foremost, it’s summer, so go outside. Enjoy simply being outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Doesn’t really matter where either. If you happen to live close to the beach, go there. If you live near a forest, go there. I’d suggest caution if you live near the desert, but if you bring plenty of water and know what you are doing, then by all means, go there. This not only gets you out of the house, thereby saving on electricity, but you also have the chance to discover and learn about what is in our own backyard, maybe quite literally.
While on a green vacation you shop locally right? So why not do the same on your green staycation? Most communities now have weekly farmer’s markets which are a great place to buy locally grown produce and to actually meet the people who grow the food you will be eating for dinner that evening. Not only will you get some great, very fresh, vine ripened food, you will also reduce the emissions and fuel needed to bring your food to you. Plus, if it is a food you are unfamiliar with, you can ask the growers about it and they are likely to give you a few good ideas (and maybe a few recipes to) as to how to consume it. This is how I became obsessed with persimmon several years ago.
And since it is summer, garage/yard sales are also in season and what better way to continue to reduce, re-use, and recycle goods. Most neighborhoods have at lest one garage sale on any given weekend. Finding them is generally not difficult and if you walk to them you are not only not adding emissions to the air but you are also getting some exercise. Plus you get to meet your neighbors and who knows, you might find a treasure too.
Since you are staying home, why not transform you ho-hum backyard into a productive garden. It doesn’t take much except elbow grease and a little planning. Figure out what fruits and vegetables you and your family enjoy most. Take that list to your local garden center or nursery and talk to the experts there about the best varieties for your area and your needs. If you are bit more experienced gardener, search the internet for varieties you have not tried before. Heirlooms are a great way to preserve traditional food sources but to also experience familiar foods in a different way. If you have a friend who is a horticulturalist, call them and ask for their help. And if you are very lucky, like I am, and have same said horticulturalist friend, willing to offer advice and seeds from her own garden in exchange for some fresh home baked bread, then what are you waiting for?
Don’t forget to get the kids involved. It is a great way to get them outside and to grow an appreciation for the food they eat and how it grows. If you have limited space, herbs are a great way to incorporate your own gardening skills into your daily cooking. Plus you can dry your summer bounty for use in the dead of winter. Having a productive garden will save you money, will get you outside to enjoy the summer weather, and will give you and your family the joy and satisfaction of eating foods you have grown yourselves. Trust me, no store bought tomato can compare to the one you pick fresh of the vine, especially when it is still warm from the sun. Delicious
And finally, look for things to do locally. You might be surprised to find out how many different things your community offers. Try the local library for fun reading events or movie nights for you and the kids. Community Centers and Civic Centers always have activities or classes to help fill those long summer days for kids on vacation or for a family on a staycation. And since you are staying local, consider walking or biking to the events. You can even roller skate, roller blade, or skateboard. And while it is true it may take you 30 minutes to get there instead of the 6 minutes it would take to drive, but you will be getting some exercise, meaning less time at the gym, and you’ll be outside enjoying the season. Make it a part of your daily life this summer and you’ll find you will want to continue to do all of these things throughout the year. By this time next year you will have made the change to a more green lifestyle and will be ready for even more green activities. And just think, with the money you save this year, you’ll be able to enjoy an eco-trek across the South America continent next summer.
And if you really need to just get away for a couple days stay in a local green hotel and ecotripper.com is sure to have one that is just what you need too.
Travel green. Live Green. Pass it on.