The Low Down On Green Living
August 5th, 2009
With summer in full swing, it might be time for some new ideas for entertainment. New green ideas, of course! Whether it’s catching a movie in a theater powered by solar power or hosting a barbecue using (gulp) reusable plates and utensils, check out our suggestions on how to close out summer with a (green) bang.
1. Take in a flick. OK, not exactly an original idea, but cooling off in a dark movie theater is one of America’s favorite summer pastimes. Especially when enjoyed during the heat of the day, it feels like a true escape…at least for a few hours.
Regardless of whether you’re going to see the new indie flick or the latest summer blockbuster, consider the environment as you make your choices. Cut your transportation emissions by rallying the troops for a bike ride to the theater, or try taking public transportation. Eat something healthy before you go to avoid the over packaged, over-sugared junk food at the theater. Or, bring a large purse…I’m not advocating anything here, I’m just saying, it’s an option.
Though most theaters are kept at temperatures that seem to be just above freezing, there are a few that reduce their impact by drawing power from alternative energy. For example, Livermoore Cinemas in Livermoore, CA gets 35% of its energy needs from a solar installation on the roof. Or, for something a little more old-school, check out the wind-powered Harvest Moon Drive-In in Gibson City, IL. Though you’ll have to drive there (it being a drive-in and all) you can bring your own food and drinks. Bring unprocessed, organic treats and you’ll be saving more than money.
For an even greener experience – of both the environmental and cash varieties – consider joining one of the DVD services, like Netflix, which delivers movies right to your mailbox via the postal service. Less fun, perhaps, but perfect for a Tuesday night with the kids.
2. Catch up on your green TV So many programs, so little time! If you’re like me, your DVR gets backed up with shows during the busy spring months. With reruns ruling the airwaves this summer, check out some of the entertaining, educational programming on networks like Planet Green and Sundance. From cooking and home renovations to style and even science, there are shows about greening every aspect of work and play.
3. Throw a party Summer is the perfect time to throw a party, considering the long days and warm nights. Use e-vites to spread the word, and encourage people to carpool. If you’re up for a bit of cooking, scour your local farmers’ market or your garden to come up with the freshest, tastiest treats – your guests will thank you. Add wonderful sustainable wine, and you’re a hero!
If you’re the queen or king of the grill, choose propane over charcoal to minimize emissions. Don’t take the easy route with disposable plates and utensils – use reusable items and enlist a friend or two to help with clean-up. If you can’t swing reusables due to the number of people expected, look for biodegradable or compostable disposables. To keep pests at bay, try some of the more natural insect repellants, like those from Burt’s Bees. It only takes a little forethought to reduce the impact of your celebrations!
4. Have a garage sale Have your kids outgrown last year’s school clothes? Got a bunch of stuff stacked in the garage that’s still working or in good shape? Sounds like it’s time for a yard sale. Selling your old stuff will not only reduce your clutter, but will provide a new life for many of the things you can no longer use. Talk to others in your neighborhood about putting on a multi-family sale to garner additional buyers. Plus, they might have something that you could use! Get to know your neighbors, make a little extra money, and advance the concept of “reuse” – sounds like a good Saturday morning!
5. Do nothing at all My favorite. If just hanging out sounds like your speed (or you’re exhausted after your garage sale) consider hitting your local park, beach, lake, or even your own back yard. Pack some snacks, a blanket, and maybe a football or your trusty Scrabble board (depending on your sensibilities) and chill. Summer is prime relaxation time, so take advantage of the slower pace to decompress and recharge. Whatever you do this summer, consider the environment, but most importantly, have fun!
Popularity: 4% [?]