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3 Ways to Have a Green Summer (Without Touching a Garden)

The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship:

source: Katie Kimball

I have a brown thumb and just sold my house and all the soil surrounding it (oh, and I’m expecting in August), so this summer is just not the summer of gardening for me. Even though things are about to get completely crazy, I still want to try hard to keep all my eco-conscious sensibilities from flying out the window.

Here are 3 simple, no-brainer ways I can enjoy the summer warmth without hurting the earth:

1. Kick off the A/C

If you’re lucky, your house already has trees for natural shade. If not, you can still be savvy about cooling your house naturally and relying less on the air conditioning.

As long as you live in a place with cool nights, be sure to open all the windows in the evening, as soon as the air outside is comfortable. In the mornings, be on the ball about closing down the house before things gets warmed up.

Close blinds and curtains, especially on the south side of the house, to keep the sunshine from heating things up.

Spend time in a basement or playing outside if the main floor starts to get stuffy in the afternoon.

Of course, there are just days (sometimes weeks) when the A/C is called for; but with the right timing and a little attention, you can beat the system sometimes. When you do use air conditioning, set it for a few degrees higher than the norm and just dress for the heat. Mine is usually between 75-77F.

2. Pack No-Waste Picnics

When you’re on the run, it’s tempting to use disposables for convenience. For those busy days, traveling times, or picnics in the park, try hard to avoid creating waste while you eat.


  • Tablecloth for the picnic table
  • Reusable water bottles for everyone
  • Cloth napkins
  • Real utensils
  • Glass, stainless steel, or even plastic containers from home for your applesauce, yogurt or fruit cups, instead of the single serve cups from the store
  • Avoid plastic baggies by using cloth wraps, sandwich containers, or other reusable sandwich bags

3. Just Stay Home

With the kids out of school, commit to making one or two days a week “no drive” days to save fuel (and cash). Resist the temptation to buzz around to so many summertime activities. Don’t grocery shop. Just stay home.

Let the kids run through the sprinkler (while watering your grass anyway, of course). Read some good books under a tree. Dig for bugs and toads. Just stay home…and enjoy it.

What “green” issues do you foresee with the warmer weather? What commitments are you making to keeping your eco-impact low this summer?

Katie Kimball is a mom of two who spends a ton of time in the kitchen making real food with whole ingredients and then blogs about her successes and failures at Kitchen Stewardship. She believes everything in life is a gift from God and should be taken care of wisely.