5 Sustainable Activities To Do This Summer

5 Sustainable Activities To Do This Summer

Sustainable Lifestyle Ideas for the Hotter Months 

With the warmer weather approaching, it’s time to ditch the old routine and make waves! In Toronto, we’ve been experiencing some gorgeous sunny days!! It really feels like the entire city has decided to head outdoors (following Covid-19 regulations of course).

So as you contemplate your own summer plans, consider changing it up by incorporating some sustainable activities. Whether that means getting out into nature, or taking a bike ride through the city, there are plenty of ways you can have an eco-friendly summer.

Indeed, summer tends to bring lots of change (especially here in the North). People are inclined to get out to nature and the outdoors – which is a totally great way to connect with the environment.

In fact, outdoor and sustainable activities may actually boom this year due as a result of all the time spent indoors during the pandemic. So how can we make the most of it?! And in particular, how can we spend our summer more sustainably? Are there any sustainable activities we can do? I have 5 great tips for you!

"It's finally summer!" - bring on the sustainable activities

1. Camping Sustainably 

Camping is one of the most environmentally-friendly activities you could do. Getting out in nature and spending time away from our everyday lives can do wonders for your mental health. 

Not to mention, camping is considered low risk for contracting Covid-19 because you’re outdoors! Yet, heading out to your favourite campground can come at a cost – financially or for the planet. So, as you pack up to hit the road, consider the following tips to minimize your impact: 

  • For plastic-free packaging, try beeswax paper or silicone bags. Perfect for packing some trail mix or fruit. 
  • Bus or carpool to the campground. If you’re headed to a further location, try staying there for a longer period of time. That way, you’re making most out of your trip!
  • Bring natural hygiene products. Try biodegradable soap or all natural toothpaste to leave no chemicals behind.
White tube of natural toothpaste pictured beside a bamboo toothbrush on a clean wooden surface. Image text reads "consider bringing natural toothpaste and a bamboo toothbrush!"
[Image: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels.com]

Keep It Mindful

Remember the need for mindfulness and respect when it comes to the wildlife that live there. You’re in their territory, after all. Cleaning up after yourself is key! It genuinely helps to protect our forests. In addition, try and keep to the existing trails and campgrounds when deciding to set up camp.

As we divert from trails, soil compacts and can make it harder for certain plants to grow. Ultimately, this can lead to erosion. I’m sure there are other points to be aware of, but a good guiding principle remains the golden rule. Treat others how you wish to be treated.💕

Little girl and deer.

Stay safe and remember to bring lots of mineral sunscreen with you!

2. Gardening 

Garden in backyard with jalapeño plant in soil
My mom and I planted jalepeño seeds in our garden, waiting for them to grow!

Have you always thought of growing your own herbs but never got around to it? Well, now’s your chance! Take the summer months to develop a real veggie garden for yourself (if you have the space). Growing your own food, whether that be vegetables, herbs, or fruit can minimize food waste and scraps. It’s also a great opportunity to use that compost! For those of you who’ve gotten onboard composting (see our how to guide), it represents a nutrient-rich source of organic fertilizer for the garden!

Small basil plant in grey pot
A small basil plant we planted to use for pasta dishes!

Avoid any harsh pesticides, however, as they are damaging to the environment, and will enter your produce. If pests or weeds do occur, you can remove them naturally by making your own organic spray, or attracting lady bugs to the garden to remove pests for you!

Ultimately, growing some food at home is awesome! Not only does it save you a trip to the grocers – it can also help you cut down on waste. You can avoid the unnecessary plastic wrapping, and only use what you need (the rest can stay on the vine awhile until you do need it).

As an added bonus, gardening can be a genuinely fun outdoor activity! It’s focused and calming, and you can potentially get in get some exercise (depending on how much you have going on of course). It’s also great for your health to eat fresh whole foods, and you can discover cool ways to incorporate those veggies into your Meatless Monday recipes!

3. Head to the Farmers Market 

Many people shopping at a farmer's market on a sunny day
I was able to visit the downtown Brampton farmer’s market last year, and had a great time enjoying local food and shopping for veggies! [Image: quickbitenews.com]

Support your local shops and farms this summer by visiting the farmers’ market! You can find the best fresh, and in season produce, as well as raw honey products, fresh juice, local baked goods, and more! By purchasing from the farmers’ market, you’re directly supporting the people that have a hand in growing and managing the food supply.

With the produce at a farmers’ market, you’re likely to avoid the chemicals and pesticides that come along with supermarket food. Not to mention, you’re getting conveniently sourced food – which travels 27 times less the distance than grocery store food.

A farmers’ market also allows you to get out and connect with your community, and understand that sometimes you want to prioritize quality over price. Yes, farmers’ markets can be pricier, but that’s because you’re paying the true cost of farm production, and not just a shortcut version. 

4. Bike Riding 

City bike shares represent a great way to power your sustainable activities
Bike Share Toronto station [Image: cp24.com]

Another one of my favourite sustainable activities is biking! Go ahead and invite a couple (now vaccinated) friends and go on a city adventure! Bike Share Toronto, for example, is a perfectly convenient transportation option for those looking to get around. We already know biking is a great alternative to driving, so why not consider it for more than your commute. Try exploring your city or surrounding area by bike. There’s always plenty to discover! While you’re at it, think about using a bike share network if you haven’t yet. It’s both sustainable and fun!

Bicycles are essential for thriving cities (see our Tokyo post). In fact, a lot more cities are transitioning to updated biking infrastructure in order to build live-able cities. This in turn helps make the city more attractive and reduces traffic flow.

People-oriented versus transit-oriented cities is clearly the way to go! It’s way better for the environment and makes it easier to get in some exercise. Indeed, bike riding should be on everyone’s to do list this summer!

5. Sustainable Picnics 

picnic with friends

Nothing beats a nice, relaxing picnic with your closest friends. Often times it only requires minimal traveling (nearby parks are key), and you don’t need to bring a lot of things with you! In fact, why not pack up those farmers’ market goodies you discovered!😉

To help make your picnics more sustainable, try transitioning to zero-waste. That way, you’re leaving the park in the same condition it was when you arrived. Picnic items are notorious for single-use plastic items.

Instead, try switching to reusable cutlery and silicone packaging, and reduce your waste in the process. Indeed, picnics can be a pretty low-cost, entertaining, and environmentally-friendly summer activity. All you need is some friends, great food, and maybe a card game or a frisbee!

Dive into Sustainability

Granny diving in!

I hope these ideas for sustainable activities help you have a more a more eco-friendly summer! It’s worth remembering that we all start out with baby steps. Given time, you can totally improve upon whatever you set yourself to!

So if you’ve made the decision to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, summertime is the perfect time to get into it. It’s also a great opportunity to get outside and maybe do some reflecting on how you can support your local environment! Happy summering!!☀️😎


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