The weather is still warm, kids are out of school, and we’re all relatively home-bound. Now that it’s mid-summer, you might be in need of some new activities that observe social distancing while also being fun and affordable. Why not use this time to engage in activities to help the environment? Below are four ideas to get you started.
Native Plant Walk
Are you familiar with the native plants in your area? As gardening booms during the pandemic, there’s no better time to learn about the original landscape of the land you inhabit. This could include your immediate yard and garden. You can also venture out into your neighborhood to search for and understand how native species exist today. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, use that as motivation to invest in native plants in your environment. Also, if you find invasive species on your native landscape tour, don’t be afraid to remove them or organize in your community to stop the spread.
Make Art Out of Trash
Turning trash into treasure is not a new trend, but sometimes we need a little reminder of just how easy, fulfilling, and modern your trash can become! Recycling empty household items and turning them into something beautiful (and useful) is something the whole family can take part in. Ideas abound on Pinterest and YouTube, or wherever you go for artistic inspiration. Keep in mind that it could take a week or two before you’ve saved up enough supplies to execute your vision!
Though humidity-free summer days are hard to come by in Minnesota, next time the sunshine calls your name, try your very own zero-waste picnic. Reusable containers, silverware, and cloth napkins are the kinds of things you can find at home. Food preparation, location, and supplies are also part of the fun—brainstorm ahead of time to decrease the amount of waste you produce as much as possible. Pro tip: bring an extra empty container for scraps you can compost later.
Track Your Waste for a Week
Tracking how much waste you produce for a week sounds intimidating, but it’s easier than you might think. It’s also a good way to measure what kind of impact your household is having on the environment. Set out boxes in your backyard or garage to collect any waste you produce. Kids, pets, and activities you partake in outside of the house are all fair game. By organizing what you’ve collected, you can understand where the waste in your house comes from and how you can strategize cutting it down. Even the act of saving all of the waste you produce for a week will affect your waste consciousness! To take it a few steps further, try composting (if you don’t already), or researching what your city does with trash and recycling.
If these ideas are already incorporated in your routine, remember that you can always be more conscious of your impact on the earth. Consider volunteering with organizations such as MN350 or Sunrise Movement, reaching out to your local elected officials to understand how they work to preserve the environment, and divest from companies that aren’t on the same page about the climate crisis.