Weekend Sustainability

Katie LaPotin, Seedlings Corp, July 2, 2011

The beginning of a new month is a great time to make changes and improve your life. So why not make the most of it and make your life a little bit greener?

Yet making drastic changes for those of us who have 9-to-5 jobs isn’t always possible. That’s why we have the weekend. And with summer fully upon us now and beautiful weather beckoning us to play outside, I’m going to focus specifically on a few ways that you can spend your weekend both having fun and living the sustainable life.

Biking
Cycling is en vogue again, so to speak. Across the country municipal governments are creating new bike paths and bike lanes, making it easier to commute on two wheels. The concept of bike sharing has made a splash in many cities, including Washington D.C. and Minneapolis. Bike sharing, as the name suggests, is when members pay a small monthly fee to gain access to bikes stationed at convenient locations (such as outside transit stops or near public buildings) that can be returned to any other location in the system. If you feel more comfortable with your own set of wheels, investing up front in a solid bike and accessories will pay off in the future.

The best part of biking in my opinion–other than reducing carbon emissions and saving you valuable money that would otherwise be spent on gas and bus far–is that you’re getting a great work-out and perfecting your beach body at the same time!

Farmers’ Markets
Looking for somewhere to go on that bike ride? How about checking out a local farmers’ market to pick up some fresh produce and meats. Because local farmers don’t have to ship their products long distances they are often grown organically without harmful pesticides and thus much healthier for you. You’re also supporting the local economy with these purchases, helping to sustain your community for years to come. And most importantly you can often get these products at a cheaper rate than you would at a store like Whole Foods.

Cleaning and Donating 
We all say that we are going to clean our our closets and get rid of those clothes from last season or those DVDs that we haven’t watched in ages in the spring. Yet not all of us actually do that. And not every weekend in the summer has picture-perfect weather.  So spend that day that it is raining or too hot to go outside at home and get that “summer” cleaning done. And then, when you finish paring down your worldly possessions, donate what is reusable to local charity shops or donation bins. Most donations qualify for a tax return and you can feel proud in knowing that you’ve given a pair of shoes or cell phone to someone in need.

What you do with your weekends is completely up to you. But if you heed these simple tips you’ll definitely be on the way to living the sustainable life, two days at a time.

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