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Question of the Week: How do you protect the environment during summer vacation?

2009 July 13

No more homework! But now that you have free time in the summer, tell us the things you like to do (or your kids, if you’re a grown-up reading this) that help protect the environment during the summer.

How do you protect the environment during summer vacation?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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29 Responses leave one →
  1. Cara Ellen Modisett permalink
    July 13, 2009

    One small way I try to be environmentally aware on vacation is to collect all our recycling and take it home with us. We stay in a small, independently-owned hotel in the Outer Banks and do a lot of our own cooking. I collect all paper, glass, cans, plastic recyclables in shopping bags and take them home with us (6-hour drive) to recycle at curbside. Would love to see hotels and restaurants offering recycling services, since they produce so much trash, especially during summer months.

  2. Raji G permalink
    July 13, 2009

    My son’s daycare is running a summer camp with a “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle” theme. They have a contest to see which class (beginning with the infants!) collects the most number of recycleable items (all types but glass). Needless to say, my almost 4-year old is trying his best to recycle everything, including his toys! But I think he is learning an important lesson this summer!

  3. Rolland lusioli permalink
    July 13, 2009

    My schedule next month is to plant 5000 trees in my country home town dispite challenge of not having the seedlings i have to buy with rest of the youth in our country.we will try to reach that target we have given our selves.I have mobilsed my fellow youth majority will have close the school for the holidays.

  4. Stevie permalink
    July 13, 2009

    There are many great ways to help the environment during the summer. Instead of staying inside and freezing in the air conditioner, open your windows and let some fresh air in. Walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving a car. Get fit with a new outdoor hobby like jogging or tennis, or conduct normal activities (like reading) outside. Before you go on vacation, unplug all appliances you can (like the toaster, microwave, lamps, etc.). Instead of buying an electric heater for your pool, invest in a solar cover. All of these things are not only good for the environment, but they will also save you money on your electricity bill.

  5. Nags Header permalink
    July 13, 2009

    There’s a recycling center at Nags Head, behind the Food Lion! No need d to card all of your recycling back home.

  6. Regina Atterberry Philson permalink
    July 13, 2009

    My son and I had several conversations about being more energy efficient. He learned by example. I thought it was cute and funny, when he told me to he would open the window blinds to use natural sunlight, so he could read a book in his room. Children are sponges.

  7. Les Pace permalink
    July 13, 2009

    We take our 4 Grand daughters on nature walks, and explore the ocean beach for shells and observe marine life. We make sure they are aware of we as humans effect the environment and what
    could be lost if we are not good stewards of earth. We also pick up
    trash as we go, place it in bags we carry and deposit it in appropriate recepticals.

  8. Aniket Patil permalink
    July 13, 2009

    Why not make use of non conventional energy resources? viz. Solar Energy Wind Energy Tidal Energy at a massive level making it mandatory at regional levels. Well this would be of great deal one time investment is what we need after all Before that creating social awareness is also equally vital. We need to changee the below statement
    “The difference between animals and humans is that animals change themselves for the environment, but humans change the environment for themselves.”

  9. Hamid permalink
    July 13, 2009

    I try to learn people how we can enjoy of nature and don’t disturb environment. I advise my family and my friends that we should protect our environment with works like collecting rubbish and don’t mar trees and animals. we should be care especially in a dry regions for fire and distruction.

  10. Jackenson Durand permalink
    July 13, 2009

    Because of my passion for environment and global earth science, I welcome any organization, anywhere who looks for some extra hands or potentials individuals’ volunteer helper to conserve.

  11. Mardi VanEgdom permalink
    July 13, 2009

    Clean up parks, waterfronts, and other venues where you go to have fun. Use as little air conditioning as you possibly can. Set temp at 78 degrees or above. Turn off when you leave the house (leave fan on). Follow watering guidelines for lawns and gardens. Drive as little as possible during the hottest times of day.

  12. Jimmy McCurry permalink
    July 13, 2009

    We will not be taking a vacation this year. We are saving this money to offset the cap and tax, excuse me, trade legislation if it passes. We are lucky to live in rural America and can get by a lot cheaper than most folks in the city. We have a big garden and raise our own beef. We also hunt and have quail, pheasant, deer and other wildlife to eat. Don’t worry that we can’t leave on vacation, living in the country is like being on vacation each day!

  13. ohidunnno permalink
    July 13, 2009

    This summer has been interesting to say the least;
    My mom is a preschool teacher this year and has no $ for summer fun. My family has used common cents to keep us happy, safe, and comfortable.
    We raise our food and buy in bulk. Not big on meat.
    We recycle – but it goes to the dump anyway!!! :(
    What is not eaten is given to our garden for food.
    We use small dinner plates to eat from.
    The rule “take all you want-eat all you take” works!

    July4- we watched multiple sets of firework on a hill
    We support the local baseball team.Not a far drive.
    (Too far and too dangerous for my 5 yo to get to.)

    I have been called Crazy because I like to walk
    from where I live [on a high hill] into the city,then all over the city and back up the high hill to home.
    There is a YMCA in the city. I don’t need to use it.

    We do common things like shut off stuff not using,
    keep windows closed in daytime – open at night,
    keep window shades down on sunny side of house,
    water the garden with bath and dishwater vs hose.
    burn daylight doing ‘lil things and limit electric use.
    I like that the library isn’t too far to walk, so I go…
    mom needs to use MY computer with HER internet.
    This ‘option’ “gives” us 2 computers with internet!

    We planted a living fence of blue hydrangea bushes
    I take photos with my digital camera & email pics!

  14. Tree Huggr Grrl permalink
    July 13, 2009

    A couple of small things I do is bring along reuseable water cup with lid and an insulated coffee mug. Convenience stores, gas stations, 4-Bucks (oops, I mean Starbucks) will fill or let me fill up my cup with ice and water. Most times, their water tastes just as good as bottled water. Most bottled water is just tap water anyway! A reuseable coffee mug insures I won’t have to throw away a cup a day. I take home recyclables. Clean paper items go home with me to the compost pile. Friends that live in a different jurisdiction can recycle my plastics for me.

    If I’m eating in at a fast food place, I don’t put a lid on my drink or use a straw.

    If someone has left a bunch of unused napkins on the table, I will take them home to use because the restaurant will just throw them away.

    My sister thinks I’m NUTS, but too bad. She said there’s such a thing as going too far, but I disagree. Each of the above is only a tiny little thing, but it adds up. How many cups does Starbucks put in the trash every day? Zillions? At least Tullys says they compost the paper cups.

    I attended an out-of-town wedding last weekend and it made me crazy. They had high quality rigid plastic plates that just went in the trash. I tried to save my fork and plate to use for dessert, and the waitress literally–yes, literally–grabbed the fork out of my hand and told me I could have a new fork with the cake. They gave us all spoons but there was nothing to use them on, so a couple hundred unused spoons got trashed. Such waste!

  15. PhotomakerPat permalink
    July 14, 2009

    We do not use A/C in our house, we take advantage of having more hours of daylight and do outdoor activities. When outside we pick trash as we find it along the way to bring it back and place it in the correct trash bin.

  16. Gabriel Michas permalink
    July 14, 2009

    And if you have the time to cook outside with your friends, try a solar oven. It is simple to make, and will make your food twice delicious without to spend a cent for power! Have a beautiful summer time vocations & best wishes to you all!

  17. sharon permalink
    July 14, 2009

    Many, many things are disposable in the summer because companies know that most people don’t want to carry things around during vacations, for summer meet and eats, day trips, etc. So, I make it a note to remain faithful and not buy disposables or products with gross packaging.

  18. Charles permalink
    July 14, 2009

    I totally agree… more restaurants, stores, and hotels need to be better about letting customers or guests recycle. I can’t count how often I’ve gone to a restaurant or a small store, bought a drink, asked where the recycling bin is, and they point to the TRASH. Stupid, stupid people. I would go out of my way to shop at a place with recycling. (And real recycling, not just a trash can marked “recycling” meant to fool customers.)

  19. us of a permalink
    July 14, 2009

    i plan to eat as many hamburgers and steaks as i possibly can, those dang cows and their farts are tearing holes through our ozone layers…. i do plan on drinking lots of water, then throwing the plastic to the ground so the earth can have its resources back. last but not least, bonfires! even though smoke is harmful to the air, the CO2 put on by trees is much worse, so burning them may have bad short term effects but the goal is longer term.

  20. Jorge Geronimo Hipolito permalink
    July 14, 2009

    I think environmental awareness is gained by love or by pain, so, either on vacation or not must always live politely. Governments and society must invest every day in love, that is education.

  21. vishal permalink
    July 15, 2009

    we can increase the awareness among people and friends. we can also resycle our waste products.

  22. Dr. Spaceman permalink
    July 16, 2009

    Raji that sounds great!!! It is so important to teach children early about recycling and taking care of the environment. It’s easier when it’s fun too.

    Might I suggest a good soundtrack to go along with this learning experience. “The Three ‘R’s” is a fun song off the Curious George Soundtrack, performed by the amazing Jack Johnson.

  23. Blane Burns permalink
    July 16, 2009

    Closing government offices would be the single biggest and best thing we could possibly do for the environment. Count on it. Plan for it. If policy continues its present course government can prepare for a Constitutional convention. No more agencies dictating to the very citizens that support them. God speed the day.

  24. July 16, 2009

    There is also a recycling center in Buxton (Hateras Island) at the town dump.

  25. turtleshelldi permalink
    July 20, 2009

    We don’t use AC in our house and open windows instead. I line dry whatever I can (and the clothes smell of fresh air – an added benefit). We don’t use chemicals in our garden. When we water the vegetable garden, we use a watering can which cuts down on excess water usage. For flowers, I have mostly perennials and bushes, which need less water. We don’t have a sprinkler so whatever water the grass gets from nature is all it gets – and it stays nice and green. Nothing aggrevates me more than to see an automatic sprinkler come on in the rain!!

  26. Matt permalink
    July 20, 2009

    Good point. I’ll be sure to try to implement this when I go on vacation! The other thing I will do to protect the enviropnment is have an actual point when I post to this blog.

  27. Johnny R. permalink
    July 20, 2009

    I save the environment by staying home and watching travelogs, nature programs and National Geographic.

  28. michelle permalink
    August 3, 2009

    What if you live in a apartment and don’t have a garden

  29. Sripada permalink
    November 26, 2009

    Energy resources are scarce in nature and it is our responsibility to use them effectively, not only for ourselves, but also for our future generations. The most extensively found of them all is the solar energy, which has still not been fully utilized up to its strength. This energy can be used to generate electricity, warm up water for home.

    I think the youth today should take up solar panel building projects for their home or office and take the lead. The technology and the components are available and not very expensive.

    Sripada

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