Staying Sustainable All Summer Long
We’ve felt it coming in Georgia for some time, but now, it’s finally official: the solstice has arrived. Are you ready to make it your greenest season yet? Read on for seven ways you can make a difference.
Photo by Cheryl Tarr, Georgia Nature Photographers Association
Come on. You knew we’d start with this one. It is highly likely that where you live, there’s a Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation affiliate hosting garden tours, litter cleanups, recycling fairs, or even plogging events. Join us, and hey, we don’t mind—bring a friend!
2. Get Your Green Thumb On
Is there anything better than biting into a fresh fruit or vegetable that you’ve grown in your own backyard? We certainly don’t think so. Try your hand at peppers, tomatoes, or okra. Give berries or grape vines a go. You can even keep it super simple and start an herb garden. Fresh basil, rosemary, sage, or thyme by the handful? Sign us up! If you live in an apartment or condo, many of these options will also flourish in containers.
3. Save the Bees
Perhaps growing food isn’t your thing. Not to worry! You can still be an excellent steward of the earth by planting native flowers that pollinators like bees, bats, and butterflies will love. Here in Georgia, some popular options include honeysuckle, cosmos, eastern purple coneflowers, buttonbush, and asters.
4. Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market
You can find them in all kinds of places, from city centers to small towns, from parks to sidewalks and parking lots, and you can purchase anything from greens to honey to fresh flowers. The best part? You’re stimulating the local economy, supporting biodiversity and the livelihood of community farmers, and reducing the amount of fuel it takes to ship goods from afar.
5. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
The song didn’t become a cherished part of our Saturday morning cartoon days for nothing! Learn what it takes to recycle in your community, and try to reduce the amount of waste you produce in the first place. Have something you’d rather not toss at all? Upcycle it or donate it to someone in need.
6. Try Your Hand at Composting
Putting items like apple cores or egg shells in a compost bin instead of throwing them in the trash can benefit the environment in numerous ways. Your garden will grow lush without the use of any harmful chemicals, and you’ll keep unnecessary waste from entering your local landfill, where biodegradation is near impossible. When organic waste does manage to break down, it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions—by composting, this can be almost entirely avoided, and municipal food-waste collection is becoming increasingly common if you don’t have the time or space to do it on your own.
7. Get Out and Enjoy Georgia’s Parks and Trails
There are countless wondrous places to explore in our state, from the coast to the mountains and beyond. When you’re out walking, camping, or enjoying the water, remember to leave your destination better than you found it. Hike out your recyclables in a backpack, or better yet, bring reusable containers in the first place. If you see someone else’s trash, don’t leave it there—pick it up and influence others to do the same!
Would you add anything else to this list? Leave your ideas in the comments below!