Hello readers! My name is Skye and I was one of the UVSP's work-study students this past year. I've just finished my first year in Anthropology at UVic, and have returned home to Manitoba for the summer months. I wanted to write this blog post to talk about some of the sustainable habits that I am striving to create this summer! These six habits will hopefully take me one step closer to reducing my environmental footprint, and create achievable practices for sustainable living that will follow me into the next school year.
1. Selling unwanted items
When spring cleaning mode hits, I always accumulate piles of clothing items that I have been neglecting during the school year. Summer is a great time to get rid of unwanted items, and make some spending money. Using websites created for selling items secondhand, such as Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji, will allow you to curate your wardrobe, and keep clothing items out of the dumpster!
2. Starting a small garden
A small backyard garden can be a great introduction into sustainable food growth, and working in your garden can be a very rewarding summer activity. Raised garden beds can be found at stores such as Canadian Tire, or they can be a fun DIY project. Vegetables such as carrots and lettuce are super easy to grow, and are easily incorporated into every day meals.
Adding pollinating plants in amongst the other plants in your garden is a great way to increase the pollinator activity in, and around your area. Just make sure to pick plants that are native to the area that you are in!
3. Volunteering for an Environmental Non-profit
Volunteering with groups in your community is not only a great way to give back to your community and the environment, but it is also a great way to educate yourself. Environmental NGOs and volunteer groups that do various activities such as invasive species pulls and beach cleanups offer great opportunities to meet passionate peers and people who are experienced in their fields. Although books and documentaries are great resources for learning more about the environment around you, there is nothing like doing hands-on work.
If you’re interested, a great group on campus to volunteer with is the Ecological Restoration Club or the ERC. They do lots of hands-on restoration work and are a welcoming community for volunteers of all abilities and experience-levels.
4. Eating local and plant-based foods
Plant based meals can greatly reduce your environmental footprint if you are intentional with them. Many people call themselves ‘Locavores’ and choose to primarily eat food sourced from their own communities. Local food sourcing is often easiest in the summer, boasting plenty of farmers markets with local vendors selling fresh food products. Understanding where your food comes from and how it was grown can increase your awareness of your carbon footprint and environmental impact, and respect for the places in which you live, work, and play.
5. Repairing used and worn-out clothing
Instead of throwing out clothing that has been damaged, summer break is a great time to learn how to either repair old clothing yourself, or find local clothing repair businesses. Watch tutorials on YouTube, or ask friends and family to teach you. This will not only keep clothing in your weekly rotation, but also add unique touches to your clothing items. You can even find some cool patches at thrift stores that can be added to larger rips or tears!
Summer break can be a great time to catch up on any reading goals that you might have set for yourself at the beginning of the year. I always take advantage of the nice weather and read outside before and after work days. Reading is also a great way to educate yourself and broaden your perspectives. The UVSP has created a Goodreads list that includes a great selection of books, perfect for reading on long summer days — which I think is worth checking out!
I hope you enjoyed reading this list and found something you'd like to try out this summer! Happy summer break!