Okay, it has to be said— for a lot of us, classes resume in only a few short weeks. Where did our summer vaycay go? Maybe some of us are glad that the (not-really-a) break is over because that means the endless days of working morning-to-night to make up for the dust bunnies we had in our wallets all semester are over. Others of us are wondering what the heck we did with all of our free time this summer. Did I even make it off of the couch? If you’re anything like me, you probably had big (hypothetical) plans for the summer: travel, learn a new skill, or meet new people. And then you pulled up Netflix.
It’s not too late to have a fun-filled productive summer, and to be green in the process. Here’s a list of easy and cheap things to do that you can squeeze into your final few weeks of summer vacation that will make your “Summer 2014” stories a little less embarrassing:
1. Visit your local state/federal parks. Parks and nature reserves can be a lot of fun to visit with family or a few buds.There are so many things to do, depending on which parks you choose: hiking, camping, swimming, rafting, climbing, etc. Admission to these areas is usually free; however, they may charge you for parking. Just know that it’s going to a good cause. Although these parks are funded by state and federal agencies, budget cuts have made this funding severely limited. Funding of national parks has decreased by $190 million over the past four years alone, so it is up to the locals to visit these marvelous places and donate to keep them alive. If you choose to visit a park, make sure you bring plenty of water: in reusable water bottles, of course.
2. Community Service Projects. Nothing makes me feel better than using my time to help others. Gather together a team of people in your neighborhood and do something that makes the world a better place: have a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to your favorite cause, plant a community garden in your neighborhood, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. The possibilities are endless!
3. Learn a new skill. Yeah, yeah: it’s an old cliché. But depending on the skill, what you learn could help in saving the environment. Last summer, I taught myself how to buy ugly dresses from my local thrift stores and flip them into cute and trendy dresses. Buying used clothes from thrift stores saves resources and energy, and keeps you from accidentally supporting sweat-shops. It also saves you a lot of money, and you know your look will stay original. Learn to use what you have and make something new, instead of throwing it away. You could also learn how to garden, how to make crafts out of trash, or even take up beekeeping!
4. Have a cookout. Yes, I’ll admit: it isn’t the most eco-friendly activity, but I know you’re going to do it anyway. After all, what’s summertime without a cookout? So when you inevitably throw your cookout party, at least try to make it greener. Try to reduce the amount of waste you and your 200 closest friends produce by using as many reusable plates, cups, and bowls as you can (that means ditch those Red Solo cups). Otherwise, all of your cookout waste will end up in a landfill.
In terms of food, lean more towards turkey burgers instead of beef. I know, I know: gross. But turkey burgers require a lot less energy, water, and land to produce than beef patties. Also try and purchase local produce when you’re putting together your side dishes. Supporting local produce saves energy, and it often tastes much better. Lastly, try and reduce your carbon emissions by ditching the charcoal grill for a gas-powered one, and by skipping the bonfire. If the bonfire is a deal-breaker for you, just make sure you get seasoned wood from the store that releases the least amount of atmospheric pollutants. Every little bit counts.
What are some of your ideas for an eco-friendly and productive summer vacation? What have you done so far? Get off of that couch and do something fun before you find yourself back under a pile of readings and essays. Tell us all about it!
So, we’ve all been told the benefits of a meatless lifestyle. And whether you decide to become vegetarian for animal rights, health reasons, or even to create a smaller carbon footprint, the first challenge is finding the right recipes and snacks to provide some of the nutrients you are no longer getting from meat. In college, that can be even more difficult, most college students can identify with the struggle for green…cash, of course! Well, I’m here to share a little secret: being vegetarian during college can HELP your bank account! There are many meatless recipes and snacks out there that won’t elicit dread when heading to the grocery store, that is unless you just generally HATE grocery shopping (I definitely fall into that category).
Here are some of the staples of my pantry and refrigerator:
Yogurt (high in protein, and you can buy in bulk!)
Cinnamon coated almonds (I make my own, it’s super easy!)
Fruit (I eat a TON of fruit, and usually what is on sale that week is good enough for me)
Veggies (Corn, bell peppers, broccoli, and zucchini are some of my favorites)
PB2 (a jar of PB2 lasts FOREVER for me)
Milk (I prefer vanilla almond milk if I can find it on sale)
Popcorn (a usual late night snack craving; if you’re willing to do a little work, buying kernels is cheap!)
Oats (Oatmeal for breakfast with a dab of brown sugar keeps me full!)
Whole grain bread
I know it might not seem like a lot, but there are SO MANY recipes I’ve found from just those simple ingredients. I like to keep about 5 big cans of tomato sauce in my pantry and pull it out whenever I need a quick spaghetti dinner.
My second favorite ingredient? RICE. Rice and veggies. Rice and baked tofu. Scramble up some eggs and add soy sauce and you have fried rice! A recent weekly meal I’ve been making is black bean salsa and lime rice burritos! You can find the recipe for that at my college crew’s blog here: http://ISFKentState.tumblr.com
Choosing the right foods when you’re in college is a huge benefit! Not only does it give you energy, but brain power as well. Keeping foods high in protein will keep you full for longer and may even create less trips to the grocery store, if you don’t like being there. Without the added cost of meat, your grocery bills should see a steady decrease as you learn what you do and don’t like in your meatless arsenal! :)
Try it out! Let me know how it goes. Happy snacking!
- Jess :-)
ISF College Advisory Board
@J_Zava (Twitter & Instagram)
Oceans play a dynamic role in the health of our planet. Oceans cover approximately 72% of our earth and changes in them can dramatically impact more than just the creatures that inhabit them. Last month, the article #COALSUCKS discussed the impact of carbon emissions on the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Changes in the atmosphere such as an increase in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide can impact oceans through mechanisms such as acidification the ocean. As the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere increases, the more carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans and they become acidic. Greenhouse gases can even impact ocean-atmospheric interactions such as the Indian Ocean dipole (Wenju Cai 2014).
- See more at: http://www.isfoundation.com/news/changes-indian-ocean-atmospheric-patterns-finally-linked-greenhouse-gases#sthash.FTpWiEEI.dpuf
#plasticstrawscansuckit vol. 1, post your photos using the hashtag #plasticstrawscansuckit and you could be in the next instavid! #isf #isfcollege
FIFA is dedicated to taking its environmental responsibility seriously and engages with its stakeholders in finding sensible approaches towards reducing its negative impact.
For all those football (soccer) fans out there who care for the environment this is a great article. With the World Cup going on I thought this was very interesting. FIFA has decided to help in the protection of the environment and everyone should too!
Spending time making new things from stuff which people do use them anymore like: magazines or newspapers, bottles, so on and to turn them into amazing things. It gives us the opportunity to reduce trash and dump them.
Recycled crafts clubs are so cool. Friends meet , have fun and creativity comes out!!
This website can give you some ideas to work with:
http://www.favecrafts.com/Green-Crafting/659-Recycled-Crafts-Crafting-with-Recyclable-Items#21 Recycled Handmade Paper Crafts
Pics were taken from Craft club in Chiclayo - Peru.
There are two sides to the Giant Water Lily’s effect on the ecosystem. The negative part being that no other plant species can live under the Giant Water Lily due to it’s size. The water lily’s leaves are massive in size and they cover most of the surface of the water. This means that no sunlight can reach the rest of the water. Therefore no algae can grow, and with no food source, animals that feed on algae cannot exist. On the other hand, Giant Water Lilies are very helpful to some species, for example the Lily Troller. The Lily Trotters walk on the leaves and obtain their food source (insects) from the water lily.
This picture was taken in my trip to the Amazon river (Iquitos - Peru) and it is BEAUTIFUL!!
Shame on people who are destroying the Amazon because of mining!!