Having an eco-summer
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Date: 16 July, 2009

A greener summer of sun, sea and sand


'Whatever the weather, there's plenty to enjoy while staying eco.'


Suzanne Elvidge offers ways of having a more ecologically-friendly summer

Summer is here, and while the Met office promised us a ‘barbecue summer’ this year, the weather has been mixed, as befits a traditional English summer.

But whatever the weather, there’s plenty to enjoy, while staying eco.

If you use the Amazon or Nigel’s Eco Store links to buy tickets, books and other things, Christian Aid will receive a donation.

Books to read

If you are trying to live greener, read Green Guide Essentials: Essential Information for Planet-friendly Living for a bit of background information, and then see how someone tried it for real, changing one thing every day, in Sleeping Naked Is Green: How an Eco-Cynic Unplugged Her Fridge, Sold Her Car, and Found Love in 366 Days.

If you prefer your summer reading in smaller portions, have a look at The Living Planet: A Collection of Writing on the Environment, a collection of non-fiction and fiction extracts, short stories and poetry.

And finally, as you read about Rebecca Hoskins’ fight to Ban the Plastic Bag, knit yourself a clutch bag with the plastic bags you are not going to use any more, because you’ve made a wonderful reusable one.

Things to do and places to see

What would summer be without a barbecue? A barbecue needs charcoal, but only 3% of the charcoal we use in the UK is produced in the country – so try fuelling your cooking with sustainable charcoal.

r have an old-fashioned picnic – get yourself an eco picnic bag (or better still, pack some plates and cups into a fabric bag), make some sandwiches, a no-bake cake and some lemonade, and head off for a walk and an al fresco feast.

The UK is full of ethical places to go, where you can keep green and still enjoy a day out.

One of my favourites is the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales, but if this is too far, have a look at the Green England, allthingseco or GreenFinder directory websites. Wherever you go, try taking it slow this year.

If you are looking for a green festival (you’ll have to be quick), there’s the Big Green Gathering at the end of July.

If you can wait until the end of August, Greenbelt is working hard to improve its sustainability. Whichever festival you go to, you can be green while you are there.

Sitting in the sun

When it’s sunny, it’s really important to protect yourself against sunburn – using a sunscreen reduces the risk of skin cancer and stops you getting all leathery and wrinkly!

Use plenty, don’t miss anywhere, apply it half an hour before going out in the sun, wear a hat and sunglasses, and avoid staying in the sun too long, or when it’s at its highest.

Chemical sunscreens can damage marine life, and some of the chemicals they contain may be harmful at some levels.

Mineral sunblocks (containing zinc and titanium) are gentler on the planet than the chemical sunscreens, and work by physically blocking the sun, but some may leave you looking white.

Nigel’s Eco Store carries a range of naturally-based sunscreens. Don’t forget your organic cotton (or bamboo) towel and your eco bikini, and something to cover up with when it gets too hot.

From all at Surefish – enjoy your summer!

Suzanne Elvidge is a freelance writer and Surefish Ethical Living Editor

Further reading

Low carbon holidays

Eco holidays (and some more)

Having an ethical festival

Summer picnics

Saving water

End of summer reads

Green holiday reads

• Read other ethical lifestyle articles



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