Our Eco-Friendly Plans for Summer

Welcome to the June 2014 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Eco-Friendly Summer. This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they are keeping their family eco-friendly during this summer season. Stop by all of the posts listed at the bottom of mine to get ideas on how your family can keep it safe and natural this summer.

1. Non-toxic sunscreen – we started looking into more natural sunscreen alternatives last summer when I started reading about traditional sunscreens and how many of them have toxins that can actually be harmful to our bodies. I’ve also found it really interesting to read that while sunscreen use has gone up over the years, skin cancer is also on the rise. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a cancer researcher, but I still find this to be a very interesting correlation. So, rather than risk our exposure to these toxins, we went on the hunt for sunscreens that contain natural ingredients but are still effective at protecting our skin, especially M’s skin. We have been very happy with BabyGanics and California Baby sunscreens. Depending on the BabyGanics formula you get, you’ll have an EWG rating between 1 and 3, what we have used is rated a 2. California Baby sunscreen ranges between a 1 and 2, our current bottle is rated as a 1 on EWG. We do spend more money on the natural brands but it is worth it to me if it protects our skin and keeps our bodies free of unnecessary toxins. Plus, I’m allergic to traditional sunscreens (I’ve tried them all – rash everytime) and I’ve never had a reaction to the natural brands we’ve tried.

Ingredients to Avoid: anything that ends in ZONE (e.g., Oxybenzone). 
Instead Look For: Mineral sunscreens that are made with Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. 
2. Reusable snack containers – I’ve been a stickler this year for using reusable snack containers rather than plastic baggies. We have a couple reusable bags, but they have been lost. I plan to make more because they really do come in handy. I frequently use these Zoli snack containers that we received in a Citrus Lane (referral link) box last year. I love that they stack and I can take 3 different snacks but are still easy to fit in a bag for our outings, I don’t have to go searching in our bag for the snack M wants, I just pull the whole thing out and he can choose as he eats. We’ve slowly been transitioning into more glass, but we still have many plastic items. We just make sure that the plastics are BPA, Phthalate free and we don’t microwave our plastic products.
3. Spending Time Outdoors – M loves to be outside! He would spend all day everyday out side if we let him, and he does spend a good chunk of his time outdoors. It’s good for all of us! When we’re outside we’re getting Vitamin D (I’m diagnosed Vitamin D deficient) from the sun, exercise, and the TV is off, computers are put away, phones are not being use (usually), and we are enjoying nature. We go for walks, bike rides (we have a bike trailer and helmet for M), trips to the park, water play, all sorts of fun outdoor activities. We’ve even been able to reduce our time in the car by using our bikes when we can for certain outings.
4. Natural Light – Unless there is a massive storm that turns day into night, our lights are off until close to 8:30pm. There’s no reason to have them on, we have plenty of natural light coming into our windows that we can use instead of artificial light that costs us money and isn’t as eco friendly. Same goes for opening the windows when the weather is mild; the air conditioner gets turned off and windows/doors opened. It’s so refreshing!
5. Organic Produce – What I wish this said was “Farmer’s Market Produce” because then we’d be supporting local farms as well, but I rarely have time to make it to our Farmer’s Markets around here so we make due with buying organic when it’s available. I’ve been paying more attention to the Dirty Dozen (here’s a list of 48 fruits and veggies with pesticide residue, the top 12 are the Dirty Dozen) and been focusing on making sure that we buy organic, for at the bare minimum, produce that is on the Dirty Dozen list. My ultimate goal was to start potted gardens with some of our own produce, but that just did not happen this summer. I do think I will look into blueberry bushes next year though since we go through blueberries more than anything else.
There are many other eco-friendly changes that I would like to do during the summer but it’s little by little. Starting a garden is at the top of my list for next summer. I also should probably start using our clothes line more as well. I am not a fan of line dried clothes so this is a huge reason why I don’t use the clothes line more. It is more energy efficient though and could save us a ton of money. I know for us, the older we get, the more eco-friendly we become, if for no other reason that it usually saves us money!

What are your eco-friendly plans for this summer?

Visit Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

17 thoughts on “Our Eco-Friendly Plans for Summer

  1. We started a garden this year…for the first time ever…it hasn’t gone as planned, so e definitely need to look into farmer’s markets in the area! I’ve found that my super picky self prefers the fresh veggies anyway! So much tastier…and better for us! :)We’ve had so much rain this year it seems, I wish it’d stop so we could enjoy more outside time! 🙂


  2. I love this and do all of these too, except for the lights. I leave them off as long as possible but we have a fairly dark living room so they go on around 7:30 in the summer. I’m also trying to keep our AC as high as our comfort will allow.


  3. I wish I had more natural light in my house! My kitchen is pretty dark so I usually need a light on in there whenever I’m making something no matter what time of day it is, sucks. I really love reusable snack containers – they cut way down on waste! I also really like to use natural bug repellent. Mosquitos are horrible at my house.


  4. My apartment is so dim.(We joke about being vampires.) In order to get more vitamin D we venture out a lot. As a Floridian it’s really hard to do because it’s so hot most days. I’ve dubbed this summer the summer of splash pads!


  5. You know, this is interesting, because I never thought about looking for specific non-toxic sunscreen. I’ll have to look for that the next time I’m out! And I just recently heard about the dirty dozen when it comes to produce. How scary is that?


  6. I had the same thoughts last year when I first starting learning more about sunscreen and the dirty dozen. Our son’s first summer we used spray on sunscreen, I shutter now to think of using that! You can always Google ways to make your own if you’re a DIYer.


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