7 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Summer

Green your life from the inside out with these tried-and-true ideas from VN lifestyle expert Joshua Katcher.


It seems like a no-brainer to go green this summer, but where do you start? These seven easy tips will help detox your life, so when the thermometer hits 80, you’ll already be cooler than a cucumber. Whether you start by eating locally, trading your gossip rags for smart reads, or taking your sustainable skateboard instead of the SUV, you’ll be healthier, happier, and greener in no time—without compromising style, flavor, or fun.

 1. From store-bought to storefronts, vegan ice cream is becoming more and more common. If you don’t have a place like Lula’s Sweet Apothecary in New York City, it’s really easy to make homemade vegan ice creams with cookbooks, including the classic Vice Cream: Gourmet Vegan Desserts by Jeff Rogers. Once you’ve mastered the basics—chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry—branch out into adventurous flavors and pump up the dairy-free volume with a backyard ice cream bar.

 2. If too much ice cream and too many veggie dogs are making your summer days feel lethargic, dive into a refreshing, healthy cleanse. If you’re not ready to forego your favorite solid foods, keep your temperature cool by eating or juicing lots of organic cukes.

3. Revamping your wardrobe with vegan summer fashions ensures that you’ll look your best from the Fourth of July until Labor Day. Branch out with bold colors, and non-leather plimsolls certainly fit the bill. Stay stylish with this season’s take on gladiator sandals: a versatile, high-ankle style with a summer feel by Wanted Shoes.

4. Don’t take “getaway” so literally! Take a trip within 100 miles and earn bonus points for riding a bus or a train to get there. If you want to get some sun during your summer staycation, make sure to use healthly, eco-friendly products to shield skin. Avoid toxic oxybenzone and protect tattoos with cruelty-free, eco-friendly sun block. Maybe you’ve racked up a hefty amount of vacation days and just need a transcontinental adventure—just remember to choose a green getaway.

5. Need a craft project? How about building your own eco-friendly surfboard from Greenlight Surf Supply? With recyclable foam and bamboo parts, you can hit the beach without hurting the ocean.

6. Commit to getting your produce from the farmers’ market, and talk to the farmers! Organic, local fruits and veggies are the greenest foods you can eat. Ready to grow your own organic greens? Sunny summer is the perfect season to start planting an organic veggie garden. Wild lawns can be beautiful, and homegrown food can feed your body and your budget. For more homegrown how-to tips, check out the urban gardening feature in VN’s July +August Anniversary issue.

7. Now that we know meat is the numero uno cause of global warming, cool things down with a veggie barbecue party! Be it the backyard or the sidewalk, the perfect spot to indulge in this hot-weather tradition is right under your nose. Try marinated portabellos, eggplant, Field Roast sausage, and good old-fashioned veggie burgers.

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