Three Activities for an Eco-Friendly Summer in the City


I.) Outdoor Movies

This past spring, I finished my winter marathon session of Queer as Folk (I’m ‘Late to the Game,’ I know), and I looked around in despair, searching online for something else to watch.  Enter my next binge-watching session: this time it consisted of “Orange Is the New Black.”  For me, part of the reason why binge-watching is so fun has to do with the inevitable guilt that comes with sitting and doing nothing but staring into the screen.  It’s the passivity of it.  That doing something ‘bad’ is always a bit empowering, in and of itself.

Apparently, however, it’s not so empowering for the environment.  Of course, your online binge-watching habit pales in comparison with the atrocities committed at the hands of many large multi-national corporations.  However, it’s better to watch your entertainment at others, at times, rather than exclusively on your own—for a variety of reasons other than the environment.  As long as it’s nice outside, evenings, why not take advantage of all the movies being shown around town?  If you happen to find yourself in New York City this summer, you can watch free movies in Bryant Park every Monday after 5:00 p.m., June through August.

In addition to saving power as a result of the group element, sitting on a blanket on the grass is good for improving your overall sense of wellness.  This is because you’re spending time out of doors, as opposed to inside—good for staying connected to the earth.  In addition, you might think to ride your bike to the park–bringing us to part two…

II.) Bicycling

Another fun activity to take advantage of in the summer months is bicycling.  In my opinion, bicycling tends to be wonderful as long as the weather’s nice, of course, so it need not end in August! There’s currently a proliferation of bicycle co-ops in this country, luckily for us!  One example is the Boise Bicycle Project, a new bicycle collective and cooperative that provides repairs, rentals, and DIY-style facilities that allows members to work on their own bicycles at no charge.  The advantage to the environment likely does not need to be explained, but the personal benefits are ten-fold: in addition to working your glutes and thighs, regular bicycle commuting helps to increase your lung capacity and strengthen your heart.

In addition to the physical and environmental benefits of bicycling, there’s also the fact that getting around by bike allows us to slow down and look around us in a way that is much more up close and personal than getting around exclusively by car or subway.  If you are new to the city or just visiting, there are plenty of bicycle tours you can join that will allow you to learn about New York City in a new and exciting way—so consider finding a tour to join, and then join it!

 III.) Solar Power

I’ll make this last part short and sweet.  One of the most important things we can do to support our collective health, and well-being, in the long term, is to learn about and support new technologies that are environmentally and globally sustainable.  One of these technologies is solar power.

If you’d like to learn about solar power, there are plenty of academic environmental studies programs out there that are available at an affordable price—for example, through community colleges. In addition to contributing to solutions for the future of our planet and our living environment, here on planet Earth, you’ll also be opening yourself up to a whole new world of economic opportunity that you may never have realized was out there.

Additionally, if you’re not interested in the academic or technical study of solar technologies, you can always support the expansion and use of solar power through finding solar powered gadgets of your own and using them—for example, solar-powered birdbaths!  Spending time cultivating a garden is good for both your own well-being and the well-being of the planet and the environment around you.  Conserving water is such a huge priority right now, and many fountains available these days reuse and recycle water.  Moreover, attracting birds to your yard can only help with the preservation of the eco-system around you.

In Conclusion

Improvements in our personal wellness and natural health is entirely possible on a practical, actionable scale through simple actions such as collective activities, alternative modes of non-motorized transportation, and environmentally-sustainable technologies that go a long way toward helping to protect the planet on which we live.  We have to start somewhere, so start today.  Happy Summer!

Elizabeth Larios