Good Hemp’s Ultimate Guide to a Sustainable Summer

Summer is the time to be your best self, right? A time when you can picnic all day, dance all night, maybe even indulge in a skinny dip? “A little bit of summer is what the whole year is about,” sang John Mayer. But what if this summer, living our best life were to take on a whole new meaning?

Last year, soaring temperatures and dry weather seemed like cause to celebrate. And in some ways, it was – people got outdoors, rode their bikes, went camping. They stayed in the UK for holidays – went to our beaches, jumped in our lakes! But for many of us, it was also a hair-raising sign that the world was heating up. Summer of 2018 was the joint hottest on record in the UK, likely a result of climate change caused by human activities. Friends of the Earth said the figures were a warning “that we’re racing towards catastrophic climate change” with increasing risk of floods, droughts and storms. In the words of Miley Cyrus: “Is it supposed to be this hot all summer long?”

While this summer has been, errrr, less than summer-like…it’s starting to look up and we still need to think sustainably. We’re not here to ruin your summer (only a topless man on the London underground can do that). But we are here to share some of the ways to eco-proof your summer whilst keeping it fun. Skinny dipping is supe-sustainable after all…

Staycation UK

1. Go on a staycation…

Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures and flying has never been cheaper, but as travel writer Gavin Haines wrote, “our desire to see the world is killing it”. When was the last time you looked at a map of the UK? How about approaching a holiday to Cornwall with the same sense of adventure as you would to Colombia? There are so many incredible places to visit just a car or train journey away. “The main environmental cost of holidays is always the flight,” said Greenpeace’s Graham Thompson. “If you’re not flying you’ll have a much lower impact.” We love this article by independent travel magazine SUITCASE on 10 enchanting places to visit in the UK.

2. Attend a sustainable event…

From music celebrations and food festivals to farmers markets, choose summer events with sustainability at their core. London based? This year’s Taste of London theme is ‘Wild in the City’ and is set to explore sustainability and craftsmanship in food. Closer to home on the Dorset and Devon border, the River Cottage Fair is taking place in both May and August. The music festival Shambala is 100% powered by renewable energy and it’s meat and fish free too, while Brighton has its very own vegan festival in June.

3. Get involved in a beach clean…

Whether you’re looking for arcade games and a pick ’n mix, a deserted cove or a surfer’s paradise, Britain’s beaches pretty much have something for everyone (just check out The Independent’s list of the UK’s best beaches). But if you’re going to use them, why not clean them too? Yes, picking up your litter is mandatory, but why not go one step further and take part in a beach clean? It’s a great way to get stuck in with the local community while doing some good. The National Trust looks after 780 miles of coastline in the UK and run events up and down the country all year long. Find one near you here.

4. Make your suncream ocean-friendly

Up to 14,000 tonnes of suncream enter the world’s reefs annually (according to a 2015 paper published in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology) with products from well-known brands such as Aveeno, Banana Boat and Hawaiin Tropic containing a chemical called oxybenzone used to deflect UV rays. A single drop of oxybenzone in 4.3million gallons of water is enough to be deadly – bleaching coral and slowing new growth. This summer, make sure your sun protection is ocean-friendly. We love Tropic sun balm, Organii and Surfer’s Skin.

5. Make your barbecue vegetarian

Ah, the summer BBQ. There’s a hell of a lot we could change here. If you’re the one running the grill, approach this section with an open mind. First let’s tackle the meat (yeah, we went there). When you’ve got 10 friends round for a BBQ, it’s all too tempting to head to your local supermarket and grab a basic burger. If it was up to us we’d do it vegetarian, with hemp and beet veggie burgers, roasted veg skewers, grilled aubergine and a banging salad. But if you have to have meat, make sure it’s locally sourced and grass-fed.

Summer peas in season

8. Eat summer foods 

From asparagus and rocket to rhubarb and strawberries there’s so much wonderful produce that the summer has to offer. So skip your imported avocado and eat with the seasons. Use our guide here.

6. Use Gas BBQs (and don’t get us started on throwaways… )

Go for gas when it comes to barbecuing. Charcoal is less eco-friendly, with many products sourced from tropical forests in South Africa and South America. Avoid the disposables at all costs – not only do they cause a waste problem, but they are also made using a number of unsustainable materials.

7. Then there’s the plates, cutlery, straws, and cups…

At both BBQs and picnics, resist the temptation to grab plastics. For plates, use the compostable ones made from sugarcane; for cutlery, anything made from bamboo; for cups, use vegware compostable. Plan in advance and stock up.

9. Shop second hand

Raise your hand if you’ve binge-ordered fast fashion the week before a holiday? We’ve all done it. If summer is your excuse to reinvent your wardrobe, make sure this year you do it second hand. Summer is when vintage markets come alive anyway, and if you have to do ASOS, make it ASOS’ vintage marketplace. For floaty dresses, denim shorts and short sleeved shirts try Rokit and Beyond Retro online (or visit their stores in London & Brighton). While you’re at it, why not try a clothes swap? Stories Behind Things host a bunch in London.

10. Buy sustainable swimwear

All the cool swimwear brands that care about our planet are fashioning their suits out of a material called econyl which is formed using oceanic waste – fishing nets, fabric scraps and industrial plastic. For a sporty look, try Finisterre. For a beach party, we love Ayla Swim.

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