Action of the Month: Set Your Summer Sustainability Goal
Brought to you by the Office of Sustainability and the UF Thompson Earth Systems Institute.
Summer… the time of year we look forward to filling with vacations, revisiting traditions, and taking a break from the routine. For students, this can mean a pause from daily homework and exams or the chance to pursue a career-related internship. For faculty and staff, summer may include a chance to refresh a course syllabus, complete research, or begin new projects with renewed focus. What we can all agree upon, is that summer brings most of us a welcomed change of pace to pause and reflect upon what holds the most value in our lives.
As you reflect upon your goals, consider the role sustainability is playing in your life. What changes could you make? Are you contributing in a way that aligns with your values? Even one simple adjustment can make a huge difference.
In this June Action of the Month, we encourage you to review our Action of the Month from the past several months. Pick one or two that resonate with you most and try them out! What will you work on this summer to become a greener member of your community?
Examine Your Sustainability Challenges & Opportunities
The best way to get started is to make a plan. It doesn’t have to be complicated! Think about your challenges and opportunities to begin.
Pick an action that is right for you by focusing on your strengths. For instance, what is something that energizes you or piques your curiosity?
Select an action that aligns with your academic background or your hobbies. If you are a business major, learn how to spot greenwashing and incorporate the takeaways into your future professional life. Love to connect with the natural world around you? Your best bet may be to become a community scientist as you observe local wildlife while hiking, biking, or relaxing outdoors.
Reviewing your challenges can be another insightful way to identify areas where you may be motivated to take action. When it comes to challenges, think about some areas where you have room for improvement. Do you find it difficult to eat in a way that models sustainable ideals and allows you to feel your best?
If so, take a look at how to find seasonal produce near you or practice “Meatless Mondays”. Making some changes to your diet may already be on your perennial to-do list, and it can reduce GHG emissions and support the local economy.
Use Seasonal Cues
Another approach to selecting a goal that is a good fit is to let the simple indicators of summer prompt your choice!
If you know you will be logging quality time at the pool, beach, or other outdoor activities, then focus on the safest methods for doing so. To prevent destructive effects on marine environments, be sure to review marine-safe sun protection. While you’re at it, you could go ahead and prepare for sea turtle nesting season before you head to the coast.
Planning to spend more of your time indoors this summer? No problem!
Make the most of the long summer days by leaving lights off inside whenever you can. Then, dedicate some time to using energy-efficient lighting in your apartment or home. Summer is also the ideal time to optimize your thermostat. In Gainesville, you can even apply for a free Home Energy Tune-Up through the Community Weatherization Coalition.
The seasonal cues of summer are a great reminder that there is always one small step each of us can take to support sustainable initiatives.
Refresh Your Commitment To Sustainability
As you can see, there are many easy ways to make a difference in your day-to-day life. Sustainability has a very broad and interdisciplinary reach, which is just one of the reasons that there are so many options!
For even more ideas, you can review the full archive of the Action of the Month blog series and the Thompson Earth Systems Institute archive of the Action of the Week blog series.
With suggestions like these, it’s easy to refresh and rejuvenate your commitment to sustainability! Whatever you choose, keep the pressure low. The goal this month is simply to find a sustainability action that feels right for you!
If you’d like to learn more about taking sustainable actions on a regular basis, follow @SustainableUF and @UFEarthSystems on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!