It’s been a long winter, people, but Jack Frost went packing to the North Pole and the summer sun is back in the lifeguard seat. Summer’s always been the best time to be outside for barbecues, nighttime guitar jamming on porches, and bonfires that last until three in the morning when dad passes out with a beer in his hand. But now that climate change effects are on the rise with all the dinosaurs we’re burning, summer’s a great time to shrink your carbon footprint, eat healthy, and build up that beach bod. Here are 5 ways you can reduce fossil fuel use this summer and give a break to your girl Mother Earth.

Image © Jonas Tana

1. Get on that Bike & Hit the Beach

We all know how much you love that hot convertible so much, but that thing’s spitting out some serious emissions and that’s not cool anymore with all the CO2 in the atmosphere. So why not get out your old bike, grab a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, and ride to your local beach? Or if you’re not into the beach, ride to your friends’ houses, ride to work, ride through the woods and give your legs a workout. I was riding through the woods with my brother a few weeks ago after not riding a bike for over five years and it was a lot more refreshing than driving around in a stuffy car. Plus, it’s good for your beach butt.

Related: France is Paying Commuters to Bike to Work

 Image © Ed Cunha Ph

2. Open up Those Windows & Flick off the A/C

There’s nothing better than waking up in the morning to the sounds of birds in the trees outside your window. If you’re in a suburban area (and even most cities) the first thing to wake you up is going to be the bird songs. And when it’s afternoon or evening, open windows will let in the cool summer air and allow your house to de-humidify. It’ll save you the cost of running the air conditioner and your carbon footprint will be reduced even further. And who doesn’t like some fresh air?

Image © ilovebutter

3. Take Advantage of Farmer’s Markets

All right, I know you meat-eaters won’t give up your sirloins and you’d stone me to death if I asked you to stop eating those Bubba Burgers so I’m not even gonna go there. But I will urge you to check out the local farmers markets in your area and be sure to take advantage of fruits and vegetables that are in season. Apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, figs, eggplants, chard, and organic non-GMO corn should be a good place to start. Farmers markets are a great place to form a relationship with farmers in your area, which will allow you to get closer to where your food comes from. If you really want meat, hit the farmers market for it. It’ll cost a little extra, but think about the stuff you’re avoiding by buying grass-fed…

Image © Eric (HASH) Hersman

4. Get off Netflix & Get Outside

Okay, I love Orange is the New Black as much as your average upper-middle class suburban white boy, but there’s time for that at night when the sun’s asleep and you’re drunk on cheap gin & tonics. You know what’s a great way to spend the day? Cornhole. If you haven’t played Cornhole, it’s like darts, but easier to play with a beer in your hand. Ladder ball? Same thing. Increases hand-eye coordination, is fun for the whole family, and shows off your skills. Or maybe you’re into tossing a frisbee around, a football, a baseball, or kicking some footy (soccer). Just get outside and enjoy the sun in some way; it’ll knock away that farmer’s tan and demonstrate that you actually have some kind of outdoor life. Also, outdoorsmen/women are sexy.

Image © Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCullough

5. Only Open Blinds at Night

I’m in a house right now that has blinds on every wall. If we open the blinds during the day, the sun gets in and burns everything and soon people are sweating and passing out on the ground. Well, it’s not that bad, but it’s hot and no one likes it. If we keep the blinds closed during the day and open them at night, however, everyone feels breezes of relief. It’s a passive solar design element that can be kept in mind to reduce electricity costs.

Related: 6 Delicious DIY Iced Drinks to Keep You from Melting This Summer

It’s summer, and time to be outside; to frolic in flowers and pass out with popcorn in your lap. But it’s also time to realize the amount of energy we’re wasting and to work on ways to reduce our impact on the earth and future generations. Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean we need to fall into the cliche of long car rides and air conditioned houses. Instead, why don’t we pave the way for a new enjoyment of summer that encourages healthy exercise, healthy eating habits, and actively working to reduce energy consumption? Why fall into cliches when we can form a future that no one’s expecting?

Lead Image © Praveen R. Venugopal
Images via Photopin; lead image © Kevin Krebs via Flickr Creative Commons