Think of summer and what comes to our mind? Mangoes and ice creams, vacation or outing with friends and family to a hill station, and a lot of fun with indoor and outdoor games, besides the long warm days of course.
To make the best out of summer holidays, here are three activities one can easily do:
1. Start early, start it at home
Schools registered under the Green Schools Programme conduct their own environmental audit and assesses their resource consumption. How about each one of us adopts the same approach and assess the waste and energy consumption in our homes? Some of these are easy and some may need the help of adults.
1.1 What do we throw away?
First, we observe what kind of waste is generated at our homes. Is there plastic, glass or paper? Does it decompose? Then we note the quantity and types of solid waste. Let's discuss with our families what mechanism can be used to segregate the waste daily into biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Then we figure out disposal.
We can take help from our teachers. Once we have segregated solid waste at source, we may go one step further. While the biodegradable waste can be composted, for the non-biodegradable waste, we can reach out to companies which recycle paper, metal, e-waste, and plastic. These range from the kabadiwalas to new startup ventures.
1.2. Can we create from waste?
Collect the dry waste generated at home—paper, plastic, boxes, ribbons, cardboards, packing papers, straws, etc. Now let our creativity do the rest of the job. We can make cards, pen holders, frames, accessories, clay items and other decorative stuff. Once we reuse the discarded objects, we can give ourselves a pat on the back, for we have upcycled!
1.3. Can we identify the plants and birds near our homes?
Let's explore the plants and animals we see. Try to identify them and make a list. Try to find out the interaction between plants, insects and birds. What’s more? From the waste we collected, we can make hanging water bowls to feed birds and plant sheds to save the plants from excessive heat.
1.4. Can we save energy?
It is difficult to imagine life without constant availability of water and energy. We sometimes end up taking these precious resources for granted and end up wasting them. We need more of both these resources in summers with the need of cooling our home and vehicles with coolers and ACs. We could start monitoring the usage pattern and find out ways to reduce wastage.
1.5. What's there to relish?
Instead of asking your parents to make 'something nice', why not ask them if they can help make something refereshing for your friends. We don't mean just pastas and burgers. One can organise fruit parties where the same fruit can be used to bake a cake, make a salad or whip up a drink.
P.S. We already have a subject for our photo session.
If some of us like photography, then this summer, we can make a story through pictures, not words. When we look through the lens, we will learn to value and see things from a specific point of view. First, let's select a subject which is close to us. Our favourite ice cream or pet may have a story. Take some pictures and go through a checklist. Is the light too bright? Does the photo have a frame? Is there a point of view? Is there something you can say through the image? Now we will take pictures again with these points in mind and the difference will mark our improvement.
3. Adventure and learning
Vacations can easily transform us into couch potatoes and gadget slaves. To beat that tendency, let's make a group outing to a place near our locality. It could be an early morning long trek, a nature trail or bird watching. Carry enough water to keep dehydration at bay. We should remember not to leave our traces (read litter) behind, for we don’t want ourselves to be remembered for the wrong reasons.
There are various enthusiasts who work on exploring the local diversity, heritage, monuments and culture. What better time than a summer vacation to equip ourselves with knowledge. We can form a group or join an existing group to enhance our skills and learning on the area of our interest. Other interesting things to do include urban gardening and pottery lessons.