By TreeLiving Summer is a great time to be green and make the most of the beautiful outdoors. Green summer activities are healthy and fun for the whole family, and will help kids appreciate the beauty and wonder of our natural environments. It’s a foundation for a lifelong grounding in eco awareness. So get out there and get stuck into some enjoyable green pursuits. There’s nothing quite as summery as a p icnic or barbecue, in an unspoilt place or in your own backyard. Propane gas may seem less natural for your barbecue but it’s actually cleaner and greener than charcoal. If the sounds of nature aren’t enough for you, accompany your relaxed al fresco dining with music from a wind-up radio. (Kids love them!) Keep it green with recyclable or compostable plates and locally produced foods that won’t amplify your carbon footprint. Even better, grow your own. For people who are bored by just sun worshipping, gardening of all kinds is a great and creative way to spend time outdoors. If you haven’t sown in spring, check out vegetables that can still be started in summer, like Swiss chard. Harvesting your own food is as green as it can get. It’s economical and a great way to educate smaller kids on sustainability and caring for our home planet. Try planting things that attract wildlife and butterflies, and plant garlic and rosemary to repel bugs instead of using toxic insecticides. You can also get fit with outdoor pursuits like hiking or biking trails, or try good-old fashioned, low tech camping to get up close and personal with the natural world. If you carry a backpack, get one with a built-in solar charger, to power your phone, MP3 player or other gadgets using free green energy. Solar lights are also great for summer evenings in the yard. Going green is about reduced consumption and clever alternatives. For outdoor sporting activities, there are plenty of pursuits that don’t waste non-renewable resources for our frivolous fun. Sports like kayaking or surfboarding are about going with nature, not against it, and can be much more enjoyable than jet skiing or motorized sports. Summer is the time to get water wise and conserve this precious resource. If you can rig up an outdoor shower, it will give the kids just as much fun as a pool while using less water. You can divert the runoff for reuse in the garden. (Water early morning or evening to stop evaporation and make it go further.) For indoor refreshing after a hot day, think about installing a low-flow shower head. Check out your local press, libraries and organizations for community eco projects to volunteer on. It’s a way for the whole family to make a difference. If you can, walk or cycle to the store. It may take a bit longer but it’s a way to make the most of sunny days. You’ll get to know your environment in ways you never will from inside a gas-guzzling, air-conditioned car. With the cash you save from greening your summer, you’ll have more to spend on family activities and togetherness – which is also what it’s all about.