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Eco-Tips for When You are Out of Doors

Spring is here and that means most people will be spending more time outdoors. As the temperature climbs it is important to be conscious of the health and environmental impact of your outdoor activities. Being mindful of environmental concerns will be safer and will lead to less waste. Being eco-friendly outside is a great way to honor God’s creation, the Earth.

  • Use natural methods to protect against the sun: Use of sunscreens is commonplace from May through August. Many sunscreens, however, contain chemicals and may be harmful to the skin and the environment. Look for a sunscreen made with organic ingredients and no chemicals. Read the label before you buy anything. Brands such as Alba Botanica and Jason Natural Cosmetics carry natural sunscreen products. Adorable Baby and Earth’s Best are a few safe brands for infants and young children. Also don’t forget to wear a wide brimmed hat during the middle of the day when the sun is strongest, a natural sun protection technique.
  • Make or buy natural insect repellents: Bug repellents are often essential in the warm weather, particularly if you hike or camp in areas, where mosquitoes, ticks and other dangerous insects dwell. However, most insect repellents contain DEET, which is toxic. Rather than putting a bug spray heavy with DEET on your skin, consider making your own repellent using essential oils, vegetable oil and aloe vera gel (see recipe below). If you prefer a store-bought brand, you can typically find natural bug repellents at health food stores and groceries such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of grills: Many people enjoy grilling food outdoors in the spring or summer. If you are a fan of grilling, consider the environmental impact of the type of grill you use. In general, it is best to avoid charcoal grills, because they emit twice as much carbon as gas grills. The lighter fluid used on charcoal grills also adversely affects the ozone layer. You are better off using an energy efficient gas grill, which uses less energy, has a quicker start time and emits less smoke. Also consider investing in newer grilling methods on the market, such as pellet grills and hybrid grills. These are better for the environment than gas grills, although they are often harder to find and currently more expensive to buy than other types of grills.

Enjoy heading outdoors the earth-friendly way!

Homemade Insect Repellent Recipe:
10-25 drops essential oil. Try lavender, rose geranium (for ticks), coriander seeds, peppermint, cajeput and citronella
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel (optional)
Combine the ingredients in a glass jar; stir to blend. Dab a few drops on your skin or clothing


Originally posted on jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog.aspx?id=345

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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