It gets so busy during the summertime. Sometimes it feels as though time has literally sped up. Softball games, family reunions, and camps mean running from point A to point B in a hurry. It's easy to lose sight of the small things.

Little changes are how we make a big difference with the environment. From taking shorter showers to upgrading our appliances, there are ways each day we can help Mother Earth enjoy the Summer as much as we do!

How can you have a low-impact Summer? Our experts give us the following tips.

First, support your local growers. Get produce at your area's Farmers' Market. Buy fruits and veggies in the "grown local" section of your favorite grocery. This may not seem like a big deal, but it supports local commerce and reduces the amount of fuels needed to transport your produce.

The next step also pertains to our food. Grow it yourself! Growing a simple vegetable garden is easier than you think. Most of the work goes into good prepping. Periodic weeding and harvesting are simple manual tasks that deliver real fruits of your "labor." Save money on your electric bill and contribute to a "new" way of living that is spreading across the country.

If you grow your own garden, consider being as natural or organic as possible. There are a plethora of wonderful products on the market that help keep bugs at bay.

Natural bug repellants are available for humans, too! Geraniums secrete a scent that drives mosquitos away. Mix a few drops of essential oils (citronella, orange, and rose geranium) into a spray bottle of water. Use this to spray down your legs and arms before any trip outside or to the garden. Not only will you smell good, you'll be a "no bug zone."

Are you looking for ways to save on energy and fuel costs? Start with your travel habits. Cars, even the most energy efficient models, consume mass amounts of gasoline, which has been refined from oil. The amount of energy and pollution that is involved in refining these products would astound you! Be organized and plan trips to the store. Also consider carpooling or using public transit! Your city may have HOV lanes, or high occupancy vehicle lanes. This means if there is more than one person in your car, you get a free pass around the rush hour traffic! If you have a walkable city, use your legs to walk or bike.

On the inside of your home you can save energy by upgrading your appliances. Newer Energy Star appliances use a fraction of the energy that their older counterparts did. You'll be surprised how much your electric bill drops in the first month!

Keep your home and yard cool for years to come by planting shade trees. Trees give our environment so much. They deliver loads of oxygen, all while consuming our nasty carbon dioxide. They help to reduce global warming with this effect! And of course, the give us shade to enjoy those evening glasses of iced tea.

Little habits add up to big change. Don't be too hard on yourself. Every day is a new day. Pick one thing to change today. Pick another next week and start a new habit.

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