Dollarphotoclub_25358763Summertime is a prime season for traveling and enjoying the outdoors. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your vacation and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

  1. Pets: We love being able to take our pets to the beach or on the trail. Bring plenty of plastic bags to clean up after your pet. If the area is busy, keep your furry friends on a leash. Not everyone is comfortable around animals, so, when in public, keeping them on a leash is the right thing to do..
  2. ?????????????????????????????Move to the Side: On a hike you may pause to take a photo of the scenery or stop to take in the breathtaking views. When stopping on a trail, move to the side to allow others to pass. Share the space and allow bikers, walkers and joggers the same courtesy.
  3. Watch your Doors: Be careful opening your doors when parked at the beach or on the side of the road. With warmer weather, people are outside, walking and cycling. Check your mirrors before opening the door to avoid dangerous collisions with cars, people or bikes.
  4. Dollarphotoclub_52637911Mind your Speed: If you are out for a bike ride or run, be aware of your space and others.  Announce yourself when passing - "On your left!". Do not pass on the right unless absolutely necessary. If you are cycling, reduce your speed in heavily populated areas. Always pay attention to your surroundings. If the area doesn't look safe, listen  to your gut and always follow your instincts.
  5. Park Rules: If you are in a public space and there is a sign with rules, follow it. Whether it says, "slow on the right, pass on the left" or "no glass bottles," the rules are in place to make it a safer place for everyone.
  6. ??????No Littering: When you finish your water bottle on a hike, hold onto it until you find a trashcan or recycling bin. Pick up after yourself to keep the environment clean.
  7. Obey Traffic Laws: Utilize all pedestrian crossings. You are responsible for the safety of others just as they are responsible for yours. Don't walk out in front of cars assuming the car will stop. Use turn signals and be careful of vehicles - its driver could be texting, talking on a cell phone or otherwise distracted.
  8. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????Plan for Dusk and Dawn: If you take daily runs in the early morning or late evening, wear reflective clothing and use reflectors to be visible to drivers. This is especially important when fog or rain limits visibility. It is your responsibility to watch out for cars. Drivers can be unpredictable, so we, as pedestrians, must be cautious. As a female, it is never a good idea to  walk or run after dark alone. Bring a buddy!

Keep these helpful hints in mind when exercising and enjoy the outdoors!

Reduce Reuse RecycleWorld Environment Day falls this year on June 5th.  UNEP chose the theme this year to revolve around the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources.

In order to have a sustainable and functioning environment, people must be aware of the amount of resources they are consuming and learn how to cut out unnecessary waste. As UN secretary Ban Ki– Moon said, "Although individual decisions may seem small in the face of global threats and trends, when billions of people join forces in common purpose, we can make a tremendous difference."

People deserve respect, but what about our planet?  We know plenty of ways to show appreciation for one another, but here are ways we can show our gratitude for our planet and reduce our carbon footprint.

Community Clean Up3 R’s: Reducing, reusing, and recycling can make such a large difference. This simple step can prevent pollution, save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and sustain the environment.

Carpool or Take Public Transit: Carpooling reduces the amount of traffic congestion and saves money on fuel and car maintenance costs. By using alternative transportation, the amount of carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere is drastically reduced.

Buying Local Food: Buying local food makes a huge difference. Much of the food that is bought in grocery stores has to travel a long distance and consumes a large amount of fuel. By buying local you cut down on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere!

Plant a Tree: Trees have many environmental benefits aside from the aesthetics.  Not only can a tree provide shade for a house causing air conditioners to run less, but they also absorb ozone and help absorb runoff.  We must encourage local governments toPlanting a Tree have stricter laws in place for builders who go in and raze the land completely.

Install Energy Efficient Appliances: Energy efficient appliances provide long-term sustainability and are mutually beneficial to the environment and the individual.  These appliances decrease the amount of energy consumed and cut down on pollution.

Change your Light Bulbs: If you replace your light bulbs gradually with compact fluorescent light bulbs then you will replace your lights less frequently.  The fluorescent bulbs use approximately 75% less energy than the incandescent bulbs.

The environment needs to be improved in order to create a lasting and sustained environment. Do your part and try to change your habits and help reduce the waste of resources. Whether it is a million people or one individual, every single person makes a difference.

So once again - - - reduce, reuse and recycle.

If there is one place where courtesy is necessary, it is our streets and highways.  We tend to forget that the vehicles we drive can maim and kill if we do not use them responsibly.

Although traffic fatalities in the United States are on a decline, they still totaled over 7,500 in 2012.  The reasons for these accidents vary greatly, and there always exists some situations that are unavoidable.

But the one method of prevention we can all implement is to be aware of our surroundings, remain calm, and show courtesy to the many other people with whom we must share the road.

Using a vehicle to threaten others is not only rude, but unsafe.  If someone cuts you off in traffic and you decide to get revenge by tailgating them, you set yourself up for possibly an even more uncomfortable situation.

We never know what someone else may be dealing with when they get behind the wheel of a car.  Are they upset after having just been fired from a job?  Are they rushing a sick child to an emergency clinic?  And the one that always makes the news is when a woman gives birth in a car.

Even though we have our own issues, and reasons for traveling by vehicle, we need to be fully aware that everyone else does, too.

Let’s work together to make life on our roads and freeways more pleasant and manageable.  Have a heart, and show a little courtesy.