I graduated from high school last Sunday. As many seniors and recent graduates would agree, It is quite a surreal time to go through this important hallmark in our lives. Recent events—the COVID-19 pandemic, the police brutality that caused the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, the clampdown of dissent in Hong Kong—have forced us to think about global inequality and our own privilege like never before. For some of us, the future holds much uncertainty, and it is easy to feel crushed by anxiety and fear.
Under such circumstances, you might find it hard to feel excited for the summer, or even the school year ahead right now. You might be surprised at how fatiguing the inaction of quarantine life can be. You might want to just tune out, sleep and/or meditate for a few days.
Which is totally okay! There is no right or wrong way to process everything that’s happening. But if you feel like you’re already done with unwinding and want to find ways to be active during the summer, here are some suggestions to have a fun, meaningful, and climate-conscious break from school (that doesn’t involve hopping on the plane for an island vacation).
If conditions allow (decent internet connection, access to devices, etc.), you should definitely consider these options…
Work for a Cause
I am obviously biased in recommending this, having worked remotely for Climate Tracker pre-COVID-19. It’s been most meaningful for me because it unites both my passions for climate justice and freedom of press.
However, many of my friends are also now turning to online work as a way of contributing to a cause, while learning useful skills for professional development.
Keep the search on! In these times of increaseed digital activity, young people with technological savviness are always in need. Reach out to organizations, pitch ideas, and commit to the work that most excites you!
P.S: If you share my passions, feel free to pitch cool stuff to Climate Tracker!
Take/Create an Online Course
Why would I want to take more courses if I just got out of school?!?—you might ask. Well, the secret is don’t stick to Math and History! Udemy, Coursera and other online course providers feature a host of weird options—including animal telepathy, shamanism and how to text your girlfriend.
If you want to learn more about climate reporting, check out our Train-the-Trainer: Effective Climate Communication course!
You can also take free courses from college students, or contribute to their course repertoire.
Connect with Your (Future) Classmates
An underrated activity is connecting online with your current or future classmates if you are transitioning to highschool/university next year. As you probably already know, most colleges and college towns have Facebook groups and Instagram accounts introducing new students to each other.
Social media conversations may feel superficial, so take it to video call! You can also mix up talking with netflix-partying or simply working together with the video call on!
This one may not be specifically climate-conscious, but it enables you to have fun with no exhaust.
Perhaps you’ve grown tired of constantly staring at screens for work, social life and entertainment.
Itching to or get some fresh air? Here are some recommendations for you.
There are multiple organizations, mostly in the health care sector, that would do well with a couple more volunteers. Volunteer Match is a great site to look for them, especially if you’re in the U.S. Just enter your zip code and explore the thousands of options available! You might also be able to find work that provides you with better understanding climate-conscious thinking and how it affects our health.
If your area isn’t featured on this site, try to search for equivalent sites in your language or simply reach out to the local organizations you know.
Of course, if you do end up volunteering outside the house, be sure to protect yourself and others by wearing a mask (and gloves if needed).
Enjoy Nature with a Friend
What’s more climate-conscious than enjoying the outdoors? f you live close to nature—a lake, a hiking trail, a park—lucky for you! According to health experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, with adequate protection, you can take your activities outdoors with a small group of socially-distanced family and friends. Go on adventures! Set out challenges for yourself.
Create a Reading/Painting/Work Out Club
Miss talking with your buddies about your favorite books and homework readings? Exchange reading lists virtually and plan for zoom book clubs (or other types of clubs, depending on what you enjoy doing and sharing with people).
If you’re willing to spend a little on your quarantine book club, I would recommend Quarantine Book Club. At $5/section, you can discuss books or essays with their authors. The biggest plus is their topics are very timely, and they feature many awesome authors of color.