Summerfest is the epitome of epic. Beginning next Saturday, Skydive Chicago will be launching its annual celebration of everything that makes our sport so incredible: amazing jumps, nightly events, live music, and fantastic food. It’s the perfect opportunity to trade your desk chair for a rig and spend some time with your buddies in the sky.

But boogies as epic as this one don’t come without an environmental cost, and– given that skydiving already leaves an unavoidable carbon footprint with each turn of an otter or sky van blade– we thought it might be a good idea to share some tips about how to enjoy our sport and Summerfest just a bit more responsibly this year.

1. Getting there. We already know Summerfest is a blast because of all the friends you get to catch up with, so why not start the party early by carpooling and traveling together? Whether you’re road-tripping the whole way or ride sharing to the DZ from the airport, more people in a car means fewer gas emissions from solo drives.  While some of you have to fly to the DZ, it doesn’t mean that you can’t carpool when you venture out to the store for supplies.

2. Consider investing in some reusable dishes, cups, cutlery, thermoses, and water bottles. So much paper and plastic waste results from single-use food containers. Yeah, we know it’s so much easier to go to Walmart and get some plastic cups and paper plates that go in the fire pit as soon as you’re done gobbling down some amazing grilled yumminess after a day of jumping.  Consider just grabbing a kit that has everything you need for dinner.  For under $20 USD you can get a set that is easily portable and is much sturdier than paper as well.  We found two sets that we like to use at Skydive Chicago.  Check out your options right HERE and HERE.

3. Invest in some quality camping gear. Resist the urge to buy a crappy $20 tent with the intention of throwing it away at the end of the week– instead, why not hit up friends, family, and colleagues to borrow the immaculate set of still unused Patagonia gear collecting dust in their garage? Chances are, the equipment Uncle Ned purchased on a whim when he endeavored to take up Alaskan salmon fishing might still be in its original packaging somewhere. Might as well give him a call, or check out REI’s used gear store that has some really great gear at good prices.  We thought we would also mention that our local Walmart has figured out that every year, just about this time, people make use of their ‘rental program’.  Careful… Walmart isn’t too keen around here about you buying a tent, trashing it, and then returning it at the end of the event.

4.  Ditch the straw. Either bring your own or pass on one. There’s plenty of metal and biodegradable options that make your post-jump smoothie just as enjoyable.  It’s a small change that makes a big difference over time. Check out these options from Amazon right here.

5.  Be at the loading area on time. Given that jumping isn’t green, every little bit helps. Don’t be “that guy” holding up a plane.  Because not only do you annoy a load full of skydivers by making everyone wait, you probably just killed a dolphin, too. Support the animals: Mind your 5-minute calls!

All joking aside, it’s up to us as a collective to make a start to change the world for future generations. Small little changes have ripple effects that can change the world.  We all know that skydiving changed each of our worlds. Let’s do what we can this Summerfest– and every skydiving season– to help change the entire world and keep those beautiful skies blue.

Oh, and just in case you haven’t registered for Summerfest yet… Save time now and click right here to get ready to Summerfest!

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