It's no secret that the impacts of climate change have been felt across the globe, especially over the last decade. We've seen changing weather patterns which have caused catastrophic heat waves & forest fires, untimely snow storms, and strong hurricanes. Food production is at risk, as are rising sea levels.
The United Nations states that climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at a defining moment.
Taking care of the earth is not just a responsibility, but a necessity.
What we do today for Earth Day, and everyday for that matter is important and makes an impact.
There are small things we can all do to help reduce our carbon footprint. Some of our suggestions are:
Something as simple as turning the tap off while you're brushing your teeth, to using reusable water bottles on the regular can make all the difference (which has a secondary benefit of reducing plastic!)
During the summer, consider whether its necessary to water your grass (a little brown grass isn't the worst!).
In some provinces, there are even designated watering days, and sticking to your day can help save a ton of water.
You could even take it one step further and build your own rain barrel to collect water, which can then be used to water your garden!
Switch to LED's
LED light bulbs use around 75-85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and approx. 50% less than fluorescent tubes.
Additionally when compared to traditional lighting, the lifespan of LED's is far superior and can last on average 50,000+ hours, or anywhere from 6 - 12 years before you need to replace them. (which is approx. 40 times longer than Incandescent bulbs!)
LED'S are also very easy to recycle since they do not contain mercury.
Although it's easier said than done, try to consider how often you need to drive.
Do you have the opportunity to reduce how frequently you drive throughout the week, either by working remotely, or completing local errands on foot or by bike?
If you have errands to run and you live close to a supermarket or plaza, consider walking or biking & cross two things off your list by getting a workout in and completing your errands. Be sure to grab a backpack to make it easier to trek your items home!
Also, with the prevalence of electric vehicles (EV), consider making your next car purchase an EV. Our partners over at ChargePoint put together a graphic which sums up the benefits that EV's have on the planet perfectly:
Recycle & Compost
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle - words that have been etched in my brain since elementary school!
But it really is as simple as that. If everyone used less single-item plastics, brought their own stainless steel water bottle & reusable grocery bags and recycled their paper on the regular, it would amount to significant changes.
In fact, If an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waster for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road (source: EPA).
Composting on the other hand, is increasingly seen as a form of carbon management. In fact, many municipalities across Canada have jumped on board with composting by providing residents with compost bins.
In 2018, Canadians generated 35.5 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW). However, when we account for population and economic activity, Canadian's are generating less waste over time - 2 percent less on a per-capita basis and 23 percent less per unit of GDP in 2018 compared to 2002 (Source: Fraser Institute)
Keeping food items out of the garbage bins can help reduce the amount of solid waste you produce, which eventually ends up in landfill.
Small changes like this, will add up to improvements over time (as we can see the improvement from 2002 - 2018 noted above).
Reduce Plastic Usage
On average, 500 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide. Single-use plastics can take a long time to biodegrade, sometimes as long as 500 years for plastic bottles for example.
Unfortunately, a lot of this ends up in our oceans, which in turn is consumed by fish and other sea creatures.
A few easy changes you can incorporate include:
- Remembering to bring your own cutlery & re-usable straws
- Bringing cloth/reusable bags to the grocery store
- Buy more bulk food and less packaged products (and purchase reusable mesh bags, which can be found on just about anywhere)
- Use glass or steel containers instead of plastic Tupperware
- Ensure you wash out any plastic containers properly and place them in the correct bins
- If you do by plastic containers, try your best to repurpose or re-use them
Try Growing Your Own Vegetables
This one may take a little bit more work, but it's incredibly rewarding (and pretty fun) to grow your own vegetable garden.
It doesn't have to be complicated. You can start with easy to grow & easy to care for vegetables like lettuce, spinach, kale, carrots, or even your favourite herbs. All you need is good coco or soil and maybe a few nutrient blends.
If you're already an expert outdoor gardener, it may be time to consider growing indoors by purchasing some grow tents & lighting fixtures and so that you can continue to grow your favourite food year round.
If you need recommendations on how to start growing indoors, our team can help with that!
Growing your own food allows you to stop relying solely on traditional methods of purchasing your produce, and gives you peace of mind in knowing what you're eating and what has gone into producing it (in other words, no pesticides!).
There are so many other ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint above and beyond what we've noted in this blog post.
It's easy to think that one small step or action may not make a difference, but if every person on the planet took one small step today, it would add up over time and help mitigate the effects of global climate change.