Posted by Christina McGregor at 5:06 PM
But I got some news for you from the Additupontario.ca website that made me realize that we can still make a difference. We already have made a difference in fact.
- 40 years ago lead pollution was a major problem, now they are only a fraction of the levels they used to be because we reduced lead in gas and removed it from our paint
- 30 years ago acid rain damaged many ecosystems, however after reducing emissions many ecosystems are recovering
- 15 years ago CFCs and other aerosol chemicals were destroying the ozone layer, but they have been banned and the ozone layer is beginning to recover
We have done all this, but we can do more. It's not the end of the world yet, but we have to make sure it doesn't get to that point by acting now. As long as we keep working towards a green sustainable future, we can make a difference!
1. Don't over-AC or overheat your home. Invest in a programmable thermostat that can increase or decrease the temperature in your home while you are away or asleep. Whenever possible, use fans and install ceiling fans in your home to regulate cool air when you are not using your AC. This will conserve energy and save you money!
A good temperature guideline for the summer is nothing below 25 degrees Celsius and likewise a good temperature guideline for the winter is nothing above 20 degrees Celsius.
2. Use reusable grocery bags, paper bags or no bags at all. There is a debate that plastic (the regular kind) is better than paper but the truth is that paper comes from a renewable resource whereas plastic is made from petroleum products which are not renewable (in our lifetime). Ultimately I think reusable canvas/plastic grocery bags are the best.
3. Walk, bike/roller blade, take public transit or carpool whenever possible. If you must drive do not carry unnecessary items in your car to ensure you are being fuel efficient. If you are considering a new home or apartment, look for one that has an environmentally friendly route that is also convenient for you. Close to public transit, bike lanes or pedestrian friendly areas will encourage you to take advantage of these environmentally friendly transportation systems. It'll be easier on our wallet too!
4. Don't trash what can be donated or put into the freecycle system for someone else's use! Checkout freecycle groups in your area to let other people know you have something they may want. If you look you may find something you want as well!
5. Reusable bottles (I like the special Pom ones with their funny shapes!) are great, you don't need to buy a snazzy $10 one if you already have a perfectly good plastic beverage bottle.
6. Give your wet clothes some fresh air! Rather than using your dryer, hang up your clothes. If you can't hang up your clothes, a way to decrease drying time is to put a dry towel in with your wet laundry. Also, make sure you don't overdry your clothes!
7. Control your energy use by using powerbars! Switch off your electronics when not in use and if they are connected to a powerbar, switch that off too.
8. Grow your own garden (it doesn't even have to be in a backyard, it can be a window box inside your home), buy local. Eat less meat, eat in-season and make sure you are eating food that was harvested in sustainable ways. After you finish your meal...compost and help your garden along! Use your green bin if you cannot compost. It's a great way to divert waste from our landfills.
Keep checking my blog for more!
Slate magazine has an article on whether soy milk or cow's milk was more environmentally friendly. The article is well-researched and mentions that the origin of soy beans used in soy milk may not be from sustainable environments which is something many consumers may not be aware of. It also brings up a recent story that Amazonian farmers are destroying their forests to grow soy bean crops. This demonstrates that a consumer must be vigilant about their purchases and not simply skim the surface when it comes to being conscious consumers!
Posted by Christina McGregor at 2:41 PM
You walk into a grocery store and see a fantastic deal for say....tomatoes. You immediately reach for a bag and as you start to check the firmness on a ripe juicy tomato you look at the label on the box. "GROWN IN
Now let's consider the journey of that tomato to your hands. Probably in a box on either in a shipping container or on a truck across thousands of kilometers (doesn't sound very fresh does it?). Think of all that gas polluting the air just to get that tomato to you. Now think of all the thousands of markets these tomatoes are supplied to, and the effect of the shipping pollution magnifies!
In a time when gas prices are rising to record breaking highs, the cost of all non-locally grown produce will increase to make up shipping costs. That or costs for growing will be cut...possibly in ways that will still negatively affect the consumer. Less stringent standards for pesticide use (though that's a whole 'nother can of worms!), cheaper genetically modified crops (which, if sold to the unknowing consumer with severe food sensitivities could spell discomfort if not disaster) and unhygienic growing methods (consider the tomato scare of recent news).
If you buy local, the cost of transportation will still affect the price, but they won't be as pronounced. Rather than over a thousand miles, it'll be over 50 miles...what a difference! Local farmers are regulated by laws you will be aware of, which you have control over, and which are more often than not, more stringent than those of developing country far far away.
It is much more sustainable to buy produce that is grown within 100 km of you, because you technically keep the resources used to grow the produce within your "habitat". Did you know that severe drought is affecting areas in Africa that grow huge crops of flowers to be shipped all around the world and used in bouquets? Flowers use more water than normal crops and by shipping these flowers away, you are taking away even more water from a drought-stricken environment. The same can happen with vegetable crops. Developing countries need those croplands and resources for their own people...not exporting to developed countries looking for cheaper goods. Prices at farmers markets are comparable to prices in grocery stores that do not purchase locally...so long as the crops are in season. I understand that you may desire to eat strawberries in the winter but that is a luxury you don't have to indulge in on behalf of the environment.
When you support your local farmer, you also support the local economy and foster a stronger sense of local community when you can actually talk to those who grew your food. You can also make a family outing of it, and teach your kids the importance of buying local, knowing where the products you consume come from, as well as teach them to be more environmentally aware! There are always things to do at the market!
Here are some links to check out for your local farmers market, but I'm certain you'll find more using your usual search engine!
Posted by Christina McGregor at 11:16 AM