We use to joke about global warming and how us here living in Toronto would welcome warmer temperatures, especially in the winter. California dreaming? Indeed. But then as years continued we soon realized that global warming is more than just a few degrees warmer here and there. It also meant nature was sounding the alarms and lashing out causing devastation all around the world. We are seeing more tragic natural disasters. More extinction of our world’s most beautiful creatures. More deterioration in our ecosystems. More health issues. Yeah, now we’re paying attention, aren’t we?
We often ask ourselves, what can we do? Is there something we can change today, tomorrow, or even next week?
Every action counts and if you can share what you’re doing with friends, family, and coworkers, do it! Use your social media as a voice for change. Encourage your friends and family to do the research and take action and we can all move together to help heal the world.
Here are some ideas that may inspire you to do more …
Host a clothing swap: for your kids, for you, and for your pet. Donate whatever is left to a local shelter. There are places like the Fred Victor Shelter in Toronto that takes in homeless pets and happy to take in gently used stuff like used leashes, dog beds, blankets, toys, and yes, clothing.
Eat less meat: According to Greenpeace.org, industrial livestock production generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as cars, trucks and other vehicles combined. And forests are making way for cattle ranchers. Not to mention that a diet that is meat-heavy increases the risk of health issues. Mantra: veggie dishes are satisfying meals too. Know what we mean?
Refuse extra packaging when shopping: we’re doing a great job with our reusable grocery bags but we also need to decline the produce bags and styrofoam trays when possible. Tell your grocery store manager. Heck, we’ll even bring our own tote bags while shopping at non-food related retailers.
Buy quality over quantity BUT think of LONGEVITY: we remember days when people said: “if you didn’t wear xxx in the past 2 years, then toss it.” Well, now when we shop, we’re thinking “will I be able to wear this item for the next 5 or even 10 years?” Fast Fashion is over. More about this coming from Iva, our style editor, in the coming weeks.
Don’t throw away perfectly good items: Thanks to Marie Kondo we’ve all been donating trunk loads of goods to the local Value Village. But also take a look at trading on local platforms like Bunz, Palz, or even Facebook Marketplace. Just because something seems like no value to you, it may just be useful to someone else. We already knew this, right?
Rent a Dress: party season is coming and instead of shopping for a cocktail dress that you can’t be caught twice in, how about renting the latest looks from RentFrockRepeat or Fitzroy Rentals?
Organize a neighbourhood clean up: Bring together your community to help clean up local streets and parks. Ask your local business improvement area (BIA), and local politicians to show their support as well. Clear away fallen leaves at street water drains before the storms hit.
Make Your Home Smarter: Technology can definitely help with the number of energy-saving devices out there. The Google Nest Learning Thermostat can be programmed around your schedule and save energy. Change your showerheads to low-flow. Put your lights on timers. Lots of devices and apps to help manage everyday household energy-sucking items. Do laundry during off-peak hours.
Create a Butterfly Trail: Did anyone else notice a decline in butterflies this year? We certainly did. We can help bring them back by offering butterflies more access to wildflowers and milkweed. Butterflies drink nectar from flowers but Monarchs, in particular, cannot survive without milkweed. Monarchs are the only species that migrate from Canada to Mexico each year. You can find out more here at themonarchjointventure.org
We posed the question out to our community and asked what our friends are doing when it comes to climate change — in hopes of maybe inspiring others in their everyday lives. We were blown away by their answers and they just keep coming. Here are some more great ideas…
“We’ve been keeping the A/C off most days. I’ve also reduced my grocery shopping (which sounds weird but it cuts down waste by forcing us to eat leftovers, use pantry staples, produce less plastic waste, and lets me use less gas). As a teacher, I’ve shifted to largely online materials for my students.” Liz Geddes, teacher and mother of two
“We only eat meat a couple of times a week and have cut beef entirely. Switched to Tru Earth Laundry Strips so there’s no plastic bottle. Likewise, I don’t buy shampoo in bottles anymore—I use the gym shampoo or if I have to wash my hair at home, I have a litterless shampoo bar from Lush. I’ve also gone back to bar soap instead of liquid shower gel to cut plastic plus locally made soaps are such a great souvenir to buy when traveling. I found a compostable dental floss (it’s a non-plastic floss that goes into a reusable glass dispenser) and my next steps are to learn more about cutting back on toothpaste waste. We’ve also begun purchasing carbon offsets through Goldstandard.org when we fly. I’ve also been transitioning towards Thinx underwear instead of disposable pads. TMI? ” Yuki Hayashi, Toronto-based editor
“Cutting down plastics, buying less everything, hardly eating meat…and clothing swap with friends!” Casie Stewart, Content Director, 1188 Films Inc.
“A lot of my eco stuff comes from a store I love called Logan & Finley. The store owner Julie has really helped shape my eco choices in clothing. Also, I use mason jars for coffee/water, reuse plastic bags for groceries, reuse all plastic/ziplock bags, beeswax wrap, Bulkbarn for as many things as I can, and no plastic utensils. I’m trying to eat less meat and source better-raised meat.” Jennifer Chan, Digital Ad Operations
“I’ve started a public service initiative, Nourish by Numbers that is helping people make better, more sustainable choices and raise awareness of how food is grown, packaged, distributed and ends up on our dinner table. I’m also sharing tips on how to become a more earth-savvy consumer and advocate for change in the food system.” Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Better Food Advocate
“Switching up all my cleaning products to non-toxic alternatives, using beeswax paper instead of Saran wrap to store or cover food, only using reusable bags to go grocery shopping and just bought reusable produce bags. Making sure to do regular pantry inventory in my home and trying to use them before I buy new ones. Recycling clothes – my friends and I pass on our baby/kids clothes to each other.” Karen Nussbaum, PR specialist and mother
“We have a campaign called @FairPathForward that features positive solutions towards what each of us can do to make a difference. (Currently, we are running a #climatechangechallenge with tips daily on small shifts). We have also started a movement called #GoMamaBear/ #GoPapaBear to engage parents/adults in joining the fight against climate change in Canada. (Nobody protects their young more than a Mama Bear). It’s time for us to get serious in order to ensure our kids have a livable future.” Jennifer Powell, VP Marketing for Clean Prosperity
“Simple changes: Reusable bags, no plastic straws, avoiding bottled water as much as possible, reusing/repurposing where I can.” Callaie Elene, Toronto-based freelance writer & editor
“I’m doing some of the things above, and also really focused on being politically engaged. Worried about climate change denying governments.” Laurie Faith, Teacher
“I just sent an email to every single realtor and home improvement company that dropped their pile of flyers off in my mailbox today. I have a sticker on my mailbox for no flyers and unaddressed mail. I suggested they get in touch with whoever distributes their flyers to deal with it. Interestingly I got a response from all the realtors within minutes of my email. All apologized and promised to get in touch with the flyer distributors.” Rebecca
“We do a lot of the things already mentioned but I think the biggest way we help is by not travelling by air. We rarely fly anywhere for a vacation. Another thing we did recently is turn the water flow down in the house.” Grace
“Addicted to my bkr bottle, reusable coffee mug, resisting single-use plastics and always recycling if I can.
Taking my kids camping to instill a love of nature and outdoors. Composting at the cottage and growing my own herbs, berries and vegetables. Try to walk/transit and teach my kids that. Also, environmentally friendly sunscreen and rash guards so I don’t have to keep dumping chemicals in the lake!” Libby Roach, food photographer and writer
“Our family is constantly looking for ways to improve. Anything that helps with saving energy is very useful in our household. New RING lighting devices have helped especially with motion-sensor outdoor lights rather than leaving them on all the time. The Google Nest Thermostat is a serious game-changer. We can control these devices with our iPhones and accompanying apps.” me, Sonya
Just remember to ask all the questions and do the research — it’s all out there. Got any more ideas? Please share with us and help spread the good vibes. xx