Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

In Canada, April 22 is Earth Day. On this day, we take some time to reflect on how we, as individuals and as an entire nation, celebrate environmental awareness and reduce our negative impacts on the ecosystem. Andrew said he would sleep in, not turn on any light, and not do any work so as to reduce his energy consumption for the day. That didn't work out because his parents came to visit and go out to lunch. This, however, is a perfect example of why it is important to incorporate environmental awareness into all of the activities of our daily lives and avoid making lofty promises to the earth one day a year. Not that I think Earth Day is about one day, I just like to think of it as the day to celebrate all of our hard work every day of the year.

One of my favourite parts of Earth Day is when TV shows do special clips about environmentally conscious people. I suppose I should turn the TV off and save power, but it would just get turned back on and the one-day impact is what we're trying to get away from here. My favourite clip this year was on MTV. Nicole interviewed a hockey player from the Boston Bruins. His name is Andrew Ference and he's a good Canadian boy. He started his career with the Calgary Flames and one day he was asked, "if you could go to dinner with any celebrity who would you pick?" Andrew replied, "David Suzuki." Of course, this got picked up by the Canadian media and David Suzuki's people called Ference's people and set up a breakfast meeting for the two Canadian celebrities. Or something like that....I said I saw it on MTV. Andrew said he ended up having the breakfast with David and they collaborated to start a program to green-up the NHL. This is a pretty big deal because the NHL is mainly about over-the-top use of resources. Players may fly to three different cities a week. Giant ice sheets don't actually exist naturally in southern Florida, or even Toronto in June. Not that this really matters to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Andrew started with the Flames and had all of the players buy carbon credits to offset their travel for the season. This initiative has spread across the league and now 500 players have signed on to purchase credits. More can be read about this project here.

Of course, all of this got be thinking about daily actions I take to minimize my negative environmental impact. Andrew and I don't buy many disposable items. I think I've had the same roll of parchment paper since we moved in together. We use cloth in the kitchen and for all of our cleaning. I try to eat a mainly vegetarian diet and buy local food. I don't have a car, we walk, bike, and use public transportation. I try not to accept plastic bags and I rarely use disposable containers. I'm moving out of my house at the end of August to visit Australia. So, I really need to cut down on my belongings and most importantly not accumulate any more. I'm thinking I want to make a somewhat of a pledge to use NO plastic bags or disposable food containers for the entire year. I am also wanting to make a pledge to NOT purchase any clothing or accessories that are not made in my country of residence. I think I can take this on for a year. Lots of other people are doin' it. Also, I have this great collection of food containers and craft supplies, so I can take or make my own.

The reason I want to make this pledge is that I am completely aware of my impacts when purchasing food and clothing, but I still make the wrong choice once in awhile. I feel like I need to figure out why I make these choices when I do. So, I'm going to use this blog to comment when I feel like slipping up.

There's definitely more to come on this one, but I need to work on my thesis now.


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