The holidays are a notoriously wasteful time of year with an estimated 300,000 additional tonnes of garbage created by Canadians between mid November and New Years' Day. With an excess of gift wrap, consumer packaging, and food waste, that's not hard to believe. Here are five ways you can give the gift of green this holiday season.
To improve well-being everywhere, we need to find ways of using resources efficiently, generating less waste and enabling a more equitable standard of living worldwide. More than the other Goals, sustainable consumption and production patterns requires changes in society and culture -- changes in how we think.
Are you a makeup hoarder? If you like makeup and have even done a little bit of experimenting, then you probably are! The thing about makeup is that often we buy things at the suggestion of others, from the sales person at a local beauty counter, or even on a whim online. Then we get it home and don't know what to do with it, or it looks different when we apply it ourselves.
For over two years now, I've been living in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut and site of one of this year's northernmost Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup events! Part of the reason why there was so much garbage to collect along the main route is that Iqaluit is in desperate need for more public garbage and recycling bins. There are less than a handful along the main route through town.
From pollution to poverty, social enterprises like the Plastic Bank are discovering new solutions to old problems. And Canadian entrepreneur David Katz shows us the key to successful social enterprises lies in changing the way we think, finding the value in people and things everyone else tosses aside.
The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability, or CIRS, building on the University of British Columbia campus is a building that nearly lives and breathes. Determining what the greenest building in Canada is a bit of a fool's errand. But if green is a journey to architecture that regenerates and repairs the environment around it then the CIRS building is something to aspire to.
Sewage, biosolids, wastewater, effluent, human waste and night soil -- these are all euphemisms for poo. But instead of looking at it as something to be disposed of, why not use it to grow a crop that can heat our buildings, produce electricity or be used for compost? Camrose County in rural Alberta is doing just that.
Just as we are learning of the new pressures on the demand for food among the marginalized, news broke of the ironic reality that Canadians waste $27 billion worth of food each year. If we broaden the issue out to include the United States, things don't look any better. It appears as though North Americans waste food on a grand scale.
Before you make a reservation, check out what the restaurant offers in terms of ingredients, menu items and eco-aspects. Ask if they use reusables, including cloth napkins and tablecloths. If you currently frequent establishments that use disposables (plastic cups for condiments and coleslaw), suggest that they switch.