Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Professor's homework assignment and how we can be eco friendly too.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not" - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Franny over at The Curious Professor Z has assigned us with some homework. This month's assignment hits very close to my heart. She wants us to talk about nature. 

I love nature.  I grew up camping in the woods, swimming in lakes and I used to go boating with my dad. I have seen the millions of stars fill the night sky and I can still recall the excitement when I saw a shooting star for the first time.

This homework assignment's deadline is also due not long after we celebrated Earth Day so I am going to take advantage of this opportunity to talk about a wonderful activity I did with my employer, climate change, sustainability and  offer some suggestions on what we can do to help protect mother earth. Thank you Franny for inspiring me! 

In spirit of Earth Day, we had a guest speaker come in from an organization that is affiliated with The David Suzuki Foundation  to warn us about the effects of global warming. I know it can be easily said that the effects won't happen for many, many years but that is not true. We are seeing the effects of global warming today. The polar caps are starting to melt, the frequency of natural disasters have increased over the years, extreme weather conditions are examples of global warming. It is fair to say that natural disasters do happen and global warming is not the cause but the frequency and intensity of these disasters are caused by global warming. The company I work for is very big on sustainability. I go to work with pride everyday knowing that there are not only recycling bins located through out the building but composting ones as well. We only have one main light switch. All the other ones are motion sensors are but a few examples on how my work plays it's part.

After the conference, I got to go participate in a clean up activity that afternoon! The clean up took place in a wooded area right behind the local library.  We were provided with gloves, recycling and garbage bags and were divided into groups to go be garbage pickers! Some of us were in the wooded area which apparently didn't have much trash. I was with the group who did the outskirts of the woods and alongside a busy road so we had a lot of trash to pick up! Afterwards, the city offered three sets of movie passes and names were picked out at random. My name was picked and I won a pair of free tickets to the local cinema! I am going to use them to see the new Star Wars movie when it comes out!

Unfortunately, I forgot my phone in the car so I was unable to take pictures of the event. Besides, my hands were full carrying around trash and recycling bags! It was so nice to be out of the office and outside. The weather was pretty cold but once I got moving, I was fine. It didn't rain either. Years prior, we always got caught in the rain and snow whenever we participated in this activity.

Being an environmental and sustainability ambassador, I have some simple suggestions on how you can help reduce your carbon footprint:

(1) Recycle or compost your toilet paper rolls. According to the site, there are enough discarded empty toilet paper rolls in landfills that they can circle the Earth over 40 times. 

Solution a:  If you have children, keep the rolls for craft projects. There are plenty of ideas online. Here is a pinterest page dedicated to it:

Solution B: I actually stole this idea from work. Place a small bin in your washroom next to the trash can for recyclables. It is amazing how fast it gets filled. I use it for empty toilet paper rolls, packaging,, empty shampoo bottles, etc.

Solution C: Purchase toilet paper without the rolls in the middle. I have not seen this in stores in my area but I know it does exist. It is probably more expensive than regular toilet paper so it may not be the go to idea if you are on a budget.

(2) We should be mindful of our water consumption:

Solution: Instead of using the water hose to water our garden plants, use a bin or buckets to gather rain water.

(3) Instead of throwing away my old cell phone battery or other items I can:

Solution A: We have a store called Office Depot (or should I say the Quebec version Bureau en Gros?) where there are battery disposal boxes. In fact, there are even disposal boxes for old cell phones.

Solution B: Buy rechargeable.

Solution C: Here in Montreal, each borough has an eco centre. They usually collect batteries and other items that usually go into a landfill.

(4) Feeding ourselves is wreaking havoc on the planet.

Did you know that 13% of the US' greenhouse gasses (sorry guys, I was unable to find Canadian stats!) are from production and transportation of food? Transporting food requires petroleum based fuels and many fertilizers are fossil-fueled based.

Solution: Buy locally produced, preferably organic food. 

(5) Did you know that Canadians are the largest consumer of energy in the world? According to David Suzuki's website: "We have just over 30 million people, but we use as much energy as the entire continent of Africa, home to 700 million! Wasting energy hurts nature and your wallet because energy efficiency means lower bills as well as less pollution. Here's how to stem your energy leaks:

  • Reduce your home heating and electricity use. A more energy-efficient home will lower your utility bills and reduce the emissions that cause climate change. Find out how you can increase energy efficiency in your home through the EnerGuide for Houses program.

Lastly, for those of you who don't know who David Suzuki is:
David Suzuki is a Canadian environmental activist and broadcaster. I grew up watching his show "The Nature of Things" on tv. and he is a personal hero of mine because he speaks his mind and is known for criticising the governments for not doing enough to protect the environment. While doing some research for this post, I came across a 30X30 challenge on his website. Basically, the challenge is spending 30 minutes outside everyday during the month of  May. I am going to make this part of my batfit challenge since lately, that has sort of fallen to the sides due to health reasons. Spending 30 minutes outside for me is easy. If you want to do the challenge, you can (it appears it is open to everyone on the website) so if you want, you can sign up:

I want to thank you all for reading and for allowing me to stand on my proverbial soapbox! See what you have unleashed, Franny?


  1. ok, you made me feel a little bad because im such a freezing person and hence heat probably far too much... but i try to let this be the worst thing i do to nature (well, lower temperatures cause real pain in my body so this is something i can't change...) oh and on recycables, i love creating paper mache stuff with the old toilet paper rolls and when i still had pets (guinea pigs or cats or mice) they loved nomming on them or playing with them until they were completely destroyed...

  2. lol heat when you have to heat! That is a great suggestion for the recyclables.

  3. Good and simple tips that anyone can follow. When we had our first child we hardly did any recycling, and produced 4-5 garbage bags per week. Now we are a family of five and do as much recyceling as is practical (one can always do more), and produce 1-2 bags of garbage per week, and it hardly takes any extra effort from us.

  4. These are the kinds of stats and facts that keep a fellow earth loving lady like me up at night (seriously). I am so worried about the future of the planet and mankind. We're in the 11th hour with our devastating impact on the planet and if major changes aren't made soon, it could be too late (and I say that as a perpetual optimist!).

    ♥ Jessica

  5. What a great way to celebrate Earth day! You must work for an amazing corproation that invests so much into our planet...



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