Today’s Metro Morning asked people to call in with their new year’s resolutions for the city of Toronto, which were then commented on by guest Glen Murray. They only had time for three callers (unless I missed the beginning), and their resolutions were:
- Close Bay Street to private vehicles.
- Increase the number of recycling options.
- More affordable housing.
Based on these calls, I will now conclude that if an election were held tomorrow, I’d get 66.6% of the vote and Michael Shapcott would get the other 33.3%. (Note: not a scientific poll.)
The question got me thinking though, and I decided to create my own top ten environmental new year’s resolutions for anyone wondering what they can do. The catch is that these kinds of lists are already everywhere, and I didn’t want to be boring. So, things like “drive less, replace your light bulbs, and recycle” didn’t make the cut. I’m assuming you already know that. These resolutions also ask a little bit more of you. Sorry about that.
Here, off the top of my head, are ten other things you may or may not have thought of or already be doing.
- Eat less meat. We already eat too much for our health anyway, and meat is a very inefficient (albeit admittedly delicious) way of producing food energy. It takes more resources (food, land, water, etc) to produce meat than it does to eat lower on the food chain.
- Eat more locally. The average meal travels further than it needs to, which contributes to climate change, damages local economies, and generally makes your food less yummy.
- Eat more organically. (Yes, I did skip breakfast.) Did you know that agribusiness uses petroleum and natural gas-based fertilizers and pesticides? And that it’s only because of this infusion of oil that we’re able to grow as much food as we do? And that oil production will likely peak sometime between last year and ten or twenty years from now? Because I didn’t know that until a few years ago, and it’s a pretty big deal that we should all be aware of. We are, in effect, “eating oil,” in that much of the food we grow wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Buy foods that avoid the use of artificial fertilizers.
- Take transit less. I actually got this tip from the now defunct One Tonne Challenge (this link is pretty funny and demonstrative), which advised me that since I don’t drive very much, and since even public transit uses energy, biking and walking would further reduce my carbon emissions. Also, biking is awesome.
- Start a garden. This relates to #2. If you’ve got a back yard, this should be fairly simple. If you live in an apartment building or condo, you’ve got a little more work to do, but it’s still possible.
- Buy less. My brother is returning from a trip to Kenya today, and he’s assured me that the impoverished Kenyans he met are, on average, happier and more life-loving than us wealthy Canadians. Almost everything we buy ends up in the garbage eventually anyway. The first and most forgotten R (of the three R’s) is the most important.
- Produce some of your own power. If wind or solar (either passive or active) work where you live, consider getting them installed. If not, maybe you have a geothermal option. If you live in a condo this isn’t impossible, but obviously you’ll have to either talk your board into it or get elected to the board yourself.
- Buy power from Bullfrog. Easier than #7, as they’ve already done the legwork.
- Reduce your overall footprint. Using this ecological footprint calculator may give you some insight into what sorts of actions have the greatest effect.
- Add your own tip by commenting on this page. (Note: Blogger comments have been buggy recently, but they’re still being saved. Even if it says “0 Comments” below, clicking on that link may reveal that there actually are comments.)
Hope that’s been helpful and/or interesting, and, of course, not too preachy. If not, that’s what tip number ten is for.
4 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions”
Tindal, I found a lecture series on climate change online you might take some interest in.
The details are here:
7 hours of lecture podcasts from the fall.
How about: Pedal to a Potluck. It’s less resource-intensive to package, ship, purchase, store, and prepare food in bulk, so invite your friends and neighbours over, or share hosting between a few households through the year! Assuming that everyone travels to the shindig in style (i.e. fossil-free), you will use less energy (and your guests will work up an appetite). Also, it’s a great way to show off the results of the other tips (your garden, your veggie recipes, and your thoughts on the whole idea). Cheers!
A stunning series of videos at http://www.storyofstuff.com has convinced a couple people of “#6 By less” for me.
In terms of peak oil it is a much bigger issue then it is recognized as, see http://www.greens.org.nz/campaigns/peakoil/