Earth Day was recognized for the first time on April 22, 1970. Fifty years later, it is more important than ever to mark this date any way we can because climate change is real.
In Southwestern Ontario we can be grateful for many things in our natural environment. Most of us have access to fresh water and a variety of hearty fruits and vegetables grow in this province. Ontario also leads the country in the production of wind and solar powered energy. However, in 2018 (the last recorded year), Canada increased its greenhouse gas emissions.
The good news is that there has been a decrease in emissions this year because many businesses have paused operations. Although this change is temporary, it is a great example of what can be done when we work together. Change starts with education and awareness, and individuals (even young people like Autumn Peltier and Greta Thunberg) can make a difference.
We understand that you may have bigger fears and worries during this time, so feel free to take these challenges at your own pace. We’ve tried to make them as easy and open as possible. Have fun! Try it on your own or invite the whole family!
You can find our full listing of 20 challenges on the Kitchener Public Library website. Share your progress with the KPL community on our Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter accounts using the hashtag #kplgoesgreen.
While we’re not here to dictate your diet, scientists agree that raising animals for human consumption uses more resources than growing plants. Health Canada also suggests to eat plant-based protein more often. Choose one day of the week to go without eating meat and experiment with vegan or vegetarian cooking. If committing to an entire day is difficult, try to make your main meal meatless. Check out some of these plant based digital cookbooks for inspiration.
Transform it Tuesday
The average lifespan of clothing items is just over 2 years. If you can keep the item for even 9 months more, that can reduce the item’s environmental impact by more than 20 percent. Get a fresh take on items you already own by sewing new life into them. Learn the basics of mending by hand, extend the life of your clothes with easy clothing care tips, or make a thrifted transformation. Better yet, go to the library’s program calendar to sign up for an online workshop like Knit n’Lit or the Repairathon.
Water Wise Wednesday
Watch this short, fun video to see what happens to wastewater in the Region of Waterloo. If you’re feeling inspired, take some simple actions like turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth or lather up and drying clothing on a rack instead of in the dryer. For a super challenge, pick your favourite song and try to finish your shower before the song ends.
Trash Audit Thursday
It’s time to dig in deep and understand what you are throwing away by doing a trash audit at the end of the week. Some swaps may be costly or unaccessible, so focus on changes you can make to reduce how much you send to the landfill. Could you divert more food items to your green bin for curbside compost pick up? Or switch to a larger or family sized version of items you buy often? How about choosing a similarly priced option with less packaging? For more information, we’ve included a link to the 2020 Region of Waterloo Waste Collection Calendar.
Farm Fresh Friday
Save resources and support local businesses by purchasing directly from area farmers. Not only will this eliminate links (and emissions) in the food supply chain, but less people will be in contact with your food. Check out this list of suppliers from the Kitchener Market for details on how you can get your hands on fresh groceries during pandemic related closures.
Looking for More?
- Read about the The History of Earth Day
- See what Indigenous peoples are doing as environmental stewards
- Did you know that the blue box was born in Kitchener?
- Watch the TEDx Talk by Zero Waster Bea Johnson: Zero Waste is not recycling more, but less
- Choose your own “Rs” with: The Wasteland Rebel’s 5 Rs of Zero Waste
Did you know our Children’s and Teens Department has their own blog? Follow along with them this week with Earth Day activities for kids of all ages. For Tweens and Teens, the first edition of KPL’s (You)th Environmentalist Newsletter is also being published on Earth Day.