In Canada, July 1st is our day to sing Happy Birthday to our country. Or O Canada, we suppose. (Did you know our National Anthem has 4 verses?? When did that happen?) This year, our grand ol' lady turns 148. She's looking pretty good! We would like to keep it that way.
One of our main values at Thrive is Eco-friendly. “Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. Since we live in our environment, sustainability or being environmentally friendly is about improving the quality of life for our families, our communities and generations to come.” -Thrive, About. Sustainability and Eco-friendly have become big buzz words over the past few years, and rightly so. We have but one Earth and we need to treat it right, or we'll lose it.
Interior B.C beauty! // Photo credit to #THRIVEtribe member, Julie Williams
Being aware of what our Government is doing for our great country is something few of us are properly versed in, but it is important to know at least what direction we are headed. We looked into it and there is an overwhelming amount of information, way too much for one person to just sit down and read in an afternoon. But, just as an example, below is an excerpt from the most recent Canadian Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), stating what the main themes have been from 2013-2016:
- I. Addressing Climate Change and Air Quality;
- II. Maintaining Water Quality and Availability;
- III. Protecting Nature and Canadians; and
- IV. Shrinking the Environmental Footprint – Beginning with Government.
To measure the progress of the FSDS, we have what are called Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators. These have been categorized into three broad categories: Air and Climate, Water, and Nature, and each have quite extensive lists. They also allow our governing bodies to “...report on the state of the environment, and describe Canada's progress on key environmental sustainability issues.” (sited here)
It is positive to see that at least we have Federal reports and directives focused on sustainable living. As one of the biggest developed countries in the world in terms of land mass, it really would be unacceptable at this point for us not to. For full details and implementation of the FSDS, see the executive summary and full report here.
Now, we don't expect everyone to run out and devour all the public policy information on sustainability, what we really want to spark is a conversation about personal responsibility for your own impact. So we wanted to ask: what are you doing to keep our home and native land glorious and free? The last item on the FSDS list references shrinking an Environmental Footprint. Simply put by the WWF “...it is the amount of the environment necessary to produce the goods and services necessary to support a particular lifestyle.” Reducing this impact is one of the single biggest movements you can participate in as an individual. Here are some simple ways you can start right now:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: One of the easiest steps for living this mantra habitually that sometimes gets overlooked is the first one: get organized. Go out and grab as many blue bins as you can make room for so you have a designated place for your recyclables, including soft plastic like grocery bags and packaging. Get a metal bucket that can live on your kitchen counter or under the sink for compost. Make it a regular activity to clear out your closet every 3 months and donate your gently used clothes and other items to local Thrift Shops and shelters. Better yet, make it a goal to live more simply and always have less stuff in general. Good for your karma and your feng shui!
Image via Pinterest
- Buying Local Foods and Goods: Purchasing food and goods that come from closer to home reduces the carbon emissions needed to get those items to you. Although it may be hard to remember at first, practice being mindful of where the things you purchase are from. Check labels, ask questions, and remember that just because someone tells you it's a sustainable option, doesn't mean it is. It can't help to educate yourself. Purchase Canadian made goods as often as possible. The money you spend on them goes right back into our economy and there will be less emissions spent getting them to you than something from abroad. The same goes for food, and on top of that, try and stick to vegetables that are in season. Even learn to garden and grow your own!
- Education and Resources: There are lots of resources out there that can help you not only lower your impact, but save money. Like the PowerSmart initiative from BC Hydro that discusses rebates, energy saving renos, and other ways to lower your consumption and your bill. There are also provincial initiatives and education. Visit Live Smart BC to participate in government supported efficiency incentive programs, calculate your carbon footprint using their Lifestyle Carbon Calculator, and learn more about climate change and government funded sustainable living programs.
For more great ways to make your lifestyle more sustainable, check out the WWF website.
The bottom line is that being more educated and more conscious of your choices is the first step to more sustainable living. So this Canada Day, celebrate this great country by striking up a conversation with someone about how they are protecting our country and guarding our land for generations to come.
We love you Canada!