For Earth Day, 24HRS (a local Vancouver newspaper) ran some articles on the environment. One piece showed 12 ways that a family can reduce their carbon footprint. I was feeling pretty good that of the 12 things mentioned, our family is doing 10 of them.
1. Use a reel mower (not electric or gas). I took that one step further and got rid of all our grass, now I just need to mow the boulevard
2. Scooter. I’ve had a scooter for almost 3 years. Still, I need to ride my bike more.
3. High Efficiency Furnace. We replaced our 45 year old furnace with a high 96% efficient model.
4. Cold Water Detergent. I don’t know if our detergent is “cold water”, but we do all are washing in cold tap water
5. Laundry Line. Nope, we don’t have one. I’m going to look into this…
6. Hot Water Timer. Nope, don’t have one. I’ll think about it, but this may not work so well with our tenants, since I don’t know or control their schedule and when they would like hot water
7. Composting. We have two composters and 1 rain barrel.
8. Farmers Market. We are 1 block from a farmers market from May through October, although I don’t think we buy much stuff from them.
9. Lighting. I replaced all of our incandescent lights with compact fluorescents.
10. Cloth Shopping Bag. We have several cloth/reusable bags, and I haven’t used a plastic bag since the beginning of February.
11. Thermostats. Our furnace and two gas fireplaces are on thermostats. The electric heaters are all connected onto one timer, but each heater has its own temperature setting. One of the fireplace’s thermostat is broken though and I’ve been reluctant to shell out $160 for a new one.
12. All purpose green cleaner. I just recently started mixing some of my own cleaners. Right now I have an all purpose cleaner that contains vinegar, washing soda, castile soap and borax. We’re still using commercial floor cleaners. I tried using baking soda + vinegar for the floors but it left a lot of residue. I also want to look into greener dishwashing soaps.
I’m not sure any of the above will actually make a difference in this world, but these are some of the only things I can do. I’d like to take some positives out of it because a lot of the news these days as it pertains to the environment, climate change and greenhouse gases really ain’t all that good…
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve noticed a dramatic change in the past two with respects to climate change. Some of the things that have changed include a lot more media coverage, more serious overatures to combatting climate change by politicians, and an even stronger and more unified voice in climate change by scientists.
The media coverage that climate change gets right now is inevitable. Right now the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is meeting in Paris, and is being attended by hundreds of scientists and representatives from 113 countries. Just last November there was the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi. Stuck in the middle of this and straddling each side are the headline grabbing weather events such as record draughts, windstorms, glaciers disappearing, and hell freezing over, etc.
In Canada, climate change is taking center (or is it centre?) stage on the federal political scene. The environment used to be a fringe political topic in that it was recognized and discussed, but the mainstream politicians only needed to pay lip service to it. In 2007 this has completely changed. From what I understand, the environment is the number one issue for the majority of Canadians. All of the leaders are scrambling to stake their claim to being the true responsible champion for the environment.
The scientific community has now come to unified conclusion and it’s pretty clear that climate change deniers were wrong. Of course that doesn’t mean that there aren’t groups of people trying to play down this issue. In fact, here in Vancouver we are extremely lucky (tongue firmly in cheek) to be the home of the Fraser Institute, who are said to be funded by Exxon to produce a report that contradicts the IPCC report.
That’s about all I have to say on the matter right now. I think I’m going to add a new category of links for climate change information. The David Suzuki Foundation is probably a good place to start…
I don’t know about you, but we’re suffering from a bad case of wacky weatheritis here in Vancouver this year. We’ve had snow, what, four times this winter. After each snowfall the snow stuck around for many days which made it quite difficult for me to drive my scooter to work, and resulted in causing people to make strange faces.
And and let’s not forget the crazy wind storms. Twice our power was knocked at home, and I saw trees move that frankly they just shouldn’t have.
I think the most ironic event was when a local NDP function that was to address global climate change had to be cancelled due to weather and storms.