It’s been nearly one month since the start of my new co-op position as the Sustainability Coordinator with the Energy and Environment team! (Mom, you might want to get the camera for this one). Some of you may have already seen me around completing Shut the Sash runs or collecting ice packs. For those of you that don’t know me, it’s finally time to introduce myself! *Alexa… play Lovely Day by Bill Withers*
Upon the end of my placement in May, I will be transitioning towards my final year at the University of Waterloo in the Honours Geography and Environmental Management program (I can’t believe I’ll be graduating school in a year!)
Originally, I pursued this degree with the hopes of getting to view more of the natural world and all the amazing beauty it has to offer. I had the opportunity to travel throughout Norway collecting soil samples, learning more about the glacial changes, and understanding how the progressive policies on environmental protection have placed the country on a green path.
After time away, everyone asks “how was the trip?!”. Yet, it is nearly impossible to explain how you truly felt unless the people you’re talking to go there themselves. It was during my flight home, staring at the clouds, that I realized I wanted to explain the experiences associated with being connected to the environment and leave a lasting impact of sustainability on people. So, what better way to educate the public about the current climate catastrophe than to journey through a program that aims on understanding the relationship between economy, society and environment? My passion towards the great outdoors has driven me to continue down a path that gives back to the environment through more than just a re-post on social media.
Though it is critical for businesses and governments to make sustainable changes (and we empower them with our purchases and our votes), we have more control over our individual choices. On the educational side of my attempt at a sustainable life, I have come to learn that the individual choices we make daily can have a significant impact on global environmental issues. This way of thinking is a depiction of the concept of “The Tragedy of the Commons”. If each person believes that their consumption of resources cannot possibly affect the planet – and there are billions of us sharing finite resources and thinking in the same way – the collective impact of our careless consumption becomes enormous!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless about environmental issues. However, the truth is that there is a lot that each of us can do every day to help mitigate and eventually stop the climate crisis. Therefore, I co-mingle greener choices into my daily personal life with the intention that one spark can help ignite the flame towards a greener climate movement.
Along with challenging myself to change the linear waste habits of my daily activity. I aim on challenging others to try and incorporate sustainable choices into their daily lives. It’s time to stop rambling on about myself and share a couple of sustainable tips that you can adopt into your daily lifestyle.
1. Online work can be sustainable
As the world continues to recover from a global pandemic; many of us continue to work from home or have switched toward a hybrid work environment. Next time you take a deep dive into the internet, try out the Ecosia extension for Chrome. Did you know that Ecosia uses the profits (from ads) that it makes from your searches to plant trees? During the 2020 Australian wildfires, Ecosia directed all the search profits to plant trees there. The search engine reported it was able to plant 26,000 trees in one day. Ecosia works around the world and publishes monthly financial reports for accountability. Ecosia also says it doesn’t sell your data to third-party advertisers or use third-party trackers. Add the extension to your current search engine and begin seeing the little differences that you can make from while taking a glance at those morning emails!
2. Know you Power
As we move through our daily lives, we often forget the simple routines that can leave a lasting impact on the environment. Forgetting to turn off a light before bed not only wastes electricity but, also helps contribute towards emitting more carbon and methane into our atmosphere. Canada’s Greener Homes Grant can help homeowners slash their emissions by providing a rebate to help transition to energy efficient appliances! Renters, tell your landlords about this too.
3. Re-usable water bottles go a LONG way
I’ll be honest, I used to be that person who would bring a plastic water bottle with me wherever I went. My family members would always buy the large cases of plastic water bottles from the store so it was convenient for me to grab one and go to work. It wasn’t until I got into the first year of my program where I realized the extent of damage a plastic water bottle could really do. The average American buys an average of 167 disposable plastic water bottles (500 ml), costing around $266, a year. Want to cut the costs? By buying a $20 reusable bottle, over the course of 5 years (the minimum life expectancy of a reusable water bottle), it can save you about $1330.
I hope this post gave you an insight towards my passion for environmental awareness and the daily things you can change in your lifestyle to start living greener.