The NSTEP Blog

How can we be more earth friendly?

Written by: Wendy-Lee Leeners

Greetings NSTEPpers!

Happy New Year!

A new year tends to motivate us to set new resolutions, goals, habits, and attitudes with the intention of becoming improved and healthier versions of ourselves. Taking care of us also includes taking care of the planet. With small changes over time, we can create a healthier world while improving ourselves in the process. Win-win!

Unquestionably, the planet (our home) needs to be well so that it may support us (and all the other species who live here) in all the ways in which we rely on it, which is pretty much for everything. Without a nourishing habitat, we will not have clean water or air, healthy soil to grow our produce, grains (and let’s not forget coffee!) or ample outdoor spaces to walk, run, swim, hike and all the other amazing activities we enjoy.

If you are not sure where to start with your resolutions, setting a short-term challenge is a great way to jumpstart your goal setting. 30 days is long enough to create a habit, but not too long that it seems impossible. This 30-day challenge encourages you to buy only what you need. Whether it be food, services or goods. Every individual effort becomes a collective transformation over time. Let’s get started!

When you are about to make a purchase, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I need it or do I want it?
  2. If you want it, ask yourself: how long will it last?
  3. Where was it made?
  4. What materials were used?
  5. Is the company or manufacturer doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint?
  6. Would your money be better spent on something else?
  7. And this is the most important question we should be asking: When I’m done with it, where will it end up? The recycle bin? A thrift store? The landfill?

As you go through the four weeks, see if you notice how your perspective changes around what you think you need and what you really need. Are you buying with more intention? Do you feel less stressed or anxious when shopping? Do you feel inspired to do this challenge for another 30 days or challenge your friends and family to do the same? After 30 days, have you saved any money? What could you do with those extra funds?

Increasing efforts to reuse and repurpose rather than just recycle is also a great start in reducing our carbon footprint and keeping the Earth in good shape. Canadians, on average, dispose of about 3.3 million tonnes of plastic every year, with only 9% being recycled, and ¾ of it ending up in landfills.

Every few weeks or so, try and add one more earth-friendly habit. Involve your kids in these practices and ask them their ideas on how they can be part of a healthy planet. We’d love for you to share your stories and experiences on this journey!

Try some of the tips below to help you help the planet

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