So my preschooler has finally “graduated”… yep! the word is slightly ambiguous but the thought and the community around it was quite touching! I like to think of it as a preschool participation party. A farewell to the kids that spent the last two years together. Very sweet!! One of the events that led up to the dinner was a pizza and poster night! My husband and I showed up armed with a few photos not really knowing what to expect. When we arrived I realized that each family received their own poster paper. They provided all the materials; glitter felt, stickers, glue, and metallic paper. I’m a creative person so quickly took charge! After about an hour I had successfully completed the poster. A proud mama moment. At that moment I felt accomplished and thought it looked pretty good! I looked at it again when we got home and thought…all this glitter, all this plastic. How long would it last? Well, I guess it depends. When Jacob has grown up the glitter will be. Once his children are born the stickers will also be… Yet, this poster will be long gone.
When someone sees another struggling with debt and overwork good friends want to help! So as a good friend an effort is made to sit with them and ask them how they’re feeling. Friends often have a viewpoint of someone from the outside looking in. So they see many different angles of the subject, therefore, giving good advice.
The conversation is in their best interest but sometimes the person doesn’t see it that way. Instead, they’ll internalize it, consider points made then make an excuse. An excuse that makes it okay to continue living the same way. For instance, I don’t need the same things in life. Life will work itself out. I’m different then everyone else. It’s the way the world works but it’s not how I want to live my life.
The reasons are empowering enough to continue down the same path. The conversation was in their best interest yet it doesn’t matter. The reality of the situation can be so powerful that it makes those suffering feel powerless. Until one day they make a change OR the day comes when life makes a change for them!
It’s a lot harder to endure the latter because they will have no control. This leaves one feeling powerless resulting in more stress leading often into depression. I think good friends hope the result they warn against will not happen. However, the inevitability is left up to the future and no one can predict it.
WHEN YOUR NOT ENOUGH
I want to be a good friend to you. Yes, you! The one that has taken the time to read my blog! I’m very happy you’ve decided to join me and discover more about the environmental movement. It’s sad to see the news stories pop in and out of our daily lives. Remember the wildfires in California? Or the whales that have continually washed ashore along the Coast?
For those living, there are indicators swirling around that tell us we’re going to be in trouble. It’s important middle-class Canadians don’t ignore environmental issues. If we’re not having conversations then the problem is still being ignored. We’ve got our excuses! I believed that because I was doing my part by recycling that it was good enough.
Five years ago while recycling I had no idea the great garbage patch was growing into the 1.6 million square kms it is today. It’s terrible because I didn’t realize that it wasn’t only what I do with garbage that matters! I assumed It was the only way but realize now I didn’t see the bigger picture. I needed a friend to tell me I was wrong.
To solve the problem I should’ve stopped buying over packaged anything! Produce, toys, soap, electronics, office products, and personal health care products. Then one day I had an epiphany! I woke up and realized that it’s not just me. It’s everybody! We’re all running our daily lives in the same way, uneducated, groomed by media and allowing our impulses to rule our consumerism.
So I set out to create this blog to spread the word.
Climate Change is costly
The biggest issue faced today are the global losses caused by natural disasters. Yes, some say it’s an act of God and there isn’t much we can do about it. However, the United Nations warns that the accumulations of Green House Gases (GHG) have reached levels not seen in three million years. The largest concentration of GHG comes from carbon dioxide which is largely the product of burned fossil fuels.
2018 turned out to be the fourth costliest in thirty years from natural disasters. The average insured losses per year are around 41 billion US. But, this past year turned into a devastating 80 billion dollars in insured losses worldwide. Yet, that’s still not the big picture because almost half the people who were victims of natural disasters didn’t have insurance to protect them. The grand total of all losses occurring from wildfires, hurricanes, floods, typhoons, earthquakes, and tornadoes was 140 billion US dollars.
As a friend, I want to tell you that with good intentions we can reshape our reality. It’s the simplest things we can change like our conversations with the people around us. It helps to reset the brain and allows us to rethink how we live our own lives by just talking.
As a friend, I want to tell you that with good intentions we can reshape our reality. It’s the simplest things we can change like our conversations with the people around us. It helps to reset the brain which allows us to rethink how we live our own lives by just talking. It really helps today there is momentum in social media, news stories, and the “resistance” movement.
We can ease into a conversation armed with information easier now than ever before! What are our dreams? How do we see the future of our children? Talking will keep the issues we face at the forefront of our lives but the solution, however, can only come with action.
Our daily actions take things to a whole new level. I’ve been writing, learning and trying to live consciously since January. It was my new year resolution to take action and begin the journey. However, I’ve found it hard to prepare as a full-time Realtor and Mom.
Yes, in order to use less plastic there has to be a battle plan. My intentions were good, but I was blind! You don’t just wake up one day and say, “today I’m going to shop consciously. To shop consciously there are things to remember.
One of those things is don’t use plastic bags. Always remember to bring cloth bags! This is tough since they’re continuously moving. Shopping involves knowing where your cloth bags are at all times! Spontaneously picking up an onion after work can end up becoming a shopping trip with half a dozen things by the end. If the bags are not in your hand chances are they’re in two places either the trunk of the car or at home.
Secondly, buy Bulk. The idea of going to the store to pick up a prepackaged item is causing climate change. Those days are over. If we care. To be a conscious shopper we’ve got to bring our own glass jars. Mason jars work perfectly and they look great in the cupboard too. Go with the wide mouth jar or bring a funnel so you don’t make a big mess while you pour the contents. Ask the ladies or gents in the deli section or checkout to give you the tare weight of your jar before filling it. Mark what the tare weight of each jar is on the bottom and you’re ready to go!
Finally, when you buy items that you continuously use go with ingredients that are found locally. It not only stimulates the local economy but also reduces the carbon footprint of the item. Your shopping habits can be the life or death of a good local supplier. It’s important to do your homework and discover new products to buy in the community. Farmers markets, Google, Facebook, and Varagesale are good resources for online
Today our town held a great shoreline cleanup! Originally postponed by high winds we finally held it on a calm and sunny morning.
A junk collection company who I hadn’t heard of previously was on demand to collect litter from multiple locations.
They handed out gloves, extended picker claws, along with burlap sacks, which will be reused next year. Furthermore, Starbucks and a local grocer pitched in with free coffee and muffins!!
The junk company went from location to location and delivered the trash to the designated drop off in a park next to the Ocean. Where they sorted the trash so they could easily recycle. Likewise, the City picked up this trash that had been collected by the over forty volunteers.
This is the way a well-run Shoreline Cleanup should operate! Personally, I found it frustrating to get a four-year-old battling a cold to be punctual. No one was cooperating! Neither my son or husband wanted to go.
I pushed through it and won! Nothing a little Advil and time out couldn’t help! Once we arrived my son did great! He and I found ourselves on a little adventure weaving in and out of driftwood.
The plastic was mostly small, bits and pieces, lighters, bottle caps, cigarette butts, and rope. There also may have been a few used condoms.
As much as I love to hate McDonald’s restaurants I have to admit it’s not going away any time soon! Every day McDonald’s serves 2.5 million people in 1400 locations across Canada! Since we live in a fast-paced world it’s sometimes hard to find time to prepare a meal. So, we reward instant gratification with repeat business. It is what it is!
One fast food invention boosted sales and made instant gratification a reality. So, unless something changes the drive-thru will forever contribute to single-use trash. I love the drive-thru and use it multiple times a day. Who doesn’t love crispy french fries, custom made coffee beverages and swirl cones? Invented over seventy years ago we gravitated to eating in the comfort of our own car!
A relationship between the drive-thru has grown with the production of plastic. After seven decades. scientists have crunched the numbers. They’ve learned the world has so far produced a total of 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic. We’re in an environmental limbo. The world suffers from too much garbage and our appetite for convenience!
We’ve built up massive institutions that rely on single-use containers and packaging. So, it’s not surprising that these food giants are slow to change. They’re wasting material by throwing it in the garbage. Switching packaging from recyclable containers to non-recyclable. It’s a huge problem that one company has begun to solve.
I decided to write after discovering Mcdonald’s restaurants are using post-consumer packaging. In a perfect world, a circular economy would manage our resource consumption. Yet, I realize now that recycling is falling apart across Canada!
BOOST RECYCLING OR BUST?
There is so much trash that selling recyclables is becoming unfeasible. The mixed paper has decreased in the price of 110% and plastic bags are down 53% since 2017. China has banned foreign recyclables. So now we can only sell the highest quality recycling material to foreign governments.
Sorting recyclables and resorting again is costly. The costs of labor and the commodity crash have cost Canadian Taxpayers money. So much, in fact, the Ontario government must either raise taxes or cut social programs. For this reason, we can’t rely on foreign countries to take our recyclable materials.
There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t rely on other countries. There is a lack of International Government transparency and often poor labor standards. So, the actions of foreign governments have created a volatile market place. This is volatility is causing mass confusion in who is warehousing these materials.
Recycling is big business! There are opportunities for those entrepreneurial spirits. In the USA, estimates show recycling accounts for almost 100 billion dollars in economic activity. So far we can’t rely on the Canadian government to control the supply of garbage. But it is so important to create a circle of sustainability. It’s time for some cunning entrepreneur to take over.
As John E Rockefeller bought his first oil refinery. It was the start of a pioneering monopoly which controlled the oil industry. The oil was plentiful, prices were cheap and so he sought out refineries. He bought them all to control the price of the commodity. This oil revolution spawned the oil empire we know today.
Each country has the responsibility to manage its own trash regardless of the cost!
The restaurant industry gives us food on a plate used by thousands of different people. We walk in, sit down, eat and leave. The plate is rinsed, washed, dried and repeat! However, the fast food joints don’t operate the same way. When we sit down to eat a meal they provide us with the same single-use packaging as the drive-thru. That’s got to change!
Furthermore, children drive profits so I understand why fast food chains are enticing kids. However, the plastic toys have got to go. The toys are not only plastic, but they package the toys in little plastic bags too! It’s always one new toy fad to the next. These toys are good for the first ten minutes, then they lose interest. Eventually, as the kids get older the toy becomes landfill waste. Corporations like McDonald’s should stop selling these types of toys or switch to a friendlier alternative.
There are countless petitions that are being signed every day to ban plastic straws. So Mcdonald’s introduced paper straws across 1361 locations. It’s great to see the company try. But, there’s been a backlash from customers since these straws dissolve and collapse. Paper is not the only alternative but most likely the cheapest one!
McDonald’s are the largest Restaurant chain in the world! By 2025 their goal is to switch 100% of their packaging from virgin material to recycled, renewable certified materials. They’ve pledged to recycle packaging, creating a recycling infrastructure in the restaurant.
In 2018 they joined an alliance between Closed Loop Partners and Starbucks. The goal is to create a 100% recyclable or compostable disposable cup. They held the Next Generation Cup Challenge, which promised twelve cup solutions.
Canadians and food companies hold a dirty little secret. We generate more trash per capita than any other country in the developed world. By 2025 the World Bank estimates the world will produce 6 million tons of waste a day.
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the Oceans than fish! Fast food giants such as McDonald’s are starting to use packaging that will biodegrade. The restaurant is starting to change their ways. They’re beginning to lead by example, but there is still room for improvement!
To be honest it’s difficult to travel with a four-year-old and be environmentally friendly at the same time. It’s not surprising how the waste naturally accumulates with stickers, bottles of juice, and fast food containers. My car becomes an environmental disaster in no time! Upon a quick clean-up, I found a ray of hope. This one large company is beginning to change their ways… Mcdonald’s has begun to make their happy meal boxes from 100% post-consumer materials! I had no idea! This struck a curious chord in me. So, I’ve decided to investigate the matter! Therefore, the scoop in the world of post-consumer packaging is coming soon!
Climbing a mountain seems like madness and once you’ve reached the top of the summit all that’s heard is silence. The metaphor of climbing a mountain is often described when achieving personal goals. But those who climb mountains are often faced with peril, not beauty. Why do people search out and conquer such extreme goals? Yet when they’re faced with changing simple daily habits find it so hard to commit to them? Dreams and desire are mountains of the mind that drive us to be.
After all, once you reach the highest goal than life will be complete and there will be no more reason to seek out more. No, not really and countless people that have reached their set goals will tell you this idea is misleading. Most that achieve their dreams and ultimate desire find they quickly become bored.
Moreover, the time is here where our fascination and obsession is wearing out our planet. Our need for this planet is far and wide and demand will rise in the future. Finally, Scientists are telling us temperatures and sea levels are rising. Consequently, World Leaders in different countries are rising to the challenge and have declared climate change an emergency. So what can one do to make a difference?
HERE ARE THIRTY-SEVEN GOOD DEEDS THAT WE CAN CHOOSE TO DO ON A DAILY BASIS.
Save electricity by unplugging your devices
Buy post-consumer paper
Plant a vegetable garden and donate the vegetables to the food bank
Turn off the lights at night before you go to bed
Turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, washing vegetables or cleaning
Take public transport instead of driving
When your out buying groceries do not use plastic bags and choose items with no plastic packaging
Hold the door open for a stranger
Write a letter to your local MLA and ask them to ban plastic bags
Sign up to change.org and support petitions that help to end climate change and plastic.
Buy an electric car
Attend an event that supports earth-friendly ways like a farmers market
Read a book to a childlike Justine Mckeen’s Bottle Throttle
Spend more time outside
sit down with your family and calculate your carbon footprint try reducing it by twenty percent
Volunteer your time
Buy soap bars without packaging. These are often made by local soap makers
Skip eating beef and opt for something different
Pick up trash at the park or the beach
Be a part of or organize a market for local consumers
Reuse take out containers
Turn old books into planters, use the paper for art projects don’t just give them away
Talk to a friend or family member about rising temperatures, sea levels and the garbage piling up on land and in the oceans.
Let a child write a letter to a company asking them to change corporate policy
Stop supporting companies that don’t take their environmental impact seriously
Eat fruits and vegetables grown locally
Make your own bread. It reduces the need to buy bread in plastic bags
Post on social media your good deed
Share posts related to helping the environment, comment and like.
Make homemade soup and freeze leftovers to reduce reliance on aluminum
Plant a fruit tree
Invest in solar panels
Bring your own cup to Starbucks or other retailers
Say no to straws
Buy Bamboo products
MATERIALISM COSTS CONSUMERS THEIR FUTURES
If we practice these new habits we will find fulfillment. Fulfillment in the sense where we practice good deeds while keeping money in our pockets. Like a mountain climber, we have to remain present. Every decision must be done consciously with the knowledge that if we don’t change now life will be very different for our children.
The truth is continual corporate profits are not sustainable. These changes will affect the economy however in the long term it will be better off. It’s not natural to have continual growth without consequences. Consequently, with any goal, we have to face our fear, nausea, vertigo, and death of something. Therefore, it’s time we support those invested in our community and companies defined by their environmental policies. It doesn’t have to be all that bad if we start now. We still have time and the luxury to decide what is right for us. What is right for our planet.
Bad Karma. The belief that people should suffer from a poor situation, illness, or death. If one endures problems in life it’s so because of their wrongdoings in a previous life. Therefore, if they wait better karma will bless them in the afterlife. If that’s the case, then Canadians must have great karma! After all, we take for granted a basic convenience. A convenience that is a necessity. Every day we enjoy a private bathroom with plumbing to do our business. While millions and millions of people don’t get the opportunity to use a plumbed bathroom any day.
Before the invention of the underground sewer pipes, city dwellers dumped their poop. There was no sewage infrastructure under city streets until the end of the Industrial Revolution. In the past, they’d use street channels that oozed toxic waste, making it hard to breath clean air. Today Canadians now have a complex sanitation system which serves communities across Canada. Installing underground sewers have grown civilizations around the world. They’ve grown more intelligent, lifespans have increased and prosperity has risen.
THOSE AFFECTED FROM TOXIC SEWAGE TODAY
But the developing countries still struggle with this same problem. In fact, close to one billion people are defecating in the streets, groves, and fields! India suffers the most. As six hundred million people live in areas with toxic sewage running through the streets. I saw a photo of a water canal in India and the plastic was pouring past villagers. They haphazardly tried to extract a few bottles here and there. The problems have now compounded and trash has further exasperated an already difficult situation.
Consequently, their fate is with filthy, dilapidated cities, noxious odors, garbage, and widespread disease. The developing world still struggles to get basic infrastructure in place. But is it money that can stitch humanity together? Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to solve India’s sanitation problems. He has given the country until October 2, 2019, Gandhi’s 150th Birthday to clean up!
THE DEVELOPING WORLD’S SOLUTION
He’s dedicated 20 billion dollars to build latrines and develop awareness campaigns. Each household received $190 to construct a pit latrine. But those that built the latrines haven’t constructed them properly. They’re built in flood zones and areas where they’ve contaminated groundwater. Plus, some built them in rocky conditions preventing proper drainage. Sometimes a pit isn’t installed at all! They’re using them for bathing or washing clothes.
The Indian community finds change difficult… They also lack the education to craft a well-built pit latrine. In the past millions of people suffered from chronic intestinal infections. Widespread feces have trillions of viruses, fecal bacteria, and parasites. This caused Diarrhea which killed 700,000 children in 2011. The kids missed out on a total of 250 million school days in one year!! The world bank states India loses 166 billion dollars per year from illness. This still goes on today… and the foreseeable future.
For this reason, women are advocating for proper working toilets. Humility, embarrassment, and harassment comes to relieving themselves. Many women including, pregnant ones will hold themselves all day until night falls. Darkness gives them privacy and reduces the potential of a sexual assault. Waiting to relieve themselves causes them more health risks. Risks including urinary tract infections and low birth weights of newborn babies. In fact, they’ve told the men if they can’t provide a toilet than they’ll refuse the marriage!
THE REAL SOLUTION
Modi understands change is in the best interest of national development! But, Pit Latrines are not a permanent solution. Only a proper sewer system throughout their communities will solve the sanitation issues. The infrastructure of a city is the heartland for prosperity in a Nation. The poor from rural communities flock to cities to find work. Developing cities such as Noida have risen to become India’s economic capital.
The city’s prosperity has also given rise to challenging the poor sanitation issue in India. They’re currently working to provide a proper sewage infrastructure for everyone. Once it’s complete they’ll become the first zero discharge city! There sewage treatment plant separates the solids, liquids and gaseous waste. They have proposed to treat liquid waste and convert it into field irrigation. Moreover, their solid waste will become manure and they’ll convert the gas waste into electricity.
Foresight, proper leadership and the Civil/Environmental Engineers contribute the most to public health. The engineering discipline designs, constructs, and maintains the physical and natural built environment. These engineers started out as stone masons, artisans, and carpenters. But now, the field is specialized. These professionals learn about physics, geology, geography, material science, and hydrology. Their knowledge can drive the change needed to make a cleaner, safer home.
IT’S NOT BAD KARMA
Right now more than 35 percent or 2.5 billion people of the world’s population lack access to a sanitary environment. The engineers must build cities the right way. Leadership must make this their primary mandate in order to change the world. This act will help us solve climate change and poor sanitation at the same time. The science of Civil engineering propels developing civilizations into a developed state sooner. It is not karma that has cast two billion people to drink contaminated water. At the end of the day, human behavior drives national problems or causes solutions. NAMASTE