Pair up in threes for the environment
Cool Tips for a Hot Planet series
Ginny Colling was passionate about the environment before retiring from teaching college communications students. After retiring she trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and has presented to numerous groups about the climate crisis.
It was déjà vu all over again, to quote famous New York Yankee Yogi Berra.
For those in British Columbia the record rains, flooded fields and road washouts of November followed the record heat waves, wildfires and fried crops of summer.
And now, for the rest of us, soaring food prices, in part because of the related crop losses.
So why dwell on this? Few want to listen to more bad news. It makes us anxious.
But they say the best antidote for anxiety is action. I’ve listened to arguments against doing anything — from optimists who think technology will suddenly save us to pessimists who say it’s too late to do anything. But as Yogi has said, it ain’t over til it’s over. Inaction means ever-increasing pollution and environmental devastation. And even more eco-anxiety.
We need to focus our efforts on two broad areas: reducing emissions from oil, natural gas and coal, and pulling those emissions out of the air. Our trees, wetlands, peatlands and sustainably managed farm soils do a good job of that if we let them.
I’ll add a third. Because so many of our solutions involve electricity use, energy conservation is also a priority.
So what can we do?
- Take action where you have the most influence.
Maybe it’s at school, at work, at home, at church, in your neighborhood, at the garden club or as part of the cottage association.
Ten years ago members of Cambridge Street United Church in Lindsay embraced the idea of environmental stewardship and installed solar panels on the building’s roof. More recently they added energy-efficient windows and refurbished the sanctuary’s stained-glass windows to up their efficiency. hey’ve also switched to LED light bulbs. The changes significantly offset the church’s utility bills while reducing reliance on the grid. But they’re not finished. They’re looking at what more they can do down the road.
At LaMantia’s Country Market, 144 solar panels are evidence of similar energy conservation efforts. Owner Dave LaMantia says the store has also upgraded to digital compressors, a more airtight freezer door and more efficient lighting, reducing energy consumption and costs. Increased insulation in the roof and new air conditioning/heating units also help.
- “Pair up in threes” (Yogi Berra again)
Use the power of collective action by joining a local organization to help make our world a better place. Environmental Action Bobcaygeon has tackled a variety of projects, from widely distributing LED light bulbs to cleaning up and managing Wilderness Park. The Truth and Reconciliation Community Bobcaygeon is working on preserving the environmental integrity of 4.8 acres in the middle of town as a mishkodeh (a sacred meadow) to be used as a learning space for land-based Indigenous knowledge. See mishkodeh.org for details.
The Canopy Project Kawartha Lakes is putting its efforts into enhancing the urban tree canopy in the city. Meanwhile The Kawartha Green Trails Alliance and Kawartha Trans Canada Trail Association promote and enhance a sustainable trail system for walkers and cyclists. And plantaforest.ca is a simple, cost-effective, and easy way to see more trees planted right here in Kawartha Lakes.
Donate to support their work or consult their websites for tips you can apply at home.
It’s important that we all do something. As that ever-quotable Yogi Berra once pointed out, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”