Today is the 40th anniversary of the original Earth Day. Unfortunately, I am far too engaged in trial preparation to write a thoughtful evaluation of the last 40 years, other than the obvious: we have accomplished something useful, but not nearly enough. And to express kudos to Environment Minister John Gerretsen, who will announce more measures today to have manufacturers and brand owners pay for the cost of throwing out their packaging.
Instead, I will merely pass on one of the many useful lists for personal action today, this one forwarded to me by Mark Goldberg:
- Head into work on Earth Day with an environmentally friendly commute. Carpool with coworkers in your neighborhood or even better, bike or walk into work.
- Promote the use of reusable bottles, cans and paper in your office. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase a refillable stainless steel water bottle from MTE (logoed) spring merchandise order. Don’t forget to throw recyclable garbage (cans, bottles, metal, and glass) in the recycling bins provided.
- Use the front and back of printer paper for internal documents. Reuse sheets that are printed on one side as scratch pads where possible.
- Turn your computer screen, printer and scanner off when you walk away from your workspace whenever possible, and every night. Remind your coworkers to shut off equipment during breaks and meetings to help the company save on electrical costs.
- Prepare a litterless lunch on Earth Day.
- Try to use electronic documents exclusively on Earth Day.
- Calculate your carbon footprint to find where you stand this Earth Day. It only takes a few minutes, and there are numerous sites to help you calculate your number. Calculators are available at www.CarbonFootprint.com and The Nature Conservancy. You can also take the One Tonne Challenge to reduce your carbon dioxide input by one tonne annually.
- Plant a tree. Every year, each Canadian uses the products equivalent to one tree, 100 feet tall and 18 inches in diameter. Head out and replace what you have used by joining a local community group at a tree-planting event. The Rotary Club of Guelph is having a tree planting event at Guelph Lake on Sat. April 24th from 9:30 am until 2:30 pm. Bring the family. The best time to plant a tree was 50 years ago. The 2nd best time is now.
- Commit to volunteer or donate to an Earth-friendly cause.
- Go for a hike (and pick up at least one piece of litter every time you go for a walk).
And one extra suggestion: go admire the cherry trees in High Park, and remember the kindness that made them possible. Have a wonderful Earth Day.