Today, June 5, is World Environment Day, one more day to remind us the importance of working together to help mitigate the environmental destruction happening around.
It does not require an environment day to help us realize that we are intimately connected to nature but also how rapidly it is changing. A study by the US-based National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed that our limited activity during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic helped the environment. The report said nature took “advantages and showed improvement in the quality of air, cleaner rivers, less noise pollution, undisturbed and calm wildlife.”
We’ve come a long way since the necessity of celebrating and preserving the environment was realized in 1974. This year the theme of World Environment Day is “Ecosystem Restoration” which is “process of reversing the degradation of ecosystems, such as landscapes, lakes and oceans to regain their ecological functionality.”
The NCBI report warned that there is a probability of environmental pollution bouncing back as the people get vaccinated and the world opens up. It is therefore necessary that we don’t look at governments and corporations to put an end to the degradation.
Why should you and I care about the environment?
- Pollution in the environment impacts our health.
- The rising temperature is leading to more natural disasters such as storms, heat waves, floods, and droughts and impacting weather patterns threatening food production, fires are raging, and sea levels are rising.
- Make it livable for generations to come. Think about your children and grandchildren who will feel the impact of our actions. Leave a better legacy.
In Canada, steps are being taken to curb climate change, and the negative effects humans have had on the environment as much as possible. Environment Canada is the exclusive group which studies climate change at a national level.
The environment around us is an essential part of our survival. If this has left you wondering how you can be an environment warrior, The Immigrant Life presents some easy simple steps you can take to help slow down the environment degradation. As immigrants to this country and new Canadians, there are ways for us to be more conscious of the impact of our habits and change them so we can contribute to make that small but significant shift.
Things you can do to help the environment
- Maintain your pre-immigrant habits: We would like to remind you to keep up your pre-immigrant habits that go a long way in saving the environment.
- Reduce energy use: Adopt energy-saving habits. Make it a habit to turn off the lights as you leave a room. Also, replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Turn off your computer and unplug electronics when they are not in use.
- Change the way you think about transportation: Walk or bike whenever possible. Not only will you reduce your carbon footprint, but your overall level of health will improve, and you will save money on parking and gasoline. Take public transit or carpool whenever possible. When purchasing a vehicle look for one with better mileage. Increase your fuel economy when driving by sticking to posted speed limits and avoiding rapid acceleration and excessive braking. Plan and combine trips and errands. This will save you both time and money as well as reduce wear and tear on your vehicle. When travelling long distances, try to take a train or bus rather than flying or driving.
- Insulate your home: Insulate yourself and your home. By properly insulating your home, you can ensure that heat stays in or out depending on the season. You can do this by purchasing windows and window coverings that will block out or keep in warmth, and by sealing any existing cracks. In winter, reduce your thermostat by 2 °C to enjoy energy savings and a cozy sweater. In summer, use fans to circulate air, and set air conditioners to make your home a comfortable temperature. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 55 and 60 °C and insulating your pipes also makes a difference.
- Make every drop count: Conserve water by fixing drips and leaks, and by installing low-flow shower heads and toilets. Challenge yourself to a speed shower. Turn off water while brushing teeth or shaving. Treating and transporting water requires energy, while water conservation results in reduced energy requirements and carbon emissions.
- Cool wash and hang to dry: These are not just washing instructions on a label anymore, but an equation for energy savings. Wash clothing in cold water and hang clothing to dry outside, or indoors on a drying rack. Taking these steps will reduce your electricity bill and also prolong the life of clothing by reducing wear on the fabric caused by dryers.
- High efficiency appliances: When replacing appliances, look for high efficiency units. Appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings, an international standard for energy-efficient consumer products, typically utilize a minimum of 20 % less energy. This means savings for you and the environment.
- Switch to “green power”: Research where your power is coming from – wind, water, coal, or solar – and talk to your power provider to determine if a greater percentage could be coming from renewable resources. Encourage power providers to switch to green power and, if possible and/or economically viable, switch to a company offering power from renewable resources.
- Recycle: Make recycling part of your daily routine. Recycle all packaging and consumer goods that you can. Aim to purchase items with minimal and recyclable packaging. For certain items with large amounts of packaging, ask retailers if they can recycle or re-use it. For electronics, facilities now exist that can dispose of electronics in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Repurpose: Rather than discarding or recycling clothing and household goods, give them a chance at a second life. Gently used clothing can be donated to charity or exchanged with friends and family. Old T-shirts can be repurposed into rags for cleaning. Household goods can be donated to charity or sold at a garage sale. Through repurposing, the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites is reduced, there is no need to use energy for recycling, and others can benefit from your used items.
- Plants, our new best friend: When gardening, select plants that are well suited to your climate and require minimal watering and attention. Better yet, plant a tree, and it will provide shade and soak up carbon from the atmosphere.
Courtesy Canada dot ca