Three eco-conscious decisions

Andrea N & Denise passed along a meme in which we have to list three eco-conscious decisions we make in our daily lives. The point is to raise awareness of small things we can do to help the environment… I confess I spent most of my life taking the environment for granted but lately I’ve become more aware of the small things I could do. Alan calls me militant but I don’t think I do enough yet.

Here are my eco-conscious decisions:

I don’t own a car. I take public transit/ride a bike/walk. Even when I lived in Brazil, I have always favoured taking public transit/walking over driving a car. Initially it had no environment-conscious motivation but after we moved to Toronto and got rid of our car, things changed a bit. Alan and I started riding our bicycles everywhere and met some pretty militant cyclists in the process. Before we knew it, we were joining events like Critical Mass and defending ideas such as closing the inner cities to private cars. Of course, like Andrea mentions in her blog, this may not be feasible for everybody. Most cities in North America have lousy public transit systems and make it almost impossible living without a car. I think if I absolutely had to buy a car one day, it would be some sort of hybrid car and I would try to use as little as I could.

I always try to buy local produce. This is related to the above since the food we buy from more exotic and far-away places often has to be shipped to their destination. Depending on the fruit – like papaya from Brazil – this is often done by air, which means tons of pollution being released on our atmosphere, to say nothing of the taste/quality of the fruit/vegetable itself, which has to be picked very green to be able to survive such a trip.

I favour paper/glass over plastic and I recycle. In Montreal, we always had a choice over paper/plastic bags at the grocery stores. This changed in Toronto, which made me painfully aware of all the plastic bags we end up getting when we go grocery shopping. Plastic not only pollutes and takes thousands of years to break up but it also kills wildlife (particularly turtles and birds). So I stopped putting my produce in individual clear bags and I bought a large re-usable shopping bag. I also try to recycle as much as I can, despite Alan’s attempts to sabotage my efforts… Lately, I’ve also read about the possible leaching of harmful chemicals from plastic containers and have started favouring glass containers.

Where I could improve

Following Denise’s lead, I’ll also include things I do that I know are not good:

I waste a lot of paper – every paper I ever wrote was probably printed three or four times so I could make changes on the hard copy and then print again. Much of that was probably unnecessary.

I buy swiffer dusters – they are amazing to pick up dust but I always feel a bit quilty for creating more garbage than was created before when people used re-usable rags & dusters to dust their homes. At first I even bought other kinds of disposable cleaning products, like the swiffer mop, but I felt too guilty ;)

My computer is always on – while Alan and I often try to save energy, our attempts to not reach our computers. They are always on… I have no excuses for that. Sorry.

What about you? What do you do?