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?

Author: guerson

Born and raised in Brazil, a Canadian stole my heart and took me to Canada in 1999. After seven years between Montreal and Toronto, we then moved to Barcelona, Spain, where I did research for my PhD thesis. This blog began as a chronicle of our adventures while living in Barcelona and exploring the old world and has acquired a life of its own after we moved back to Canada.

7 thoughts on “Three eco-conscious decisions”

  1. Menina, também uso o swiffer e confesso que sou meio viciada em materiais de limpeza, Ted tenta me convencer a limpar tudo somente com água quente, mas isso não me convence, de jeito nenhum!!!

  2. Unfortunately, here in El Paso, it is much harder to be ecoconscious. Owning a car is mandatory, there is no recycling (although it is apparently coming) and it is hard to find local produce. But we do shop at a market that has organic produce and other goods, I try to reuse bottles, containers, plastic bags etc. as much as I can, we drive a car that is much more efficient than most ($20 to fill it up, and a tank of gas lasts me two weeks), and we use the garberator a lot. Living here, I have realized how lucky we were in Toronto in terms of recycling opportunities.

  3. denise – essa de usar só agua quente também não me convence. Ao menos um alcool tem que rolar, não?

    Dana – Toronto is much better than some places but I confess we found it much harder to recycle there than we did in Montreal. In Montreal not only we could get paper bags anywhere, but you could also return your bottles at any grocery store, liquor comission, or even corner stores. When we first moved to TO, we brought our bottles back to the LCBO and the guy was very embarrassed to tell us they had no equivalent service. But things are improving I guess. I’ve heard they just passed some law that will charge a deposit for every beer/wine bottle, that you can get back when you return them to the Beer Store (which is what they do in QC).

    A change I noticed this past year is that the environment seems to have ceased to be a concern of just a few environment-conscious individuals and more enlightened public workers, and have now become a priority for all. At least in theory. Let’s see if they will act upon it. I just hope it’s not too little too late. We have no choice in Canada since it will be one of the worst-hit of all countries, since so much of our territory is in the artic…

  4. Oi Alexandra,

    Eu tb adoro o Swiffer. Nao adianta, esse negocio de paninho, flanela e espanador nao funciona.

    Quanto ao carro, o transporte coletivo aqui e’ horrivel.

    Eu tb tenho o pessimo habito de deixar o computador ligado durante o dia mesmo quando nao estou por perto. Os meus filhos adoram desenhar e usam um montao de papel.

    A gente faz o que pode, nao e’ mesmo?

    Bjs.

    Regina

  5. Oi Regina,
    Pois é… eu cheguei a usar os swiffer wet para limpar o chão mas aí eu achei que a coisa já era meia exagerada e voltei ao bom e velho “mop” e um paninho de chão importado do Brasil ;) Mas para poeira não tem coisa melhor do que o swiffer.

    Também usaria fralda descartável se tivesse filhos. Assim como uso absorventes para a menstruação. Sei que eles geram poluição mas se todos nós diminuíssemos em outras áreas, acho que já seria um avanço, né?

  6. OLá Alexandra!!

    VAleu pelas dicas!! Ainda vai demorar um pouco até eu vivenciar esse frio (que eu sei que é complicado, mas eu sou mais da turma do frio do que da turma do calor), mas elas estão bem guardadinhas!!

    Brigadão!!

    beijocas

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