Blog Action Day: the Environment

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

When I was growing up in Brazil, environmentalists were perceived as hippies that stood on the way of progress and defended an utopian view of the world. It was a time in which Prince Charles was ridiculed for his defense of the environment and organic farming, and Brazilian authorities wished Sting would fight for someone else’s forests. Fast forward a couple of decades and we now live in a world where these questions are no longer limited to the Green Parties and hippies of the world. Mainstream political parties must now have a proper environment policy and a former American vice-president has won the Nobel Peace Prize for calling the western world’s attention to the critical point we have reached. Suddenly, Prince Charles is not so laughable after all…

We can each do our part in ensuring a future for our children and for ourselves:

1. Recycle & re-use items – don’t throw in the garbage something that can be recycled. Re-use what you can. Why spend money on toxic plastic containers to store food when you can use nice glass jars and containers from your jams, mayonese, salsa, olives and other products. I used to love the  fact that you had the option to get juice & milk on glass bottles in Spain.

2. Try to generate less garbage – It seems that the cleaning products industry has gone on the “disposable” bandwagon recently. From your duster, to wood-polishing oils, passing through multi-purpose cleaners, everything comes in disposable wipes format. The trend has also started to impact the cosmetic industry where I have been seeing disposable facial washing cloth. Has anybody stopped to think the amount of extra garbage that generates? What’s wrong with wiping the kitchen counters with a cloth that can be washed afterwards?

3. Try to leave your car at home more often – I know this is hard for people living in North American suburbs that have been designed for cars and where a public transit system is almost non-existent. But do you really need to drive to the corner store, less than 10-minute walk away? Luckily for me, my dad was a bit cheap when it came to driving my brothers and I around. He complained gas was expensive and would only drive us to places we couldn’t possibly walk to or take a bus. Even when I had to go grocery shopping, since the store was about a kilometre away, he would tell me “you can walk”. Of course it used to drive me nuts, but today I appreciate it since my first instinct when I have to go anywhere is to walk, and if I can’t walk, to look for public transit.

4. Buy local whenever possible – That’s one of the things I’ve started being more aware of lately. Personally, I think this one affects not only the environment but also your health. Whenever I go shopping, I make sure I check the tags of what I buy. I’d rather buy strawberries from Ontario than from California, regardless of the price.

Spread the word! Think of your own contributions to the world in which we all live. Be aware of the example you set for your children.

More good advice here and here.

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.

9 thoughts on “Blog Action Day: the Environment”

  1. Another way of reducing food packaging and cutting transport miles is to grow fruit and vegetables yourself. The rewards for your mental health and well-being are just as significant as the environmental effects.

    I once lived in a small flat in London and the tomatoes grown on my window sills were not only delicious, but added a bright and much needed dash of colour and scent to an otherwise dirty and neglected streetscape.

    These days I’m fortunate to have a croft in Scotland where I can produce almost all our fruit and vegetables, but it’s those London tomatoes that I still recall as making a real difference to city life.

    I’ve enjoyed browsing your blog, which I found while working my way through Blog Action Day links, and quite enjoyed finding someone else who’s building cultural bridges around the world.

  2. Thanks for all the comments and tips!

    Stonehead

    I agree with you 100% and would love to fill my balcony with all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, I’m not very good with plants and unless they can go without water for days on end (I usually forget to water them), I always end up killing them… Bad me! It seems I don’t really have a green thumb… I even have trouble keeping a bunch of parsley alive for more than 2 days!

  3. Hello there!
    Somethings that we laugh now may become what we do in the future. Personally I’m glad the world is becoming more green.. But i have to admit that some habits are hard to put behind.
    I do try to waste water the least possible, recycle the most and be reasonable with everything else.

    Once I saw a very good advertising for being “green,” if you want to see it just go to my blog and scrool it all the way to the bottom. It’s a picture…

    As I’ve said before, the world need more people who think like you! And Act!

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