We all listen to the news: the polar icecap is melting, the seas are rising, the weather is more unpredictable, droughts are increasing, forest and bush fires are harder to manage. We hear and see that our climate is changing, but what do we do in response to all this news? What should we do?
Old Ottawa South (OOS) is one of the best neighbourhoods in the city – nestled between the canal and river, we have tree-lined streets, parks, playgrounds, a university, a library, a community centre, a tennis club, swimming, biking, multiple restaurants, local businesses. Well, I don’t need to convince you, do I?
But we could do better. The city is working on an environment strategy, the feds have a plan that encompasses moving to a low-carbon economy and integrated sustainable development that includes our coasts, oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, healthy wildlife populations, and safe and healthy communities. They also want to plant 2 billion trees (that’s 54 for each of us).
What does this all mean at our local level? What are we (you and I) doing to combat climate change? Most people realize the situation is dire and want to “do something,” but they’re unsure what that something should be. We get conflicting information or not enough. When is garbage waste or recyclable? Does buying local really help?
On the other hand, some of us seem oblivious to the most obvious things we should be doing to save our planet. Why do we continue to use plastic bags when reusable ones are cheap and plentiful? By 2021, Canada is hoping to ban single-use plastics. Can we help? How?
Why is it important to understand how to dispose of waste? How can we behave more responsibly? What role do we play on a personal level? How can we become more aware of the options available to us?
Let’s get together and figure out how OOS can make a difference. It’s a new year and a new decade: let’s try to get this one right.
There is a whole range of possibilities, from nature walks at Brewer Park to helping green our public institutions. No project is too small. Education and awareness are key ways to change a culture of waste to one that is more sustainable. How do we discourage the use of single-use plastics in our neighbourhood or create a butterfly meadow – or both? Many of us are already reducing, reusing, recycling, repurposing. Sharing our ideas and practices will inspire our neighbours to adopt them too.
Do we need a monthly environment column to write about local issues, publicize related events, share information, and highlight initiatives that OOS residents and businesses are taking to fight climate change?
We really can make a difference, but let’s get started now. Let’s act locally!
Useful links and locations
- Nu Grocery, 143 Main Street in Old Ottawa East
- All Eco, 857b Bank Street in the Glebe
- A “zero waste” experiment in Old Ottawa South, by Holly Bickerton, OSCAR, Sept. 2019, page 25
- Talking trash, by Jennifer Humphries, Glebe Report, December 2019
- Buy Nothing Old Ottawa South
- Selecting plants for pollinators: a guide for gardeners, farmers, and land managers
- What on Earth? – CBC’s weekly newsletter on “all things environmental”
- The Fix – a new series on The Current, looking at people solving the problems in our world today
February 11, 2020 7 pm – Healthy Cities Panel: Nature in the City, Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper Street