By Yvonne Yorke
Since Earth Day’s founding over 50 years ago, April 22 has been an occasion for people to reflect on how they can better treat the environment. Did you know that high-density living, such as an apartment building, is much more environmentally friendly than living in a rural community? Shared walls = less heat loss and less infrastructure for water, sewage and waste removal. To build on the legacy of Earth Day, let’s continue to ask ourselves: how can we leave the world better than we found it?
Environmentally, you may consider walking or biking, bringing reusable bags to the store, or using LED bulbs to light your apartment. When indoors, you may use a lamp with one bulb instead of ceiling lights with two bulbs, and remember to turn off lights when you leave a space and use natural light as early and as late in the day as possible. To save water, you may install a water savings shower head, take shorter showers, only do laundry in full loads and use cold water. Some other things that can help are going paperless for bills and work, buying second hand furniture, books and clothing (think of the deals on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, etc.).
Living in a connected community, like St. James Town, access to public transportation, shops, restaurants, green space, parks and recreation can offer ways for you to meet with family and neighbours and promote a sense of belonging. Try to find ways to share games, puzzles, and books with friends and neighbours!
There are also several ways you can think about growing your own food on Earth Day. Consider participating in building or maintaining community gardens, make a balcony garden or vertical garden (fresh herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, YUM!). Don’t forget that you can regrow plants from scraps of bok choy, spring onions, carrots and leeks. Take it inside! Having indoor plants helps the environment (and our mental health). Houseplants purify the air and release oxygen, helping to fight off pollution.
So this April, challenge yourself to make a conscious effort to adapt some of these suggestions into your lifestyle and into your home. The future thanks you for it!
Modern housing: Why high rises are good for the environment Author of the article: Matthew Sachs, Ottawa Citizen, Publishing date: Jul 03, 2014
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