Ten super simple things you can do in 2020 to help save the planet

Tesla electric truck

Tesla has finally come out with a new electric truck. If you haven’t seen it yet, it looks like a space-aged DeLorean and costs roughly $50,000. While many of us may not be in a financial position to be on the first buyers’ list, there are things we can all do now to do our bit for the environment and climate change.

Here are ten super simple things you can do in 2020 to help save our planet:

  1. When grocery shopping, place loose fruits and vegetables in a reuseable shopping bag instead of using the thin plastic bags in the store—there’s really no need to bag green onions, lettuce, peppers, etc.
  2. Use recyclable travel mugs instead of disposable cups.
  3. Stop using drive-thru windows to reduce idling and emissions—you’ll also get more exercise if you walk in to get your coffee or treat.
  4. They’re saying grocery prices will skyrocket in 2020. If you’re a meat eater, try reducing your meat consumption by 10-20% and save on grocery bills too.
  5. Stop buying bottled water.
  6. Recycle clothes by donating old clothes to local clothes initiatives. Why not shop there too? Some of my favourite finds have been at used or community clothes places.
  7. Get crafty: instead of throwing household items out, see what you can make with them instead. I have a couple of friends at work who make gorgeous furniture and household items with recycled stuff.
  8. Don’t buy or use plastic straws or cutlery. At work, keep a mug, plate and fork and spoon on hand for work celebrations and potlucks.
  9. Get serious about commuting—if you live in the city, try taking the bus or biking to work. If you’re in the country, see if you can ride-share a couple of days a week with a neighbour or co-worker. Or, negotiate with your employer to see if you can work from home from time to time.
  10. Compost. I’m shocked at how many people don’t compost. Not only does it redirect items from landfill, you get beautiful, rich soil for your garden.

This week’s #HappyAct is for all of us to start making little changes in our buying and consuming habits, because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we all need to take action now. I pledge to focus on #1-3 and #9 this year since we’re already doing most of the others.

What are you doing to save the planet? Leave a comment below.

Eat from a dish with one spoon

It has been inspiring to see how reconciliation has finally become more than just a word in this country.

Every conference and event now starts with an acknowledgement of the First Nation territories and their land upon which the event is being held.

When I was at Queen’s University a few weeks ago to hear presentations from graduate students in their school of public health, covering one wall was a string of flags hung by the students declaring their personal act of reconciliation.

I was especially proud recently to view a special work of art done by the students of Loughborough Public School, where Clare goes to school. The piece called “From What Dish Do You Want to Feed Your Grandchildren From” is 13 feet long and spans one of the foyer walls. The artwork was chosen as the Ontario entry for a special gathering in Winnipeg as part of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

It was inspired by a treaty signed between the Anishinaabe, Mississauga and Haudenosaunee First Nations in 1701 where they agreed to share the territory and protect the land, its animals and bounty around Lake Ontario. The philosophy these young students are trying to pass down to future generations is we all share the same land and eat from the same bowl with the same spoon. We must respect the land, its inhabitants and take care of it so it continues to thrive and reap bountiful harvests for future generations.

There are no knives at the table—an equally powerful message about acceptance, harmony and living in a peaceful society without war.

children's messages on artwork

I’m always amazed at the creativity and talent of young people. They used natural elements like beaver pelts and birch bark stitched together with modern symbols of how we are harming our environment in a beautiful tapestry, then overlayed personal messages and artwork for a powerful mosaic that reflects Canadian and First Nations values and principles.

This week’s #HappyAct is to ask yourself and answer the question these young minds are challenging us to answer: what will be your personal act of reconciliation?

artwork