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.

Top ten happy acts of 2019

Girl walking in fall leaves

Welcome to the final happy act of 2019 where I recap the top happy acts of the year. I’ve come to learn my little blog, where I share a piece of inspiration or something we can all do to be happy each week has also become a chronicle of sorts: of my travels, family life, and of current issues on the minds of Canadians. I hope you still enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it each week. Here’s my top 10 happy acts of 2019.

  1. Take the self-care pledge. If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution to start off 2020 on the right path, this post may inspire you.
  2. Always look on the bright side of life: a tribute to Monty Python
  3. Living in the country has its charms. One of them is Funny country signs.
  4. Plan a red hot date night. Read about my steamy date with one of the last of the red hot lovers.
  5. Harvest the Grape. One of my favourite days this year was spent picking grapes at a local vineyard. Read about the harvest and what goes into making a truly remarkable vintage.
  6. Already missing the crisp cool days of fall? Check out Autumn ablaze, a photo essay with my favourite photos of eastern Ontario this spectacular fall.
  7. In Screams and curtain calls, guest blogger Ray Dorey shares his experience in local theatre.
  8. In Eat from a Dish with one Spoon, I explored native culture and what we can learn from First Nations people.
  9. A discovery of an old box of newspaper clippings of my Dad’s led to this photo essay and tribute to Toronto the good in photos, a must read if you live in the GTA.
  10. If there was one issue that galvanized the world in unity and action in 2019, it was climate change. In #FridaysforFuture and Lessons from Frome, learn about what one town in England is doing to take action.

There you have it. Thanks for continuing to join me each week in this journey. Here’s to many more happy acts in 2020.

Dear Santa: All I Want for Christmas

author on lake

Dear Santa. I started this note to you on Facebook the other day, but had to cut it short since I had to get to work.

I saw Rudolph on the ice this morning crossing the lake with Dancer and Prancer.  I think they were here on a recon mission. It’s a good thing our lakes are frozen, that way you can travel faster Christmas Eve. I messed up in the kitchen the other night so you may get store bought cookies left out. Hope that’s OK. By the way, the kids were hoping you could define naughty for them. I think they’re getting nervous.

I’m a little late sending you my Christmas wish, but most of the items on it are things you can work on year-round after you deliver toys to all the good girls and boys on Tuesday night. Here it is.

All I Want for Christmas

  • An electric vehicle that’s four wheel or all wheel drive with long driving ranges for people who live in the country who want to do their part to reduce greenhouse emissions
  • A new grocery retailer in Kingston that is environmentally friendly. Santa, since you travel a lot you probably have seen these new zero-waste food stores that have opened in Europe and around the world. Please help bring them to Canada and help us to do our part to reduce excess packaging.
  • An end to exorbitant bank fees—I think it’s highway robbery they charge $3 every time you take money out of a machine if it’s not your bank. I hope all the banks are on your naughty list this year
  • A new dryer that automatically sorts and matches socks (this one has been on my list before)
  • An end to homelessness; everyone deserves a warm, inviting place to call home
  • A hockey rink heater that actually works
  • Most of all, I want you to do what you can for a special group of people who are constantly in my heart and thoughts who are dealing with serious health issues right now; you know who they are. Please help them get better and bring them joy and happiness this Christmas season.

Sincerely,
Laurie

#FridaysforFuture and lessons from Frome

Sign that says Electile dysfunction: The inability to be aroused by any of the political parties

On Friday, more than four million people in cities and towns across the globe marched in the streets for climate change. The #FridaysforFuture movement was started by 15-year old Greta Thunberg who sat in the Swedish parliament demanding action on climate change in 2018 using the revolutionary rally cry, “This is an emergency. Our house is on fire”.

Here in Kingston, the turnout was meagre—only a few hundred people turned out in the bright warm September sunshine to protest despite the global awakening and awareness on the devastating impacts of climate change.

In October, Canadians will go to the polls yet again in our next federal election. We are at a crossroads in history and yet, no one seems to be offering real change.

It’s time to we take a lesson from Frome. Situated on the banks of the Frome river in Somerset, England, a few years ago, the residents of Frome said enough. They met in a local pub and decided to run as independents in their next election. They won 10 seats on the 17-seat council. In 2015, they swept all 17 seats.

Adopting the philosophy of community and climate first, they’ve been able to transform their village. Their Share shop allows residents to borrow tools and gears at low rates. They started a community fridge, where people can donate food and garden produce, and they’ve opened shops dedicated to selling locally made goods that are environmentally friendly. The town recently raised $300,000 pounds to install solar panels on roofs.

In a powerful statement, the town residents have recently petitioned the British government to grant the River Frome the status of a person so it has rights.

Some are calling it the #MeToo Movement for Mother Nature. The goal is to ensure we respect and protect the natural world around us.

So what does all of this mean for us here in Canada? It means we are not doing enough to make real change.

Every day, fertile farmland is being developed for cookie cutter subdivisions. On Saturdays, we drive in our big cars to shop at Costco, the land of excess packaging and food shipped from thousands of miles. Those of us who are driving electric vehicles can’t find enough charging stations. We dump raw sewage into rivers and streams (unthinkable in 2019).

This week’s #HappyAct is not a happy act at all. It is a call to action. It’s time we make real change. If our politicians won’t be brave or strong enough to do it, it’s up to us.