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  • Kyla Greenham's avatar
    Kyla Greenham 7/29/2021 2:17 PM
    Hi All, just wanted to give a high fives to everyone who is participating this month. Way to go, you only have two more days.  Anyone developed a new habit?
  • Reflection Question
    Community Say No to Styrofoam
    How might styrofoam be an environmental justice and/or environmental racism issue in your community?

    Michelle Anne Olsen's avatar
    Michelle Anne Olsen 7/29/2021 7:26 AM
    The fact is that styrofoam is cheap and easy. I can understand why certain restaurants and fast-food companies opt for the use of styrofoam when packaging their take-out: it's inexpensive, tidy and does a good job at keeping food warm in transit. I recently had to purchase disposable plates and cutlery for a community Zoo event. We were committed to ensuring that these were eco-friendly and fully biodegradable...and that was reflected in the final cost of those items. Right now, styrofoam is simply cheaper, and easier to acquire in bulk, as I say firsthand. So it might be a big ask, for a family business or otherwise small-scale food provider to make the full switch to more easily biodegradable packaging. It is oftentimes more expensive to opt for sustainable products, both at the personal and industrial level. And when it comes to being able to spend that extra money for the sake of the planet...that is absolutely a question of privilege.
  • Reflection Question
    Personal Care Pearly Whites
    Currently most of the packaging for toothpaste is plastic. How can you advocate for more alternatives through your purchasing power and influence in community?

    Michelle Anne Olsen's avatar
    Michelle Anne Olsen 7/29/2021 7:16 AM
    The truth seems to be that many big businesses care more about the bottom line than about their long-term commitment to the planet. So how do we encourage them to adopt more sustainable practices when it comes to making and packaging their products? We put our money where our mouths are. By turning our backs on unsustainable products and instead giving our consumer dollars on ethical, local and environmentally-focused companies, that sends a powerful message. One that might even convince big business to make big changes, in order to win the consumer - us - back.

  • Kyla Greenham's avatar
    Kyla Greenham 7/27/2021 7:26 AM
    Hi All, hope your month has been going well.  I'm finding some challenges are very easy to follow, but others still need reminders.  How are you setting up your reminders? How are you all doing with this year's challenge?

  • Marion ZimmerH's avatar
    Marion ZimmerH 7/26/2021 8:28 AM
    Great! It is easy to go plastic free.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Make My Own
    How do you feel about being more involved in the food preparation process? Joyful, overwhelmed, engaged, empowered? What are the benefits of choosing to process or produce your own food instead of buying it pre-processed?

    Evelina Wolejszo's avatar
    Evelina Wolejszo 7/26/2021 7:31 AM
    I enjoy cooking so it's an easy transition/task and having collected my own research on foods that are less processed further motivates me to prepare my own food (better for digestion, overall health, etc.).
  • Reflection Question
    Food Start Composting
    Do an inventory of how much food waste you would save from going to the landfill if you start composting all of the time. What are the added benefits of having compost that is readily accessible?

    Michelle Anne Olsen's avatar
    Michelle Anne Olsen 7/26/2021 6:05 AM
    Now that I've had my little compost bin set up in my apartment for a few weeks, it looks as though I am able to fill it up weekly. So that's a good 20L of food waste that's being diverted from landfill per week! Having my compost set up right under my sink makes me so much more liable to remember to divert food waste from my main trash can, and having a large compost bin on-site in my building, in which I can regularly empty my personal compost bin, is certainly very convenient, which makes me likely to keep up with this practice!
  • Reflection Question
    Community Join a Cleanup Effort
    How does working with others to clean up your community make you feel?

    Michelle Anne Olsen's avatar
    Michelle Anne Olsen 7/21/2021 6:35 AM
    Following yesterday's Shoreline Cleanup event at Alderville First Nation (co-organized by Adopt-A-Pond, Turtle Island Conservation and Alderville Black Oak Savanna) I feel beyond inspired. Attendance was a little bit lower than we had hoped, but I am amazed at what a small group of volunteers was able to achieve in just a few hours, collecting 8 bags of trash weighing over 175 lbs.  I am so looking forward to our upcoming cleanups across Ontario over the rest of the summer and into the fall.

  • Brian Boyle's avatar
    Brian Boyle 7/21/2021 2:11 AM
    working on it a bit every day
  • Reflection Question
    Lifestyle Watch a Documentary
    Which documentary did you choose to watch? What did you learn?

    Michelle Anne Olsen's avatar
    Michelle Anne Olsen 7/16/2021 6:03 AM
    I watched a PBS documentary about the plastics crisis, hosted by our TZ Plastic Free Eco-Challenge team captain! I was familiar with a lot of the information presented in the documentary already, but seeing footage of plastics littering beaches (including here in Toronto) and animals suffering from plastics consumption or was like a punch to the gut. But the overall message wasn't hopeless, by any means. The positives that I took away were:

    -the stories of individuals (including a family here in Toronto) almost completely removing plastics from their home and buying habits (I am definitely going to be checking out Toronto's waste-free grocery store). It takes education and perseverance, but it can be done!
    -businesses and companies are able to reduce their reliance on plastics. Admittedly, it seems to cost a little bit more at the head and can be more labour-intensive, but I'm convinced that it is ultimately a question of whether or not that company prioritizes the environment, and not a question of the possible versus the impossible. I want to put my money toward companies who are embracing that change, even when it's challenging, like I'm doing in my personal life.
    -I have always said, and I think that this documentary raised this point again and again, that research and development, innovation and invention. are very important to the true resolution of the plastics crisis. I think that we are potentially one clever invention away from a massive clean-up effort in landfills and contaminated bodies of water. Until then, it's all about the five Rs - rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle (and in that order!) - and about promoting STEM - more innovative minds trained in the sciences could make those concrete, widespread solutions a reality.