Take the CARP Environmental Challenge

If every Canadian makes a small change in their daily routine, we could prevent our planet from becoming a barren, toxic waste dump.

The growing concern that the damage done to the earth is irreversible has Canadians feeling like a global meltdown is impossible to avoid. These feelings of hopelessness perpetuate the myth that although practicing environmental sustainability is necessary, it is impossible to implement. However, if every Canadian made small changes in their daily routine, we could prevent our planet from becoming a barren, toxic waste dump.

Dr. William Rees coined the term “ecological footprint” as a measurement of the amount of productive land required to maintain one person’s consumption of natural resources. According to Earth Day, the average Canadian would need 7.8 hectares of land to sustain their lifestyle. If the entire human population required similar ecological resources, we would need 2 more planet earths.

CARP is proposing 33 environmental challenges for the 50 plus demographics to lead the way to sustainability by minimizing their ecological footprints on the earth. The object is to provide simple challenges that are feasible regardless of financial or physical limitations. The challenge is to begin by incorporating at least 10 of following tips into your daily routine as soon as possible – and then others.

Go Green

1. Calculate your own ecological foot prints on the Earth Day Footprint Quiz by going to http://earthday-dev.shs.net/footprint/index.asp

2. Check Environment Canada’s list of incentives and rebates from across the country to assist in reducing the amount of energy you use and to avert the waste you create. To find out what is available go to http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=FD9B0E51-1

Live Green

3. Replace your household cleaners, which can be a potential toxic cocktail, to white vinegar and baking soda. White vinegar (5 percent acetic acid) can remove grease, soap scum, mildew and wax buildup while baking soda on a wet cloth is a mild abrasive that can remove difficult grime. Also, pouring baking soda down a drain followed by vinegar and hot water deodorizes and unclogs the worst drains. Many household cleaners contain ammonia and bleach, which are equally as toxic for the environmental as they are for your health.

4. Invest in a drying rack instead of using a drier. The sun is a natural bleach for whites hanging on a clothes line.

5. Eliminate or reduce the use of plastic bags. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade and waste valuable oil.

6. Reuse your food produce bags or even better yet, invest in reusable mesh produce bags. For example, you can buy 10 for $1.95 at www.grassrootsstore.com.

7. Change your garbage bags that are made out of toxic petroleum to disposable bags made out of corn or potato starch that will biodegrade in 30 days, whenever available.

8. Replace synthetic fragrance to improve the smell in your house, with a houseplant that will not only give a warmer look but remove the toxins from the air. According to a NASA Study, indoor plants are the most efficient and cost effective means of removing air pollution. The more leaf surface a plant has the more air it can clean. The study recommends that “two plants per 100 square feet or two plants per a small office keep the air pure [and] healthy.”