Pictured Above: A New Archaeology for the Leslie Street Spit by Ben Watt-Meyer
Photo by Agata Piskunowicz
We’re all familiar with the causes of climate change and the big picture things we as a culture need to do to fight it. We know that driving and air travel are not energy-efficient ways of getting around, that single-use plastics need to go (not to the landfill, but out of the marketplace all together), and that Canada has a long way to go to meet its carbon reduction targets.
Sometimes this can all seem pretty daunting. We’ve got our reusable coffee mugs in hand and our bikes are getting tuned up for the season, but what else? What are the next immediate, local, and actionable steps we can take?
Here are 5 things we can do right here in Toronto to improve our impact on the environment.
Join A Neighbourhood Clean-Up
There are official Community Environment Days in all 25 Wards, as well as grassroots initiatives from the huge Don Valley Clean-Up and Revitalization to the Liberty Village Park Clean-Up
Plant A Tree Or Two
Have some extra space in your front or back yard? Pick one of the beautiful tree species native to the region and get it in the ground! You can either do it yourself, or have one of several organizations come and give you a hand. All the info you need—including details about grants and community events—is on the Toronto Parks & Trees Foundation Website.
Memorize Toronto’s Recycling, Garbage and Compost Guidelines
Do you know which colour coffee lids aren’t recyclable? Would you be surprised to find out that over-wrap from toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, water/soft drink cases ARE allowed in the blue-bin? If so, you can study up on the proper disposal of almost anything on the city’s website. Check out their handy Waste Wizard tool too and know before you throw!
Support Local Environmental Groups
There are lots of groups doing amazing work in our city, from the lake to the greenbelt, from the the Humber to the Don and beyond. We can all do our part to help them out by volunteering, donating and spreading the word. Here are just a few amazing organizations to consider supporting:
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a Canadian charity working for a day when every person in our watershed can safely touch the water, when the water is pure enough to drink, and when the lake is clean and wild enough that you could toss in a line anywhere and pull out a fish.
The Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) works every day to ensure the City does its part to fight climate change
Start a Community Initiative
There’s no initiative too small when it comes to being eco-friendly, and Toronto residents are already doing all kinds of wonderful things to make their communities greener, one step at a time. Take a recent project over at Woodbine Beach, for example, where a group of residents set-up bag stations similar to those seen in dog parks so visitors can easily help clean-up the beach:
“The idea is simple: Residents grab a bag on their way to the beach, giving them an easy place to discard their own trash as well as anything else they may see along the way.” — Article by Taylor Simmons, CBC Toronto.