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It's a great time to learn how to live sustainably, especially if you live here in Canada. As the country adapts to growing more sustainably, trying out eco-friendly ways to live has never been this easy.
Canada has committed to the United Nations' Sustainability Goals, which includes rolling out green plans for urban and rural areas and gender equality in the workplace. Sustainable development means living without compromising our natural and human resources, which touches upon equality. For local citizens, this initiative means an easier way to live sustainably.
As an individual living in Canada, you must be wondering what else you can do to live sustainably. After all, the UN's sustainability agenda is a collective effort from each and every one of us. What are the ways you could practice sustainable living? We've listed down five realistic and easy ways you could practice sustainable living in your day-to-day life painlessly and quickly.
Canada has been adapting a greener way to produce electricity. From a country who was once a major player in the oil industry, Canada has been exploring greener alternatives to producing electricity. In a study made in 2015, it was discovered that fuels used in producing electricity are the highest contributor to greenhouse emissions in Canada. If there is any sector where we could try to work together to minimize our carbon footprint and environmental impact, it would be the electricity sector.
However, there's less reason to worry as Canada begins the shift to cleaner and greener energy sources. There have been initiatives to support harvesting solar energy from British Columbia. Nova Scotia has turned towards wind energy to power electric cars and offset communities relying on fossil fuel. These initiatives towards a cleaner energy source have been sparking interest in more sustainable living. And while these initiatives mean good for the community, the efforts to live sustainably do not stop there.
One of the few ways we can start to live sustainably is to be mindful of how we consume electricity. The first step is to evaluate how to optimize our electric consumption. There are electrical products that could save energy and cost, like LED lights. An LED light bulb could use up to 75 percent less energy and last 25 percent longer than an ordinary incandescent bulb.
Turning off your appliances that are not in use is another simple yet effective way to save energy and electricity. Unplugging them when not in use is also highly recommended by experts. These electrical products still consume energy even though they are switched off, so it's best just to unplug them until you are ready to use them again.
It would also help to optimize your home for warm and cold seasons. During hotter temperatures, using curtains to block off sunlight and keep the room from heating up could help lessen dependence on cooling units. During winter, set the heat to 21 to 22 degrees Celsius as the recommended benchmark.
It would also help a lot to review the electric consumption of your appliances. Older appliances often use more electricity. You might save a lot more if you replace them with new ones with better electric consumption rather than skimping up by keeping on using them. An electricity usage monitor could also help you gauge which appliances are using way more electricity than most.
Using cars could be very convenient. It saves you the hassle of commutes to work or other places, and you could go by your timetable. However, using cars all the time contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and your carbon footprint.
Over 80 percent of Canadians live in urban spaces. This means, on an urban level, city planners and urban development specialists have the challenge to keep transportation infrastructures optimized for the needs of its residents as well as local weather. Densely populated areas like cities mean a warmer environment. While this might not be something concerning regular folks like us, the overall effect on everyone is something we should pay attention to.
The warming of our cities could affect the permafrost in the north. The rapid thawing of ice could mean life or death to communities situated there if infrastructures are not built fast enough to support new and emerging needs due to climate change.
The solution is for citizens and local governments to meet halfway. It is a challenge for urban planners to arrange critical points in the cities, like hospitals, supermarkets, and transportation hubs, in close distance to its citizens. Regular folks like us could opt to use greener alternatives to driving cars.
Walking short distances help cut down our carbon footprint and promote fitness. Taking advantage of public transportation might be a bit problematic to deal with, but it's one less item that reduces our environmental impact at the end of the day. If it cannot be helped to use cars, consider carpooling. Being smart with our transportation could have an immensely positive impact on our environment.
Another primary source of greenhouse emissions is the supply chain of major food and beverage companies. From groceries to fast food chains, the dependence on securing food from global parts of the world contributes to our carbon footprint.
Looking for local alternatives for food sources could drastically reduce our environmental impacts. First, your food will not travel hundreds of miles, thereby cutting down on fuel consumption for its logistics. Another benefit to eating locally available produce is helping your community farmers and producers, which helps in enriching economic sustainability.
Eating by the season is another way to live sustainably. You are helping both your local farmers and help cut down on your carbon footprint by keeping your environmental impacts on your area. By choosing local fruits and vegetables, you are also helping enrich your diet. It's a win for both you and the environment.
Despite living in a world that consists of 75 percent water, freshwater is incredibly scarce and finite. And while Canada is a major contributor of up to 20 percent of freshwater globally, only seven percent is considered renewable, and most of this water drains towards the Hudson Bay and the Arctic Ocean. Out of this percentage, common households used up to almost 330 litres of water each day until 2005.
With improvements in water efficiency, household water use has been cut down to 250 litres of water.
There are plenty of ways to even improve this figure. Turning off the tap when not in use is one of the easiest things we could do. Waiting to get a full load before running in your washing machines also helps reduce water consumption. Like any sustainability initiative, it's the small things that add up and significantly and positively affect a greener and cleaner future.
Sustainability is more than just opting for eco-friendly alternatives. Much of the UN's sustainability agenda touches upon socio-economic facets, including boosting local economies. Canada is prosperous with its wood and lumber products, so it's not a surprise to see wooden crafts sold in the market.
Not only do you help the local economy, but also switching to eco-friendly fashion items like watches and sunglasses helps cut down the adverse effects of fast fashion in the environment. Plenty of eco-friendly fashion accessories only show what we could do with fewer plastic products, whose negative environmental impacts outweigh their convenience and style.
Learning how to live sustainably in Canada can be inspiring, especially if you are new to the concept. If you're looking for reasons and motivations to pick up the practice, it helps to know that an entire country supports the sustainability agenda. It makes things easier for you to know that there is support available to provide you with more sustainable alternatives and helps with your decision-making.
Simple steps, like turning off water and electricity when not in use, all add to a significant positive impact on the environment. It would also help immensely to monitor your electricity and water usage. This would help you figure out where to cut down or improve to reduce your environmental impact. It's the little things that add up until slowly but surely, our individual and collective sustainability agenda are ticked off one by one.
If you want to read more about how to live sustainably, you can begin by reading this article on how to be fashionable while promoting sustainability.