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5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

We are so fortunate to live in a country where many of us have a park, forest, grassland, lake or ocean we can visit less than an hour away. Over the past year these spaces have become more important than ever. Listening to the birds, waves crash or the rustle of the wind can lower our stress levels while acting as the soundtrack to our new exercise routines. It has also revealed how much we depend on nature and benefit from spending time in it.

What can we do to protect these natural spaces?

Practice Leave No Trace Principles

When out in nature, minimize your impact by taking out what you take in like litter and leftover food. Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them and use existing trails and campsites where possible. Learn more at https://www.leavenotrace.ca/principles.

Plant Native Plants

If you are blessed with a green thumb, your garden plans for the year are likely well underway. This year spend some extra time researching what plants are native to your area and avoid exotic or invasive species. Plants like English Ivy or the Norway Maple can easily escape our gardens into nearby ravines and forests pushing out the local flora. These non-native plants are also unappetizing to local wildlife putting even more pressure on the ecosystem.

Eat Local and In Season Whenever Possible

Local and in-season food has to travel shorter distances from the farm to your table, resulting in less pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It also means fresher and more nutritious meals that have undergone less processing. This option can often be expensive and depending on where you live, there may not be many options available so consider choosing local where possible and stocking your freezer with your favourite fruit and vegetables when they are in season.

Choose Plastic Free Alternatives

Only 9% of all plastic is being recycled and over 10 million tonnes end up in the ocean each year. This means that even if your city or community has a recycling program, 91% of what you put in your blue bin each week will end up in a landfill. Try to find more sustainable alternatives where you can and make ongoing small changes. For example, rather than purchasing shampoo, conditioner and body wash that comes in a plastic container, choose environmentally friendly versions that come in a bar form.

Educate Yourself

Sustainability is not static and new information is constantly coming to light. The most important thing any of us can do is commit to continuing to learn. Climate Science, #Nature For All, Canadian Wildlife Federation and Ocean Wise are all great resources whether you are interested in climate change, connecting with nature, conserving wildlife, habitats or the ocean.

This Earth Day, take a moment to recognize the importance of our planet, especially its green and blue spaces, and commit to protecting them.