By Camille Aubin
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Humans are quite accustomed to a particular action: throwing stuff away. It begins as soon as we wake up. Food waste, single-use goods, and even items we never asked for… all kinds of paper and packaging, and a seemingly infinite amount of plastic.

It’s the government’s fault, you say. Political leaders, in turn, respond that it is the banks, corporations and companies that are failing us. But private industries argue that it’s the consumer’s (ahem, your) fault. The truth is, it’s everyone’s fault and everyone’s business to come up with a solution. Every individual, company and association must play a role in this gigantic problem that has become climate change. 

The time is now. It’s our planet, our home, and most importantly, the only one we will ever have.

Politically, we need to take strong measures to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Banks must be urged to invest in green energy. And each of us needs to make better choices.

To buy is to vote — the choices you make with your money influence the products companies offer. If we buy (vote for) an eco-friendly product, the company will deliver what we asked for. It has already begun. A variety of products are offered in greener formats and containers. Businesses are brainstorming ways to produce and provide greener products. Let’s keep going!

According to Canada’s latest report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 reached 730 million tonnes, up about 1 million from the previous year. Having been at 747 million tons in 2005, the country has set its target at 511 million tonnes by 2030. Canada is the only G7 country whose greenhouse gas emissions are higher today than they were in 1990. And we dare to proclaim our country as an environmental leader.

Sure, the problem can feel overwhelming. But keep in mind that every little effort counts, and focus on what you can do. 

Start with your garbage bag: What is in there? It’s a real good hint at what you can work on to reduce your daily trash. Is there a lot of food waste? Begin planning your meals for the week in advance so that you only buy what you need. You’ll save money, and our planet will be a happier place. Is it packaging that fills your garbage bag? Research refillable options available near you. You might be surprised how easy it can be to swap a few items. 

To finish, find what works best for you. There are endless possibilities, once you start looking for them, to lead a sustainable life that meet everyone’s needs. 

Generating less waste is not just about recycling; it’s about putting values in the right place, putting experiences before things, time before money and focussing on being instead of having.