Sustainability in these times can be so tough and in fact hard to implement. I might have to wear another set of plastic gloves but if I can find a substitute I’ll switch – e.g. using a reusable mask. At U of T, the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology has been hard at work to reduce the plastic in our waterways, for example at the waterfront in Downtown Toronto and students are having an immediate and long lasting impact on our communities.
Chelsea Rochman and her team at the Rochman Lab, have been “exploring innovative litter-capturing technologies and engaging the public”, in recent times. They’ve had success in clearing up the waterfront and are working to keep researching and collaborating with teams and groups that can help solve this as soon as possible. So far they have piloted three Seabins at the Outer Harbour Marina, “capturing hundreds to thousands of pieces of small debris every week,” Rochman says. “We also standardized our protocols for how we quantify the debris. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best method that can be shared with other people who are also tracking litter so that we can all have standardized data. Those methods are being used by people as far as California and Vancouver.”
Elsewhere, I really like this article in the University of Toronto Magazine about the impact students are having in new green projects. The students can be doing anything from growing produce and plants to caring for bee hives, which is amazing to have that opportunity. All the research from these teams and projects is going a long way and if you want to check them both out I’ll leave them here.
5 things I do:
Here’s so short-term changes you might want to implement in these difficult times now, and I do these to help minimise my environmental impact:
- Declutter my bedroom and home. I find a jumper or shirt that’s been at the bottom of the drawers and stop myself from buying something else! It also helps me feel more comfortable in the spaces that I live in.
- Slowing down and seeing what I have with me right now. Now that I’ve tidied my spaces, I can see if there’s a book that has been sitting on a shelf for a long time and that I’ve been meaning to read. Or I listen to some music and organise my week. By staying organised and on track and by practicing self-care helps me to stop ordering those late night pizzas or energy drinks.
- Going for a walk and breathe some fresh air. How does this help me be more sustainable? Studies have shown that people who practice walking and begin to turn it to a habit are more likely to keep on walking and not use transport if they don’t need to. And I feel better too.
- Educate ourselves a little bit when we can. There’s so many things out there and I try to find about a niche of being more environmentally friendly and share that with my friends and family.
- I’m growing a desk plant. Keeping a small piece of the universe and watching it grow right next to me on my desk helps me keep a sense of calm and down to earth as I’m studying.