Earth Hour 2014 Series: How big is your ecological footprint?

We’re doing an Earth Hour 2014 mini series featuring tips and information on conserving energy and living green. The City of Vaughan will be celebrating Earth Hour at Vaughan City Hall on March 29 beginning at 6:30 p.m. Activities include an energy conservation exhibit, lantern making, a cycling night ride and much more. For more information about Vaughan’s Earth Hour event, visit www.vaughan.ca/earthhour.

The City is committed to addressing local environmental issues. A key priority is to engage residents, partners and stakeholders and develop a comprehensive and sustainable made-in-Vaughan approach to maintaining a healthy environment, vibrant communities and economic vitality within the City.

Here is the first post in the series:

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How much “nature” does your lifestyle require?
It’s an important question to ask because many North Americans are not quite as sustainable as they could be, particularly when it comes to energy consumption.

Take the ecological footprint quiz on myfootprint.org to find out just how much land and ocean area is required to sustain your consumption patterns every year.

Then, try these simple actions that not only help to reduce your ecological footprint and energy consumption but also work to increase your positive environmental contribution! This is known as “upcycling.”

  • Transportation
    • Carpool and take transit to and from work or school
    • Consider buying an electric or hybrid vehicle
    • Invest in a bicycle and improve your health and wellness while reducing air pollution
    • Make cycling part of your social scene by joining a local bicycle group like the Vaughan Bicycle Users Group (contact vaughanbug@gmail.com to get involved)

 

  • Energy and Housing
    • Consider simple energy conservation efforts at home, like switching to LED light bulbs or replacing your air conditioner with ceiling fans
    • Upgrade your household appliances to ENERGY STAR® rated models
    • Weather strip or caulk around your doors and windows
    • Invest in solar panels for your roof, feed renewable energy into the grid and enjoy the financial benefits of Ontario’s microFIT program
    • Join a local community energy co-operative such as Solar Share
    • Advocate for a renewable energy micro grid in your community

   

  • Food
    • Eat less meat to reduce the amount of arable land that is currently used as grazing grounds
    • Buy local, organic produce to reduce the distance your food has to travel from the field to your fork
    • Start a backyard composter to reduce food waste ending up in the landfills
    • Grow some of your own produce in your garden or participate in a community garden
    • Plant fruit-bearing trees and other plants that promote pollination – support the bees!

Learn more about the City of Vaughan’s climate change initiatives, partnerships and sustainability strategies by visiting www.vaughan.ca/environment.

Tracy Wright, MPhil Env.
Sustainability Co-ordinator
Environmental Sustainability Office

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