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Evergreen’s New Year’s Resolutions: 6 Ways to Make 2022 More Sustainable and Enjoyable

Evergreen's tips for how to kickstart your 2022 with a committment to sustainability.

Winter camp 2021
Top image caption: Winter Camp at Evergreen Brick Works

Published on January 10, 2022

With all the change and transformation that the last couple years brought us, it seems like 2022 is perfect year to make New Year’s Resolutions that will positively affect our planet and ourselves. If we each make small, simple changes, they all add up to make a big difference. 

Are you looking for ways to minimize your impact on the environment but aren’t sure where to start? Here are 6 ideas for sustainable New Year’s Resolutions!   

 1. Shop local 

One of the best ways that you can reduce your environmental footprint, is to shop from local businesses wherever possible. Aim to buy sustainably sourced, high quality, ethically produced, long-lasting, and local products. This not only benefits the environment but also the local economy, as it helps to create jobs for your friends and neighbours.  

Also consider purchasing local food whenever possible, as it reduces the distance that the food travels to reach you, which is also known as its “food miles”. The bigger the distance that the food travels, the more fossil fuels burned, resulting in increased greenhouse gases emissions being released into the atmosphere. If you are located in the GTA, the Saturday Farmers Market at the Brick Works is a great place to shop for a variety of local and seasonal food.  

 

2. Get outdoors  

Ensuring that you get your daily dose of physical activity is important for both your mental and physical health. Although it might be a bit chilly during the beginning of the year in Canada, there are many fun outdoor winter activties to be had. Here are some ideas: 

  1. Build a snowman or snowfort. 
  2. Take a winter hike or simply go for a walk in your local park.  
  3. Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt. 
  4. Enjoy tubing and toboganning.  
  5. Look for the animals that stick around throughout the winter. Here are four furry friends that you’ll find in the Don Valley.  
  6. Keep a nature journal and try to identify winter plant species.  

Children climbing hill in snow at Evergreen Brick Works

3. Reduce waste 

Here are some of the ways that you can aim to reduce the amount of waste that you produce:   

  1. Use reusable grocery bags – Most single use grocery bags are made out from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which are two of the most common types of plastics that end up in landfills. Using a reusable grocery bag reduces the amount of these bags that end up getting thrown out and it can also save you a few cents each grocery trip.  
  2. Avoid single use bottles, containers, and utensils – Avoid using single use products whenever possible as they are disposed of after we only use them one time. 
  3. Learn how to recycle correctly – It is important to understand which items can and can’t be recycled where you live, so as not to contaminate the recycling stream. Contamination is costly and time-consuming for recycling facilities, as the contaminated items must be sorted.
  4. Compost – Composting food items such as eggshells, coffee grounds, and banana peels benefits the environment as it recycles organic resources and conserves landfill space.  
  5. Donate unused items – If you are no longer using a particular item, consider donating it to a charity shop or a friend that would give the item a second life.  

Reusable Bag

4. Find fun things to do that have a low impact on the environment  

Here are a few ideas of fun and safe activities to be had during the winter months: 

  1. Explore public art – Visiting public art spots is a great physical distancing activity to do. If you’re located in Toronto, check out this Public Art Map or head over to the Brick Works to explore the public art that we have on display.  
  2. Go cycling – Biking is one of the best ways to explore your own backyard while getting exercise. Consider fat biking if there is snow on the ground.  
  3. Enjoy in-person events – A few of the events happening in the GTA are: Skate on the Square in Mississauga, Public Skating at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, and Winterlit – An Illuminated Walk in the Woods in Campbellville.   
  4. Listen to a quarantine concert – A couple concerts that are coming up that you can watch online are the Wavelength Winter Festival and Canadian Music Week.  

Skating at the Brick Works

5. Conserve energy 

According to the Government of Canada, in 2019, the Energy sector emitted 589 Mt or 81% of Canada's total GHG emission. This is due to Canada’s extreme temperatures, large amount of land, and dispersed population. If you haven’t already, consider purchasing solar panels for your roof and using other forms of renewable energy.  

Another small change that you can make is ensuring that all the lights in your home are switched off when not in use. If each of us makes even the smallest of changes, it can drastically decrease our overall energy consumption while saving money.  

Light switch

6. Use eco-friendly cleaning products 

Many cleaning products contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment such as chlorine, phosphates, and nitrates. By using eco-friendly cleaning products, you help to lessen the negative impact that these products on the planet, which reduces your environmental footprint. A few great eco-friendly cleaning products are Attitude Living, Nature Clean, and Biovert.  

Cleaning products

Making a donation to environmental organizations such as Evergreen, is also a great way that you can help to solve some of the world's most pressing environmental issues such as climate change and access to nature.