By Sue Carson
The beginning of 2020 was probably the worst time for us to make environmental resolutions. Climate Justice Niagara’s hope of encouraging people to use less plastics was dashed when COVID-19 appeared. Plastic consumption increased as we heeded health concerns during a pandemic. Motivating people to combat climate change needs us to take the same drastic actions.
A member of Environment Hamilton once told me that there are three ways individuals can make a difference: Buy Less, Fly Less and Eat Less Meat. Looking at these three in the context of COVID might be the way to shape and change our behaviours. Shopping, travel, and food have all had to be re-examined during COVID.
While local shops are in shutdown, Amazon has had increased profits; but each purchase involves transporting goods by air, excess packaging, and truck delivery to your door. This doesn’t even address the way that Amazon employees are treated, Nor the fact that the company, as investigated by the CBC’s Marketplace, often treats returned items as trash; it is cheaper for them to dump unwanted goods rather than trying to restock and resell them.
The first two shopping questions to ask, “Is this an essential item?”; and “can I purchase it locally?” Shopping close to home keeps money in the local economy. Thirdly, “Could I repair something?” just as James and John were seen “overhauling their nets”. (Matthew 4: 22).
There is no doubt that we have all been forced to fly less in 2020. This has resulted in clearer skies and less pollution. While taking a holiday in the sun is something many have come to expect, it was possible to have staycations instead. We did survive!
Could you fly and drive less? Maybe take one longer holiday rather than numerous short trips. This might be the hardest resolution to make but could you consider taking virtual tours instead. Or take time to just walk close to home and reflect like the prodigal son, “so he set out for his father’s house”. (Luke 15:20).
When we were scared to visit grocery stores, food shopping became of upmost importance. Many people turned to baking their own bread and growing their own vegetables. There were concerns whether there would be enough food to go around. We became so appreciative of those that grow, sell or in any way ensure that grocery stores are stocked.
This year think about keeping your food purchases as local as possible. Visit farmers’ markets in your area during the summer. Pick your own fruit then freeze or bottle for winter consumption. This will be healthier for you and reduce all those plastic clam shells that get trucked here from the States. Could Meatless Mondays become a habit in your house? Be creative in the kitchen. God will ensure there will be food enough “when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna fell with it.” (Numbers 11:9).
Climate Justice Niagara challenges everyone to look at these three areas and consider implementing some 2021 resolutions for a cleaner world. If COVID-19 taught us anything it is that scientists are the ones to listen to and not the politicians. We have been advised by the International Panel for Climate Change that the years are ticking by. Strong actions need to be taken to ensure that increasing numbers of drastic climatic events are not the beginning of the end of the world we know.
May your 2021 resolutions create a better planet.