Cold challenges environmentally friendly living

Freezing my butt off while clearing the snow from my car, after having slipped on solid ice, it’s difficult for me to believe global warming is really affecting us Canadians.

Of course I know it is, but mid-February, in the worst winter we’ve had in years, well, it’s just hard to imagine the polar bears are losing their icebergs. They can have all the hard stuff piled high along my street.

I admit I falter now and again in my environmental efforts: I just can’t bear to put my babies in a freezing cold car when I can warm it up for a few minutes while I shovel the drive. And though I had good intentions at the beginning of the season, my bucket of environmentally friendly salt-free salt has already been depleted and I need something to cut through this ice so we don’t all slip and hurt ourselves. Don’t even get me started on the electricity: From lights on constantly, to heating this uninsulated house, to taking warm baths, and cooking hot meals, I know I’m not helping our planet at this particular moment.


I’m not happy about it — just not certain where to make changes that won’t be difficult on my young family. So I try to make it up in other ways. For example, I saw a woman slip and fall hard on the ice while driving my son to school. We immediately drove around the corner to see if she needed our help. Though she was too embarrassed to accept, I felt good that I’d taught my son concern for other people’s welfare — even strangers.

And my husband reminds me that at this time of year, when many streets are barely wide enough for one car, nothing is that urgent that we shouldn’t let another car drive up the street before we attempt to make it down.

Though global warming mainly refers to our sustainable planet and the negative effects that humans have had on our environment, the message that anyone with a conscience is trying to get across is this: Be aware of the mark you’re making on this planet, and figure out how to better the Earth while visiting to keep it beautiful, healthy, and magical for future generations.

Earth Day Canada has a Top 10 list for helping the environment. While recently I’ve failed miserably at No. 1 (not using my car), and am remiss on No. 6 (not idling my car for more than 10 seconds) and No. 7 (adjusting my thermostat to below room temp), I’m always great at No. 3 (not eating meat) and No. 4 (buying and eating organically). I also use my green bin religiously (No. 5) and recycle anything and everything (No. 9).

And though I’m doing my bit by telling others (No. 10), it’s still the coldest winter in 15 years and I’m sure most of us are just trying desperately to stay warm.

Lisi Tesher is a freelance writer and photographer living in Toronto with her husband and two children. She cares passionately about social injustices, children’s health and education, and diversity.

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