Have you ever left your home without your wallet and panicked? Do you regularly buy things you can’t afford?
I can say yes, to the above, and I bet so can most people reading this.
Producing goods and transporting them (usually from overseas to North America) uses large quantities of natural resources, produces air and water pollution, and creates emissions such as carbon dioxide – the major greenhouse gas leading to climate change. When these products become waste, they must be transported again, usually to landfills, requiring even more fuel.
Did you know:
- In a lifetime, the average North American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. The average Canadian produces 997 kilograms of waste (1 tonne!) per year.
- One third of Canadians say they buy gifts that they know they can’t afford. More than one quarter are financing their expenses with their credit cards or cashing in investments
- More than 140,000 tonnes of computer equipment, phones, televisions, stereos and small home appliances accumulate in Canadian landfill sites each year.
Now don’t despair. We can do something about unsustainable shopping habits while still occasionally indulging in the thrill of it. You can buy second hand, swap your stuff with a friend, borrow, or even try bartering for what you need.
This April 1, Earth Day Canada will be launching an action commitment campaign to encourage buying nothing new for one week or more. You can try this action, find helpful information to support your commitment, and get inspiration from others who are also up for the challenge.
Buying nothing new doesn’t mean going complete without. There are reasonable exceptions such as food, drink, medicine and other necessities. It would not be very cool to stop buying toilet paper, am I right?
Cheryl Gudz is the Environmental Action Manager at Earth Day Canada
Make a difference − share this environmental tip with your friends.