Pictou-Advocate-opinion

New Year resolutions and us

Opinion

To the Editor:

Doing your bit for the environment while helping yourself — surely this must be the first New Year’s Resolution on everybody’s list for 2018.

We’ve all seen the horrifying images — whale bellies filled with bottles and bags, islands of garbage stretching for miles. Turtles tangled and drowned. But, we are just one person, so what can we do to alleviate this awful situation? Our oceans are becoming so polluted that soon we will have more plastic in the ocean than wildlife. Then there are the pollutants in the ocean, put there by industrial run-off and by our own residential pollutants from medicine disposed of into the toilet to the 350 thousand tons of laundry detergent that flows into the water system every year.

But, this letter is about what we can do, those New Year’s resolutions, well we have a couple of ideas:

Firstly, we can avoid one-time use plastic; this is the plastic that we use one time and then dispose of — just think, if people all over the world are drinking a bottle of water or pop and then disposing of it, we will end up with a lot of empty bottles. So next time, fill your own container and use that to drink from during your day. Avoid all plastic for carrying, whether it is plastic grocery bags, the plastic strips that keep cans of beer together (and damage animals such as birds to turtles). Also to be avoided are one-use plastic cleaning and detergent bottles.

Secondly, we can check out our cleaning products; are they toxic for the environment? Is it necessary to have all your floors disinfected at the cost of life for our wildlife, can we change to using water, vinegar, baking soda and other varieties of non-toxic products? If we think about it, products that are toxic for oceans and wildlife are probably toxic for us too, so let’s make a resolution to seek out other options for ourselves and our families.

Thirdly, we can develop the habit of asking ourselves the question: ‘Will this action reduce my environmental footprint?’ this would seem to be a universal responsibility when we consider the trajectory of our environmental problems, it goes with the other side of the coin question ‘How can I support environmental sustainability?’ We all have ‘stuff’ we don’t need, could manage well without, ‘stuff’ that in its production has perhaps compromised some aspect of the environmental balance we are trying to achieve. When we keep one ear to the environment we seem to end up needing less, sharing more and spend less time and money on our belongings.

We have had our relationships with water systems, from ground water to oceans, for a long time and will need this in the foreseeable future. The sound, smell, taste and feel of the ocean, the pristine lakes and then there is the water that comes out of the tap, all need our attention, protection and consideration.

We have choices to avoid polluting our water systems, so let’s make the right choices for sustainability.

When it comes to one-use plastic and detergent pollution, we can check out a new to Canada product, the EcoEgg from U.K. The British have been using it successfully for 10 years. It is an egg full of mineral pellets that you throw in the washing machine each time you do laundry; it washes, it keeps colours bright, it does not damage fabrics, because it contains no toxic chemicals. In addition, there are no plastic bottles to carry only to be found later in the stomachs of ocean wildlife, no fabric softener required. It is supported by the Allergy Society of the U.K, has The Queen’s Award for innovation and is a win/win laundry option for your family and the environment. At $40 for 720 washes, this non-toxic laundry egg is one of many great ideas for the environment and your family. It can be checked out at www.pcrsolutions.ca or by emailing to pcrsolutions@rogers.com.

Maybe other readers can direct us to other products that do a good job without making our world more toxic? So share your ideas with us

Our New Year’s resolutions do not need to impose a whole change in lifestyle; let’s just go one step at a time for the sake of the Earth, our communities and ourselves.

Irene O’Toole

Waterloo, ON

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