Thursday, 5 December 2019

The Definitive Guide to Greening Your Holidays

By: Tyler Linwood

It's December and the holidays are officially upon us! The season means gift giving, parties, holiday decor, and lots and lots of food and drink – all of which takes its toll on the environment. But there are plenty of you can reduce green your holidays. Here are just a few ideas.

Small Steps

Don't put a bow on it – Try green gift wrapping alternatives or explore other ways to have a low-waste holiday season. Reusable items such as bags, jars, scarves, and even tea towels all make for decorative gift containers and wrappings that can either become part of the gift itself, or can be reused year after year.

Give green – There are plenty of eco-friendly options when it comes to deciding on what to get for your friends and loved ones this holiday season. It's always best to shop locally and support environmentally conscious businesses where possible and, thanks to the free Live Green Perks app, you can get exclusive deals and discounts for doing just that! If you're looking to get away from the culture of consumerism, but still want to get something special for your friends and family this year, experiences and excursions that you can share together make great gifts as well. Be sure to check out some of our favourite experience gifts that are part of the Perks program, including passes to the Ontario Science Centre, ROM, Segway Tours and more.

More great, green ideas after the jump...

Monday, 2 December 2019

The Final Report from Toronto's TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action is now available

By: Sarah Rodrigues

Earlier this year, the City created Toronto's TransformTO Reference Panel on Climate Action, composed of 30 Toronto residents representative of Toronto's diversity. Together they learned, deliberated and made recommendations for climate actions and priorities in Toronto. Their recommendations will help to inform the Implementation Plan from 2021-2023 for the City's Climate Action Strategy, TransformTO, which will be presented to Toronto City Council in spring 2020.

What is a Residents' Reference Panel?

Find out, and read about our Reference Panel's recommendations, after the jump...

Reduce, reuse and recycle right this holiday season

by: Ashalea Stone

'Tis the season for gift giving, holiday parties and spending time with family and friends. It’s also a time of year when people tend to produce more waste. As gift giving peaks, the City of Toronto is asking residents to be mindful of the waste they generate during the holiday season.  

Small changes to daily routines can make a big impact. Apply the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle right – and try to incorporate some of the following tips into your holidays. Also check the 2020 waste management calendar, coming soon to your mailbox.

  • Carry a reusable bag when shopping for holiday gifts and say no to excess tissue and packaging.
  • Consider low-waste gifts such as gift cards, tickets to an event, an experiential or service-based gift or give a charitable donation in a loved one's name.
  • Avoid single-use items such as cutlery, plates and cups when planning holiday parties.
Find out more after the jump...

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: Home Heating

By: Tyler Linwood

Editor's note: We wrap-up our Reducing Your Carbon Footprint series, inspired and informed by a report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Previous posts provide advice on reducing your carbon footprint due to our diet, daily travel choices, air travel, home energy, and waste.

Do you remember that ad where the protagonist looks wistfully at the snow outside then asks her smart home assistant to crank up the heat and play her summer playlist? Here's the challenge with the cultural norm that ad sets: home heating systems, and the energy they consume, account for a significant portion of the greenhouse gases that we emit.

In fact, according to Natural Resources Canada, approximately 60% of the energy required to run the average home goes towards space heating and, according to the former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario's office, natural gas is the most commonly used fuel for heating Ontario homes. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and although its combustion produces fewer emissions than the combustion of coal or oil, it's still a high-carbon fuel source that can contribute to air pollution, water pollution, and environmental degradation in significant ways.

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the amount of emissions that are generated by heating your home.

Find out what can YOU do about it after the jump.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: Home Energy

by: Tyler Linwood

Editor's note: We continue our Reducing Your Carbon Footprint series, inspired and informed by a report from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. Previous posts provide advice on reducing your carbon footprint due to our daily travel choices, air travel, and waste.

One of the best things about living in Ontario is that we already have a low-carbon electrical grid. The majority of Ontario's electricity comes from renewable sources, such as hydroelectricity or wind energy, and nuclear power. That said, energy use in our homes still accounts for a quarter of Toronto's overall emissions that cause climate change (greenhouse gases or GHGs).

The biggest factor in determining the greenhouse gas emissions from our homes is the time at which we're using energy. During peak demand times our increased demand for energy is met by firing up natural gas plants, which emit 10 times more GHGs than normal. These peak demand times occur in the late afternoon/early evening on weekdays, and more frequently on very hot or cold days.

Demand for electricity in Ontario is also likely to continue to grow due to our rising population and the adoption of new technologies that consume more electricity, such as electric vehicles. If this new demand isn't able to be met by our low-carbon means of energy production, it may mean peak demand times will occur more frequently, and energy production methods that result in more emissions will have to be used.

What can YOU do about it? Find out, after the jump.