For British Columbians, 2007 was an important year on the environmental front. Among other things, the provincial government has created new green building standards, increased funding for public transportation, and committed to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020) with a carbon trading program. B.C. government employees will also offset the carbon produced by work-related travel.
In the spirit of going green, Environment Minister Barry Penner released a list of 10 green resolutions for the people of B.C. for 2008. The 10 th resolution doesn’t apply to Whistler yet, but will in the near future when the municipality is able to offer composting.
1. Drive less. Make a point of using public transportation, walking, carpooling or biking to work or school at least once a week. If you must drive, consider grouping your errands into as few trips as possible.
2. If you’re buying a new car, consider switching to a newer, fuel-efficient model or — even better — to a hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle. You may even be eligible for provincial sales tax and motor fuel tax reductions.
3. Take advantage of modern technology at work: avoid excessive paper use (i.e. read documents on your computer screen whenever possible instead of printing them, and if you must use the printer, print on both sides of a sheet of paper), and stay clear from unnecessary traveling by using video-conferencing, web-conferencing, or conference calling whenever possible.
4. At home, caulk and weather strip doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to regulate temperature more efficiently.
5. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and, if possible, switch to Energy Star appliances, such as high-efficiency, front-loading washers and dryers.
6. Choose locally grown, organic foods. Organic growers rely little on fossil-fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers, and consuming local foods significantly reduces emissions associated with shipping.
7. Turn off the lights in empty rooms and, instead of leaving your computer and other appliances on “stand by”, turn them off completely at the end of the day or when they are not in use.
8. Reduce waste, reuse containers and “disposable” products (for example, wash and reuse plastic cutlery), and recycle.
9. Switch to a low-flow showerhead.
10. Compost kitchen waste.