Earth Day in Georgian Bay
Canadians have been participating in Earth Day since 1990. Here in the Southern Georgian Bay area we are making a difference and becoming leaders in environmental initiatives. Many people, businesses, and municipalities are supportive all year long, and we have seen extremely positive changes.
Here are just a few to be recognized:
Nearly every school child in Canada takes part in Earth Day activities. In Collingwood, Cameron Street Public School has been recognized for environmental stewardship and has received many different awards over the years. Cameron Street P. S, Connaught P. S., and Pretty River Academy, are also participating in the “Boomerang program” which encourages a litterless lunch, and all garbage that is sent with a child to school goes back home.
Schools also participate in Active and Safe Routes to School; a program where ‘Walking Wednesdays’ are a way of life as well as encouraging active living and environmental conservation. Walking to school lessens C02 emissions, statistically reduces traffic injuries in children by 85 per cent and promotes good health in our youngsters.
In 2011, Simcoe County introduced the green bin program to help divert waste from their landfills. This pro-gram should divert 177 kgs. of organics per household annually!
Wherever possible, people should continue to compost vegetable and fruit scraps in their backyards to save energy and emissions in the transportation of organics. Even apartment dwellers, the elderly or disabled can enjoy the benefits of vermi-composting (worm composting) inside their own homes. Both backyard and vermicomposting are convenient and produce nutrient-rich soil for gardens and plants.
Local and organic foods and vegetarian dishes are now more readily available in stores and restaurants. Niagara Escarpment Organics (NEO) was established in 2004 and has been selling their produce outside of The Health Mart on Hurontario Street.
In terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a municipal level, bio-diesel buses in Collingwood are a part of everyday living for many people. Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic renewable resources and contains no petroleum.
Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and The Blue Mountains all have policy or legislation in place for pesticide use and unnecessary idling–both of which contribute to air quality and carbon impacts.
Local governments are doing their best to combat climate change, smog and unnecessary degradation of our natural spaces, water supply, native species, and of course, human health.
There are a variety of not profit organizations working on environmental issues in the area. The Blue Mountain Water-shed Trust Foundation, formed in 1984, has actively protected local wetlands and have planted over 260,000 trees from 1995-1999.
Trails in the Southern Georgian Bay area have expanded exponentially over the past 10 years. Michele Rich of The Environment Network said, “Trail creation and use reduces our dependency on the automobile and ultimately, the impact on air quality.”The Collingwood Trails Network promotes community opportunities for an active and healthy lifestyle, including providing alternate transportation routes. Wasaga Beach has completed an Active Transportation Plan and Collingwood is also on board to incorporate active transportation in their development and planning future.
As global warming and environmental concerns pose a threat to the Earth, progress in terms of initiatives and action are taking place throughout the world. People and times change, but now is the time to take a look at the whole picture, and as Earth Day approaches, it is important to recognize those who are making a difference. And for an active environmentalist such as myself, I am proud to Celebrate Earth Day, everyday!!
Freelance Writer, Melanie Vollick