Monday, April 13, 2009


It seems we all fall victim to trends.  No matter how much we may try to ‘go against the grain’ or stand apart from the crowd, we all inevitably fall into stride with those around us, if even just for a few steps.  From big hair to skinny jeans, and even that whole “pirate” craze that went around a few years ago, we all follow trends.  Sometimes, though, they’re not as bad as they seem.

Take the latest “Eco-chic” trend, for instance.  For the past few years it’s been “cool” to be environmentally friendly and let everyone know just how with-it you are.  It started with recycling all those years ago (I like to think blue bins with slogans like “Kanata Recycles” are bragging a bit), gained momentum with An Inconvenient Truth and those stupid $300 purses that say “I am not a plastic bag”, and now everyone is doing their part with travel mugs, stainless steel water containers, canvas shopping bags and some people even compost.  Green is the new Black. 

With everyone following these Green trends and with the general public learning more and more about their impact on the environment, big companies have started to follow suit.  Coffee shops give you a 10 cent discount when you bring a reusable mug, grocery stores have gotten rid of plastic bags, the city has installed more recycling bins and allows you to recycle styrofoam, and some restaurants even have ‘organic waste’ bins for foodstuffs.  It seems that, unlike those stupid skinny jeans, this is one trend that is going to be around for a while.  It’s a good thing. 

It’s hard to be green all the time, though.  I know that I can’t go out and spend hundreds of dollars on buying some organic sustainable grain-fed t-shirt (that’s what they sell in brand- name stores, right?).  And I can’t even fathom buying organic at grocery stores…I mean, who wants to pay $5 for a head of lettuce?! (unless you live in Melbourne, where that’s the norm.)  There are better things I could be doing for the environment that are a lot cheaper.  Things like:

     -     Using a Brita water filter instead of drinking bottled water.  Not only am I reducing the waste              going out to landrills and recycling centres, but think of the fuel and oil I'm saving both in                      transportation and manufacturing costs.  Did you know that to make one plastic 1L bottle of              water takes about 1/4 of that bottle filled with oil? 

-         Cut down on my meat or go totally veg again.  The amount of water and grains used for factory farms is astounding and disgusting. 

-         Buy organic vegetables NOT from the store!  There are plenty of “MyMarkets” in Toronto; these MyMarkets are markets where the farmer sells you his/her produce directly…not through another party.  It means more money for the farmers and fresher, more delicious veggies for me.  If you live in The Annex, check out the market in the Borden St. Parking lot (behind Dooney’s) starting up in May/June.

-         Using my travel mug when I grab my 3pm double-double.

-         Stop using Ziploc bags.  I know it’s hard and sometimes you can’t escape it…but reusable containers come in all shapes and sizes.

There are plenty more things that I could do for the environment and plenty more things that I already do.  I am a proud follower of the Green movement and know that what I do makes a difference, no matter how small.  If we all take these small steps and make these small changes, even if it’s just half the time ( like using your travel mug every other day or keeping just one day a week vegetarian), eventually we’ll see a difference being made.  Jump on the trend and be proud to march in step.

 …just don’t fall for the organic grain-fed wedding gowns. 

What are some of the ways you help the environment?  Share your ideas or thoughts in the comments!

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