A new year brings a feeling of renewal, freshness and willingness towards change. As we said goodbye to 2019, we all had hopes for better times ahead. Although, it seems as if there has been a lot of doom and gloom in the news – especially on the climate front.
Climate change isn’t a local or national issue; it is a global emergency and it’s hard not to feel helpless with all the bad news we are constantly receiving. We look within ourselves – and there is a sense of bewilderment; where do we even begin in this mess? It is an overwhelming feeling and children will pick up on our anxieties surrounding these issues too. So, we want to nip this in the bud to create a more harmonious and thoughtful life.
Psychologists have indicated that if you feel like you are making a difference whether it’s through donating money, volunteer work, or making small changes to your daily life, that will create positive emotions (p.s. how fitting is this considering today is Blue Monday?).
So, where does this leave us?
We should take the reins and make decisions that are impactful for ourselves, our families, and the world around us. Let’s set an example for our kids and create a new precedent for MSK going into 2020. Meaningful adjustments around the school will allow us to do the best we can with what we have. Let’s make a difference and feel good about it too — without completely turning your world upside down.
Below, we outline how we are making a difference at MSK which you can continue at home as well. These small yet mighty adjustments will be impactful if we work together; amplifying their effect within our community and beyond.
MSK’s Green Actions Items
- We want to make our Civvies Day donations meaningful and students should see how they are directly making an impact. As you know, on February 13, we are having a Civvies Day which will be in Australia’s honour. All money raised will be directly shared with the World Wildlife Fund’s emergency relief for Australia. Images of the devastation caused by brushfires in Australia is heartbreaking. Although this crisis is on the other side of the world, we can still help those on the front line defending these precious ecosystems and wildlife.
- Did you know single-use plastics such as water bottles and straws make up the majority of waste? The Canadian government is working towards a ban on single-use plastics, and so is MSK! You may have noticed that we have asked you to send a reusable canvas bag to house wet/ soiled items instead of plastic shopping bags. This is just one small change that will have a huge impact. Moving forward, items that create plastic waste will be banned at MSK. Reusable water bottles, straws and cutlery will continue to be welcomed.
- We have a magnificent campus and that gives us the luxury of having lots of open spaces to utilize the land. One of those ways is our ability to have a compost to minimize the amount of waste we put into the landfill. You can also have a compost in your backyard as many major retailers sell them – exhibit A, B and C. And, in the spring, we are going to create herb and vegetable gardens for our school community to utilize and love.
- No more idling in the roundabout. Enough said! We have little lungs at play that have the right to clean, fresh air. Did you also know that you can be fined as per York Region by-law for idling for more than five minutes?
- On February 5, it is the annual Sweater Day. We are joining organizations across the world to turn down the thermostat by 1.5 degrees to reduce energy consumption in support of climate change initiatives. Students will be encouraged to wear a sweater that day at school. Pending the day’s success, this may be one of many “sweater days” at MSK.
- And same goes for when the weather heats up, we will be starting off by opening windows in warm weather rather than automatically default to air conditioning.
- Over the last year, MSK has completely changed over our lighting to LED lights to reduce energy consumption. Did you know that by switching your lights at home to LED, you may only have to replace the bulb once every TWENTY-TWO (YES 22!) YEARS? (Bonus? Save money too!).
- You may have noticed that we have significantly reduced our paper usage at MSK. Most forms and important communication can be found on the Parent Portal. Click, review and save as needed. Plus, who likes having random sheets of paper scattered amongst their home?
- Textile waste is a HUGE issue. Did you know that the average family contributes over 37 lbs of used clothing and other textiles to our landfills? Coming to school in uniform not only helps us identify our student population, but it also works to reduce waste. Uniform items can be passed down to other children, you can use the same item repeatedly with washing, no “back to school” shopping sprees, and not giving into trend-bait items are just some of the ways wearing a uniform combats this issue.
- We should all get in the habit of eating locally sourced food. Sticking to veggies and fruits that are in season and from local farms does a whirlwind for carbon footprints. Check out a farmer’s market and buy what’s in season. It doesn’t have to always be organic, but get familiar with the dirty dozen and clean fifteen to help keep you healthy and your grocery bill down. Our caterer, Wholesome Kids Catering does this too as they have committed to source their produce from Canadian farms.