Earth Day –Changing our Habits One Step at a Time

April 22, 2019

Earth Day

We all share a responsibility to protect and care for our environment. Increasing carbon emissions and pollution are some of the most critical issues we are grappling with and must face with a greater sense of urgency. We owe it to ourselves, to future generations and to other species we share this world with.

This year Earth Day theme is “protecting our species” to encourage a reflection around the dangers threatening the natural order and consequently threatening a number of plant and animal species. 

Extinction might seem hard to imagine in the Canadian context, but we are not spared. Many plants and animals in Canada face the risk of extinction, in part because of our behavior.

Addressing all those critical environmental issues can seem daunting and beyond our control, but there are small actions we can take to make a big difference. In 2018, CAPE members voted in favor of a resolution to recognize the impacts of climate change and pollution, and the need to take action through government operations.

Today, we are seizing the opportunity to encourage our members to adopt five simple habits in the workplace (and beyond) that can help protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint:

1- Recycle: Make a conscious effort to properly dispose of your waste and encourage your coworkers to do the same. If you think the workplace does not offer you adequate options, advocate for a better waste management policy.

2- Go paperless: Digitize andtry avoiding printing paper whenever possible. If you must print, do it on both sides of the paper.

3- Give up plastic and styrofoam: According to an article by the Canadian Geographic, Canadians use between 1.6 and 2 billion disposable coffee cups a year. To counter all this waste, opt instead for reusable cups, plates and utensils. You should also consider bringing your own utensils when eating at food courts. Say no to plastic bags.

4- Save energy: To reduce power consumption, enable the sleep mode and power saver features on your computers and other equipment when they are not in use.

5- Use public transportation or carpool: Chose environment friendly modes of transportation to and from the office.  Carpool, take the bus, or better yet bike or walk. Not only is it good for the environment but it's also good for your health!

As for CAPE, we are also doing our part and working towards a more environmentally friendly office. On March 29, the National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to abolish the use of plastic plates and utensils at their meetings. A small but important step in the right direction! Additionally, we are moving towards having paperless NEC meetings through increased use of electronic documents and taking steps to increase the use of video conferencing to decrease travel and thus mitigate the impact on pollution.

Although these isolated gestures may seem insignificant, collectively, they can have an impact. Let’s work together towards a healthier planet. 

Greg Phillips
President