Tired of hearing about climate change and how it’s going to destroy the world as we know it? Well, try doing some of the following and let’s put a halt to climate change and all that bad news. These New Year’s resolutions have nothing to do with losing weight, and everything to do with the health and wellbeing of us all. The following are 12 actions experts recommend each of us can do to prevent further climate change:
- Measure Up: There’s some truth to the saying “What gets measured gets managed,” and quantification has become something of a cultural obsession. Oroeco, an app available on both Android and iOS, takes that zeal and applies it to tracking personal carbon emissions. Oroeco helps quantify the carbon emissions associated with purchases, investments, dietary choices and preferred modes of transport. It allows users to set goals, track performance and even compare their performance with friends.
- Reduce Consumption: Reuse everything possible, fix and repair items, recycle those items that can’t be used again.
- Conduct an Energy Efficiency Audit and develop an improvement plan: Weatherizing, using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs, and unplugging devices top the list for reducing your energy usage.
- Consider Solar: Take advantage of government programs or join a Solar Power Club to add the power of solar energy to your home or business. Whether it’s a solar heater to complement your regular water tank, or a solar panel to generate electricity, or simply using passive solar energy to heat your home, it will all help to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.
- Switch Diets: By switching to a diet full of nuts, beans, fish and less meat, global warming could be reduced by up to 15 percent by 2050. By eating fish instead of steak, you’ll produce an eight-fold reduction in emissions, and switching to beans or lentils drops your footprint to almost zero.
- Waste Not: Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. We can help slash emissions by simply wasting less food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a third of the food produced worldwide never gets eaten. North American consumers and restaurants are some of the worst — throwing away almost 40 percent of the food they purchase.
- Compost: Whether you have a backyard bin, vermiculture (worm) bin, or utilize curbside pickup, composting benefits the environment. Food scraps and yard waste are typically about 30% of the waste going to landfills and incinerators. There is a two-fold climate benefit to composting by reducing the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere.
- Install a Rain Garden: Climate change means more dramatic weather events, including flooding. Rain gardens are beautiful additions to any size yard and will relieve burdens on municipal water treatment systems, filter runoff pollutants, and protect local waterways.
- Plant a Tree: All residential communities should adopt the goal of 60% tree cover. Trees will clean the air, capture carbon and provide habitat and food for native wildlife.
- Use Transit: The transportation sector contributes over 1/3 of our carbon emissions. Use alternative transportation, such as biking, walking, taking the bus, and carpooling. Or, go electric. By committing to walk or bicycle distances under 1 km, about roughly 20% of car trips, you will eliminate 611 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. That’s the equivalent of the weight of a football or a can of soup.
- Step it up: Talk to people about the unraveling Arctic, extreme weather, rising temperatures and oceans, and all the rest that adds up to climate change. Challenge people who still think it’s nothing more than another of nature’s phases, but be respectful when presenting the facts.
- Get Civically Involved: Find and join a local climate change or conservation group. Phone and email your government representatives. Ask questions of store managers when making purchases.
Without doubt, 2018 has been a building year for Blue Fish Canada. Thanks to your donations and a series of grants, we pushed well past the $10,000 mark for the first-time revenues since incorporating as a non-profit and registering as a national charity. A 100% reliance on volunteers means all fund projects including Urban Fishing Nodes, Fishing Tackle Recyclers, Fish Stewardship and Citizen Science, Shoreline Clean-Up, and Fish health. Blue Fish Canada 2018 highlights follow:
Outreach: With support from the Canadian National Sportsman Show Services, Master Promotions Ltd. and Cabela’s, BFC volunteers were able to stage strong exhibits over 13 days at five events, including a 20’X40’ Kids Casting Zone featured on CTV morning news:
Partners in Conservation: Blue Fish Canada established partnerships with a number of fishing tournament organizations, such as the Ontario B.A.S.S. Nation and B1 Fishing, to promote conservation and fish stewardship. Partner members are provided with science-based guidelines on sustainable tournament fishing and a Shoreline Clean-Up Kit. A Fishing Tackle Recycler is provided to each organization to collect expired fishing gear.
Fishing Tackle Recyclers: BFC volunteers installed 18 “Fishing Tackle Recyclers” at boat launches and popular shore fishing locations throughout eastern Ontario. The collection stations were welcomed by Local municipal officials. The Recyclers collect lead jigs and weights, old fishing line and soft plastic baits, hooks and even plastic straws.
Urban Fishing Nodes: With support from the Ottawa Community Foundation, BFC is working with Ottawa’s city and National Capital planning officials and stakeholders to establish urban fishing nodes. The nodes will provide urban youth with safe and accessible naturalized spaces to fish along the Rideau and Ottawa rivers. Natural features will also extend into the water to provide fish habitat. Drawing on lessons learned from this project, a guide will be produced to inform and inspire other Canadian cities to create their own fishing nodes.
Fish Stewardship and Citizen Science: Thanks to a grant from Scotia Trust, the look-and-feel of our educational materials are inspiring and informing even more youth and those new to fishing. Modules include catch & release, selective harvesting, citizen science, invasive species prevention, fishing tournament best practices, fish identification, and training and certification.
Shoreline Clean-Up: Blue Fish Canada distributes over 3,000 free shoreline clean-up kits each year to youth and anglers of all ages. Each kit comes in a biodegradable wrapper and includes protective gloves and a waste collection bag.
Fish Health: BFC’s partnerships with fish health researchers facilitate the engagement of anglers interested in supporting fish health research, conducting citizen science and sharing local knowledge. BFC continues to be on the look-out for a suitable smartphone app.
What Lies Below: 79-minute feature documentary showcasing fish conservation now airing on CBC and AMI television;
Blue Fish Radio: 25-minute podcasts broadcast and downloaded weekly to over 100,000 listeners;
Lawrence’s Insights: bi-weekly 15-minute TV broadcast across Canada over basic cable and the internet.
Social Media: @BlueFishnews Tweets and the Blue Fish Canada Facebook page are up-dated weekly;
Outdoor Canada: promotes/ publishes Blue Fish Radio episodes and articles; and,
Lake2Plate: videos that generate ever-stronger interest in sustainable fish harvesting
Leadership: As the Founder and president of BFC, and Canada’s only blind outdoor writer, podcaster, TV host and film maker, I’m continuously monitoring science and local news, and engaging with relevant stakeholders, to track and promote Canada’s water quality, fish health and recreational fishing. This includes attending and presenting at scientific conferences, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration certification through their Marine Recreation Education Program – the first Canadian to be certified.
Conclusion: Blue Fish Canada is strengthening and expanding programs to ensure youth and anglers of all ages have the skills and motivation to advocate for sustainable fishing and watershed conservation. It’s essential given the rapid change marine and aquatic ecosystems are experiencing and underscores the need to work hand-in-hand with research and angling communities to develop and implement sound fish stock and watershed management programs and policies. Action now is crucial to ensure the future of Canada’s water quality, fish health and the future of recreational fishing.
Support: Please support Blue Fish Canada to inspire and inform the next generation of conservation-minded outdoor enthusiasts by making a tax-deductible donation by visiting: https://bluefishcanada.ca/donations/