Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Diversion: becoming green

Although I was born and raised in Vancouver, surrounded by glorious wilderness, mountains, and water, I have never been deeply affected by environmental issues except the occasional head shake when driving by ugly clear-cut forests somewhere far away. In many ways, I have been the antithesis of a tree-hugging British Columbian, known to drive two blocks to class because it was raining and not recycling regularly until 2005. My awareness has certainly changed over time and the inciting event which prompted this shift was, surprisingly, pastry school. The focus on sustainability and local ingredients at school made me re-evaluate my own views and attitude about the environment. Who knew social change and global issues would be topics of discussion whilst creaming butter and piping profiteroles?

Nowadays, Eric and I are keenly aware of what we buy, consume, and discard. We joke that our vermicompost bin is actually just a home for our hundreds of pet worms. Public transit is a regular part of my life (as long as the bus actually arrives at the bus stop). After watching a provokative documentary about the negative environmental impact of plastic bags (click here to watch), we no longer use any plastic shopping bags and even switched to cornstarch derived BioBag garbage bags for our household waste, as suggested by the greenest friend I have, Katie, who works for Green Table Network. Occasionally when I do forget to bring my reusable shopping bag, I ask for a paper bag or cardboard box for bulkier items which can be easily recycled.

Being a recovering convenience junkie myself, I recognize that sometimes it's not easy being green. Most of the time, however, these little changes that we have made are completely painless and have no negative effect on our lifestyle whatsoever. There are no plans to start hugging trees in the near future, but perhaps, I will tiptoe through my tulips tomorrow.

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