The GREEN Life

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

It’s been close to 4 months since I left home to embark on my six month national youth volunteer adventure. I had just graduated high school and wanted something to do. Traveling to three different parts of Canada with 10 other young people, totally appealed. With the program focus being Eco-Citizenship and Active Living, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Having to create environmental contracts and having our work placements center around “green” organizations, I knew I’d be a changed woman. As a group, we made all sorts of decisions in hopes of making ourselves more environmentally savvy. We would buy local produce whenever possible, take shorter showers, start a vegetable garden and follow the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” philosophy when using the bathroom. We recycle everything and about half of our fridge is filled with leftovers. Our house came fully equipped with enough bikes for everyone so there’s really no excuse for us needing a drive somewhere. No one dare step outside without a travel mug and if anyone returns home with a plastic bag, they get the evil eye from everyone. As a collective, we’re able to make change because we have the encouragement and support from everyone. I think being on the program has made us all realize that it’s actually very easy to make small, everyday changes.

When we’re not bumming around town or arguing over whose turn it is for dishes, we’re all at work placements scattered around the city. We have someone at an eco-wellness center out in Carp. We have others working at the YMCA, the Otesha Project, Ecology Ottawa as well as the Experimental Agricultural Farm. All the work placements have a “green” focus which has resulted in all of us getting that big push to think more ecologically. I’m here at the University of Ottawa working with the Sustainable Development department. When I see such initiatives like the Dump and Run or the water-bottle free ban, it keeps me inspired to continue on down a green path. It’s really awesome to be in an atmosphere where you’re surrounded by wonderful people who are working towards a truly amazing goal. It’s also super reassuring to know that there are people out there, all working together towards a better world.

-leah

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