This Canada Day, let us all take this pledge-
“As I experience each day of this very trying time, I will do my best to maintain the respect and understanding each and every human deserves. That does not mean I will agree or disagree with them, but I will do my best to recognize that what I see in them is an aspect of myself.”
Canada Day is approaching quicker than the blink of an eye. Considering the pandemic, the country’s 153 rd birthday will be celebrated differently compared to previous years. Instead of public gatherings and stage performances, the government is now working towards moving events online. Canadian Heritage Minister Stephen Guilbeault decided to create a virtual concert with fellow Canadian musicians for a nation-wide celebration. In addition, municipal and provincial governments will also plan and host their own virtual events for local residents.
Regardless of the restrictions, we can still enjoy the special day with our families and friends. The national event will be held on social media and highlight the key aspects of Canadian history, values, talent, and creativity. A plethora of artists will participate and reveal their efforts to the community throughout the show. According to Ottawa Citizen, world-class musicians Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, and Sarah McLachlan are scheduled to perform in the evening on July 1st. Other than concert performances, some imperative topics such as the impact of cultural diversity, the sacrifice of frontline responders, and the future of sports
excellence will also be addressed.
Since Canada Day celebrations will be hosted virtually, we can hope that the waste generated during such public events will be somewhat eliminated. In 2015, CBC News reported that Pasadena beach in Newfoundland and Labrador was littered with empty beer bottles after Canada Day events. The mayor of the small town, Otto Goudling, told reporters that he was “embarrassed by the state of the beach after the holiday celebrations.” Similar situations, unfortunately, reoccur every year in metropolitan areas and towns after the annual celebration.
According to Tudge, Canadians double their waste output during the holiday season. Calculations indicate that municipal waste levels reach over 1420 kilograms on average. The result is disastrous to not only taxpayers but to the environment as well. For example, Environmental Defense Canada reports that less than 11% of plastic bottles are recycled, resulting in the other 89% to end up in landfills, lakes, parks, and oceans.
However, participating in virtual events does not imply that Canadians are lowering their waste output for the holiday season. Although many individuals will not be celebrating Canada Day outdoors, knowing the importance of recycling and being aware of the ongoing food waste situation is vital for the environment. Sustainability can only be achieved when consumers take the initiative to address the situations.
When celebrating an indoor Canada Day event with relatives and friends, be mindful of purchasing and preparing meals. According to Waste Reduction Week, food waste in Canada creates approximately 56.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. These emissions can only be minimized when consumers start to plan meals and learn correct food storage methods.
Before hoarding groceries to prepare holiday cuisines, try to ask: “What do I need?” Look in the fridge and check the other usual places for food storage. If new ingredients are required, proceed to make a shopping list, and purchase the required products in small quantities. This method will help to reduce food waste in terms of lessening product expiration and decreasing unnecessary food storage.
Another situation among consumers is the lack of knowledge on food storage strategies. Many of us do not realize that different types of products are meant to be stored in specific environments. A tip provided by the City of Toronto is to set one produce drawer to high humidity to store vegetables that wilt and another to low humidity for storing vegetables that produce ethylene. Being mindful of storage strategies for different products can make a huge difference in minimizing the amount of expired and short-lived ingredients.
In addition to knowing the strategies of eliminating food waste, it is also imperative to differentiate the garbage, recycling, and compost disposal categories. Statistics Canada reported that the total quantity of landfill garbage is higher than the amount of recycled or organic-processed waste. The reason for this unfortunate event may be due to the lack of knowledge on recycling and composting among the populace. To know more about how you can compost, read this blog. [URL of Kritika’s Blog on composting]
General advice provided by the government is to dispose of cooking grease in the green bin, transition from disposable to reusable coffee mugs, and avoid using disposable straws. However, every municipality has their own guideline in terms of recycling and disposing used products. You can always check the guidelines on the municipal government’s official website to confirm the products’ disposal method and their respective waste categories.
Although knowing the impact of waste and recycling is important for the future, realize that the idea of Canada Day is to honour the country and the sacrifices that people made in history. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the country’s development with friends and relatives. For those who are interested in observing the national event online, check your social media and sign up to watch the celebrations and talented artists perform live on Canada Day. Meanwhile, for individuals who love to celebrate the holiday by cooking different cuisines, follow the above mentioned tips when selecting and purchasing ingredients. Overall, we can all contribute in making Canada cleaner and sustainable. Let us make the most of Canada Day and let the
restrictions not spoil the fun of our nation’s very special day!
Happy Canada Day!
By Candice Zhang