Eco-Centre volunteer’s FRESH advice: Be Aware

    Eco-Centre volunteer’s FRESH advice: Be Aware

    GlobeHands_croppedMy name is Francine and I am a volunteer for the Manitoba Eco-Network and Climate Change Connection. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Urban Development. I recently finished a 9 month Eco-Internship, where I helped a company develop an environmental sustainability plan.

    Here’s what I do in my personal life to be “green”.

    I have never owned a car and use active transportation to get around, biking or walking in the warmer months and bussing in the winter.

    I enjoy living in an apartment in Osborne Village because everything is so close that I usually walk everywhere I need to go. I am close to Osborne Street, Downtown and the Forks. It is more convenient for me to use active transportation than it is to drive, as I find driving just creates more problems (Parking, insurance, traffic, fuel costs, all of the one-way streets etc).

    Aside from transportation, I usually always use re-usable water bottles and mugs, bring my own bags when I go grocery shopping, and most of my belongings are either given to me, or bought from a thrift store or a garage sale in the summer. I also participate in a few clothing swaps per year. One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday morning in the summer is biking around to different garage sales.

    In terms of my diet, I am a vegetarian who is conscious about where my food comes from. The majority of the food I eat is also vegan and/or organic. It was not a hard choice for me to make, as I didn’t eat much meat growing up. I have always had a love for animals and I always felt guilty if I ate meat. I remember one childhood incident where my dad brought home live lobster from Halifax and I burst into tears, trying to convince my parents to let me keep my lobster as a pet.

    I find that my green choices also affect others, which makes me happy. I have noticed that my parents and my roommate are all becoming more aware of where their food comes from. I feel that the earth should be a union of humans, animals and plants, and I feel great knowing that I am doing my part to create a sustainable earth. I also feel great because I know that I have a healthy diet by choosing organic and vegan foods. One of my goals is to eventually grow most of my own food.

    I am a part of my community, as I take dance classes at the local community centre, practice yoga at the local studio, and support local shops and restaurants.

    I guess you could say that my green lifestyle is a result of my university education, as I learned a lot about environmental issues and how to do my part. I was a member of EcoPIA, an environmental group at the University of Winnipeg. I participated in a lot of rallies and petitions, and also helped to get the U of W plastic water bottle ban approved. I also enjoy teaching friends and family about environmental issues and how they can help.

    If you are looking to make greener lifestyle choices, I offer you this piece of advice: Be aware.

    The internet is a great tool for finding out information about transportation, where your food comes from, and how to reduce your carbon footprint.

    Francine P, Osborne Village, Winnipeg

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