Why is it so easy to be green in Canada?
I spent the first night of my summer vacation in a bed-and-breakfast in Toronto with my family. (Yes, I blogged while on vacation. That’s what happens when free wireless is available everywhere and you have obsessive-compulsive disorder.) We drove from Chicago in our Toyota Camry. It’s not exactly a Prius, but while averaging about 30 MPG, we had a smaller carbon footprint than we would if the three of us traveled by plane. We brought most of our own meals and snacks in reusable containers, printed out travel and maps on previously used paper, and reused our water bottles. So we thought we were being green. But a morning walk around Toronto made us feel only light green, at best.
What did I notice in Toronto? Though people certainly drive to work in the morning, a huge number of people ride their bikes. While walking around looking for an open cafe for my morning coffee, I kept seeing one person dressed for work and whizzing past me in the bike lane. Commuting to work by bike seemed to be the norm for our neighbors to the north, not the exception.
Canadians also have easy-access recycling. A recycling bin stands next to every conventional garbage can in Toronto. So if you are walking down the street, you can recycle your newspaper, a water bottle, a flyer as easily as you can throw these common items into the trash. Even McDonald’s offers a full array of recycling services. (Full disclosure: we stopped at a McDonald’s on the highway to use the restrooms, but did not purchase anything.)
I spent less than a full day in Ontario this summer, and I made these remarkable observations. Had I spent a longer time in Canada and visited other parts of this eco-friendly country, I would have other green practices to report. Readers, feel free to comment about additional activities that make Canada green so we in the U.S. can learn a thing or to about greening North America.
Photo from my own personal collection.