If I had to list my most respected role model it would be David Suzuki. He's an environmentalist, but not a screaming roadblock-chaining type. The 'Suze is direct about what he expects people to do, but not nasty or vindictive. Overall a pretty friendly guy, but up-front and direct about what he thinks people should do.
So I try to make a substantial contribution every year to The David Suzuki Foundation because I think they do very good work. This enviro group has a few interesting initiatives. One of them is the Nature Challenge, which over 250,000 people have signed up for. The Nature Challenge is a set of ten steps that individuals can take.
These are my new year's resolutions so to speak. Ok, let's review see how I currently stack up. I am going to comment on each goal, and whether it is SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable R-something and Time Bounded)
1. Reduce home energy by 10%
This is an expensive and time consuming goal. We've been working on this since 2003 and have
invested substantially in houshold energy efficiency. But the truth is I don't know what the results are. Need to check the actual change in energy consumption
2. Eat meat-free meals once a week
Already doing it. This is dead simple Get some frozen wild salmon and throw it in the oven once a week. It's also inherently in one's self interest to not eat too much red meat.
3. Buy a fuel efficient, low-polluting car
This is pretty straightforward. If you are buying a new car, SUV's generally suck. The hard data for fuel efficiency is at fuelefficency.org. After reviewing the data, our car, a 1993 Saturn, supposedly gets 28 mpg city/ 36 mpg highway driving.
4. Choose an energy efficient home and appliances.
When we buy an appliance, we generally fork over a little extra cash to buy more efficient appliances. We have a BigWash Samsung washing machine and two efficient new Energuide appliances.
5. Stop using pesticides
Dead simple. I am inherently lazy, so not doing something is pretty easy. "Honey did you spray the weeds". "No, I am taking the Nature Challenge"
6. Walk, bike or take transit to regular destinations
Transit yes. Bike, mm not so much currently. We still end up using our car too much. I would like to get rid of it and switch to Zipcar.
7. Prepare your meals with locally produced food
This is quite difficult. I would rewrite the goal to say "Select Ontario or Canadian fruit wherever available. Avoid food from faraway places: kiwis from New Zealand, grapes from Chile, etc."
In Toronto and Vancouver there are agencies like Green Earth Organics that deliver organic, produce items. We are a GEO customer, and I am curious about where GEO gets its food and have put in an enquiry.
8. Choose a home close to regular destinations
Done. Though I burn a lot of fossil fuels getting to my Ultimate games in the summer.
9. Support alternatives to the car
Hmm, difficult to measure. This goal should be chartered to be more specific and measurable . E.g write one letter to an elected representative pushing for better transit funding.
10. Get involved, stay informed
This goal should be more specific and measurable.