Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner December 2, 2021
The distressing weather these past weeks in beautiful British Columbia, and the flooding in the admired Maritime provinces, brought the climate emergency home to us in new ways.
Five lives were lost, prime farmland was washed out and thousands of animals were drowned, even while Canadian strength, even heroism, was shown again.
My family on Vancouver Island was spared the worst. The Malahat highway from Victoria up island was washed out except for one lane. This is the way it went: for half an hour, traffic went northbound; the next half-hour, southbound. A lone salmon was seen swimming with effort on the streets of Mill Bay.
The small ferries across the inlet to Vancouver were heavily used. But highways in the interior and supply lines into the city were badly affected. Pictures we saw of mudslides were terrible.
So my resolve to reduce my carbon footprint increased. So soon after the world conference in Glasgow had laid out the grim scenarios ahead, even for us in Canada, British Columbia has had record forest fires and now record floods.
I needed to take some steps. So I went to find a carbon footprint calculator on line. There are many, the best being the U.N. one, or that of the World Wildlife Foundation. Or Climatehero. A person can, in a few minutes, get a figure for the size of one’s carbon footprint in annual tons of CO2. One has to honestly self-assess, calculating and entering as best you can, your habits of food, transport, housing, and consumption. Then it offers a number and recommendations for reducing it. The average person in the West, is responsible for ten tons of C02 a year.
My favourite environmental author, Katharine Hayhoe of the book, “Saving Us,” tells that she got her footprint down to five, even though she flies to occasional scientific conferences. My best effort yielded a seven point five. I drive a gas-powered car and take an occasional flight to visit family.
Even though I am an apartment dweller, I am quite shamefaced. I plan to reduce meat (sorry about, that, Alberta beef farmers). I went to Sobeys and bought some “Between Burger” patties. Not bad. I checked fast-food outlets: A&W, among others, sells hamburgers that are meatless.
Christmas is upon us. The feast should help with our mental health condition. An article in "Frontiers in Psychiatry" says that 50 percent of youth between the ages of 16 and 25 are depressed.
My gift-giving will be by e-transfer and by homemade edibles. Su Musclow, a volunteer at the Mount Community Centre, made her annual batch of apple jelly as a fundraiser. I managed to snag two.
There will be some “re-gifting.” One granddaughter longs for my ukulele. Done. Another, the artist, needs a sketchbook. A friend tells me she only gives experiences: concerts, plays and such. ReFrame Film Festival is coming, and Fourth Line Theatre will be back, and the Peterborough Singers perform for the first time in 21 months on November 27.
At Greenup, I got “Tru Earth” laundry soap slips for two sons, and for teenage athletes, soap bars within a loofah. Is it possible to skip the Christmas mall madness? Probably not, but Hayhoe says neither guilt nor shame is helpful. My mother in Kirkland Lake in the 1950s was famous for her homemade cheese straws, a feat neither my sister nor I have ever mastered. People all down the street hoped for some. But I have had some success with Ted Lasso biscuits: just four ingredients, made famous by the likable character in the Apple TV series about an American football coach who goes to England to take on a soccer team.
For me: I tell my sons, think printer ink cartridges, please, or a weekly Zoom call, an invitation to visit, anything from Black Honey, a Tim Hortons card or a book, the latest prizewinning Canadian fiction.
It’s all about conserving, while still showing love.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or from >Amazon<