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  • Writer's pictureCity of Edmonton Youth Council

Tips on Sustainability

Written by: Callum LaRoi | Edited by: Sithara Naidoo

Both temperatures and tensions are rising due to climate change, and many young people are wondering how they can make a difference when it comes to climate change, especially with 2020 being the hottest recorded year. I’ve asked myself the same question so many times and have learned how to live more sustainably. In this post, learn some tips on how to live more sustainably. They are not only for youth, but by people of all ages!

1. Cut down on what you throw away

Did you know that only 9% of Canada’s “recycled” plastic actually gets recycled? It is mostly shipped to places such as Malaysia where they burn it or put it in landfill, right next to communities. Instead of using single use plastics, such as water bottles, straws and cutlery, switch them out for longterm reusable products. Single use plastics can be replaced by products you could use hundreds of times before throwing them away.

You can also donate clothing and household items in order to reduce waste. Buying second hand is a great option!

2. Volunteer for cleanups in your community

While it may be less likely that you find an opportunity to clean up your community with an organization due to COVID-19, you can also go out into your neighborhood to clean independently. The best time to go is during the spring once all the snow has melted, because a lot of garbage hidden by the snow will appear once it is melted. This is also a safe social distanced activity that you could do to get some fresh air with friends and loved ones!

3. Speak UP:

Speaking up to your local governments can be as easy as just a few clicks. There are many petitions on the internet that you can sign to encourage government officials and representatives to make changes. Every signature counts! As youth, we don’t get to vote for our representatives, so signing petitions is a great way to speak up and use your voice. However, if you are old enough to vote, you can vote with climate change and sustainability in mind.

A popular website that you can use is They will even send you emails with petitions you might be interested in based on the ones you sign. Also, sharing petitions is a great idea, especially if you are on social media. You can also make your own petition and tell your friends and family to sign it and pass the information on to their friends.

If you want to go even further, you can write a letter to the government requesting change or initiative. Question them on the changes they are making and address your concerns with them. They will keep your concerns in mind, and with enough pressure and encouragement, there are grounds for change.

Finally, social media is a great tool for promoting awareness regarding climate change and sustainability.

4. Make small, but effective changes in your habits

Small changes go a long way! Instead of leaving the lights on in your home or house, remember to turn them off when you are away. When you brush your teeth, you can turn off the tap in order to reduce consumption. Instead of leaving your phone, cordless vacuum cleaner, or other devices plugged in, unplug them.Charging docks actually use power continuously, even when the device plugged in is fully charged. In fact, the amount of power these small devices use is equivalent to the power from 50 large power plants in the US.

5. Be food conscious

Only buy food you plan on eating - you will likely waste food if you buy too much. In addition to being waste conscious, it’s important to recognize that it takes energy and resources to produce food items. Depending on the item you are buying, some foods use much more resources than others. For example, a ⅓ pound burger takes 660 gallons of water to make, while one piece of bread uses up 11 gallons of water.

6. Encourage your parent or guardian to use LED light bulbs

We use light bulbs so much during the day - so why not save power when using them? LED bulbs use 75% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs. Plus, many LEDs live up to 20 years before burning out. Incandescent bulbs burn out much quicker, so LEDs are ecologically and economically sustainable. Save money and the Earth!

What do you think about these ideas? Do you have any ideas or suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments so we can learn.

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