Opinion

Doing with less achieves far more

Protecting our environment requires more than an annual Turn Out the Lights or Clean Our Rivers day. Small, daily steps by individuals help get us there.

Some Terrace youngsters have grasped this notion of individual responsibility. For instance, five- and six-year-olds have foregone birthday gifts in favour of friends donating to food banks or other charities instead.

Two Northwest Community College students teamed up to write and publish a children’s book that raised awareness about waste.  “They used Terrace and Thornhill dumps as examples,” reports The Terrace Standard.

“Their book, World Warriors: Kids Protecting the Planet, was circulated to grades four and five classes throughout Terrace.

“The book asked kids to write down their ideas about how to reduce, reuse, or compost items rather than adding to either landfill.”

To pay the salary of a graphic artist to compile the book, and have it printed on recycled paper, the two students applied for a Community Education and Zero Waste Marketing Grant from the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine.

These grants, ranging up to $2,000 per project, will pay 75 per cent of invoiced costs incurred during a project, and a final 25 percent after a project is completed and evaluated.

This year, the regional district’s fourth for Zero Waste grants, the regional district has set aside $32,000 for projects tackling zero waste in novel ways.

One way, so far without the support of a grant, is a plan spearheaded by a local woman to collect pre-worn prom dresses for use by this year’s grads who would otherwise miss the event because their family can’t afford the expense.

Prom dresses are seldom worn more than once, making them one of the biggest extravagances of any graduation. To dazzle classmates a prom dress need not be brand spanking new, merely new to the teen wearing it.

Dry cleaning is being done free, as are alterations. Other professionals are donating hairstyling, makeup, and manicures.

In January a group of teens braved a day of attending high school without makeup, merely finger combing their hair. They called their day See Me 4 Me. Though their main aim was to make a point about girls bullying others over their appearance, did they realize they also tinkered with the amount of pollution caused  through the manufacturing of lipsticks and other beauty products? Had their experiment caught on in other schools or persisted for a month, Revlon and Olay might have noted a dip in their profits.

Incidentally, a study concluded the average weight of a woman’s shoulder bag is 18 pounds,  mainly  makeup. This weight leads to back and shoulder pain for which many seek chiropractic treatment when what they really need is lightening of their handbag.

Believing conservation should be taught at a young age, two Edmonton authors, Debby Waldman and Rita Feutl, highlighted zero waste through “Room Enough for Daisy,” a book emphasizing how, at every opportunity, Christmas and birthday we overload kids  with useless disposable plastic toys. These toys crowd the kid for space, making them feel claustrophobic, and give them a perpetual problem keeping their room tidy. Amid this overabundance of easy-come, easy-go possessions, kids fail to respect their belongings.

One soon-to-be-grad, who hates how girls compete to have the most expensive prom dress, is collecting donations for girls who can’t afford to buy a gown. If she can collect $1,000 toward the Cinderella Project, she vows to attend her prom wearing a garment fashioned from garbage bags.

At last report, Mom was hunting an easy-to-sew design for a Glad dress.

 

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