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Glenn Eastman — obituary

EASTMAN, D. Glenn 1934-2024 On Friday, April 12, 2024,...

A pair of poems for spring

Editor's note: Chris Cavan sends these reflections...

Diana’s Quiz – April 13, 2024

by Diana Filer 1.  What device in effect...
Science & NatureEnvironmentMy plan to save the world

My plan to save the world

by Rick Edwards

As a boy, I daydreamed that I might save the world from calamity, one that had thwarted the keenest minds. Comic books should be blamed, perhaps. But before you start a hasty analysis of my troubled youth, you should know that I, as a clear-thinking adult, have recently concocted a plan.

That the earth is in crisis is obvious whether one acquires knowledge of the world through graphical literature or today’s news. What is less clear sometimes is the real enemy.

For example, it’s estimated that discarded food occupies one quarter of our landfill space. Most of us buy our food sensibly and waste as little as possible. But would it shock you to learn that 60% of all food produced in Canada is thrown out?[1]

Unfortunately, the food scraps in our landfills are not just mixing harmlessly with discarded skinny jeans, videocassettes, and lumpy mattresses. The resulting gas from food waste in our dumps is producing methane, a “potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that is 28 to 36 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere”.[2]

In other words, mixing our food waste with other trash is creating a greenhouse gas that fuels the escalating climate crisis featured daily in our news (heat records, common rainstorms becoming deluges, forest fires, rising ocean temperatures).

You already know that climate change is real, is here now, and is negatively affecting every one of us.

If you’ve read this far, I expect you will want to hear my plan to save the world. Phase 1 is really simple and easy to remember: compost matters.

Compost matters because eliminating food from our landfills will significantly reduce landfill methane, which accounts for about 15% of all methane emissions negatively impacting the atmosphere and energizing the global warming/climate change problem.

The simple solution, of course, is to separate our food waste from other trash taken to our landfills. And composting in Almonte is now as simple as our weekly trash collection – Just Good Compost.

Just Good Compost[3] is a new start-up in Almonte that provides a plastic bucket (with lid) and picks up the filled bucket every week (just like the municipal trash service), while returning a clean bucket. Every week, our household bucket is completely full of peelings, eggshells, fruit gone by, coffee grounds, and all uneaten scraps – including meat and bones. Our curbside trash is now much reduced and lighter.

Most homeowners cannot compost meat and bones due to the attraction of wildlife. I learned this long ago when I turned over our farmyard compost pile and nearly skewered a skunk who had taken up residence deep inside. That incident shook up the both of us. I avoided composting for twenty years and the skunk took to living under the barn, safe from pitchforks.

Lissie and I keep two containers under the kitchen sink: one for landfill trash and the Just Good Compost bucket. In recent years, we have all learned to separate items for recycling. Food waste separation is just another good deed done for the wellbeing of our planet… and ourselves.

But what about “saving the world”?

My world, you see, is mostly right around me – my community, my neighborhood, and especially my home. My world is where I am able to exercise some control and take action. So, yes… Phase 1 of my plan is to simply to reduce, reuse and recycle, but now to include the separation of food waste to lessen my portion of greenhouse gasses. I want to act responsibly in my world.

And so, my hat is off to Just Good Compost for helping me save the world I call mine. The cost per week is minimal… about the same as a delicious latte at one of our Almonte coffee shops.

After Just Good collects the compost each week it goes to a site where the food waste is efficiently composted, and the resultant soil returned to earth (by interested customers) or offered to non-profits to sell as fund-raising.

And there’s more good news! Most residents of Ontario have just received a Climate Action Incentive Payment.[4] The amount to households may be different depending upon several factors, but the timing is perfect! If you put this windfall toward composting, you too will have begun to save the world – your world.

You and I can do more to make a difference. In the meanwhile, I’m thinking about Phase 2.

Let’s all work together to make our community everything it should be, beginning with a commitment to sustainable lifestyles that will “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”[5]

[1] https://blog.secondharvest.ca/2021/12/01/food-waste-facts-every-canadian-should-know/

[2] U.S. EPA. Understanding Global Warming Potentials. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials

[3] Just Good Compost: https://www.justgoodcompost.com/

[4] https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/cai-payment.html

[5] 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future; www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf

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