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May Newsletter

Spring into Sustainability

It is the beginning of May and the first signs of spring are in the air! In the midst of social distancing, we can find new ways to connect and ignite moments of meaning throughout our day. Distancing does not have to take away human and nature connections.
Last week, the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to remind us to take care of our planet and to work together to make a better tomorrow. Earth day is every day wherever you are 🌏

Normally on campus, we would celebrate with a clean-up the campus event and take great pride in our green workplace. This year we aim to create sustainable actions that we can all do at home to help our planet. Whether it's cleaning up litter, composting, recycling or repurposing, planting more trees, starting a garden,
or simply reflect on the beauty of nature... there are many ways we can embed sustainability habits in our everyday lives. See below on how you can spring into sustainability!
 
Start a spring garden or bring the natural world indoors!
May is a great time to get your garden ready for spring. The arrival of May kicks off the planting season with vegetables such as beets, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, chards and many more. The Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton provide great tips on gardening: check out their vegetable growing calendar and a great garden guide

Don't have space for a garden? Another great way to connect with nature is to bring the natural world indoors by growing house plants! Did you know that being around nature influences mental and physical health including well-being, happiness, stress, coping and sustainable attitudes? The CU Happiness Lab explores this link between nature and happiness through their research on '
a happy path to sustainability'. A natural living environment is beneficial not only to your health, but it is also good for the environment as it promotes environmentally responsible behaviour (i.e., riding a bike, taking a walk, gardening, etc.). Interested but don't know where to start? Check out local Ottawa shops that offer curbside or delivery such as Ottawa Plants, Plant & Curio, Stalk Market, La Porte, Robert Plante Greenhouses, and many more.
Sustainable Tips

1. Composting

Did you know that 1/3 of what households throw away in the trash could be put to better use than going to landfill? A simple action is to commit to no longer throwing organic waste in the trash but to compost. One step further, make a vermicomposter.

2. Eat Local and Seasonal

Pledge to eat and buy in-season produce, in order to enjoy the best-tasting and most nutrient-dense food that has undergone less processing and travelled shorter distances, coming straight from our local farmers. There are a number of local food box schemes that will also deliver to your doorstep, contact-free.

3. Ecological Renovations

With a bit more time being spent at home we may be thinking about home renovations. These often start with the purchase a lot of materials and finish with trash bins overflowing with waste. You can commit to carrying out renovations in an environmentally responsible way.

4. Energy Saving

While we may be indoors a little more at the moment we can still take action. Did you know that LEDs last 25 times longer than a standard light bulb and consume 80% less energy, or that beyond 20°C, every additional degree increases your heating bill by 7%? We can all take action to conserve energy!

5. Digital Cleaning

Did you know that if the internet were a country, it would be the 6th largest consumer of electricity on the planet? Or that in 2019, the digital world accounted for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions?

Here’s the good news: there are plenty of tips out there for decreasing digital pollution. You can take action by simple ideas such as; deleting emails no longer needed, using an eco-conscious search engine and avoiding large attachments.

6. Take the time to calculate your carbon footprint. Assess some ways of how you can decrease your footprint. 
 
Launching Carleton's Waste Wizard
Having problems knowing where your waste goes? Do you want to reduce waste going to landfill? The new Carleton Waste Wizard is a digital tool that offers our community an easy way to search for how to dispose of anything, including where to drop it off, or if it cannot go into a recycling container or landfill. Check out the Waste Wizard here.
Earth Day: Garbage Clean-up
Talia Rampelt, a Carleton graduate student from the Bachelor of Global and International Studies program, demonstrates a sustainable action on Earth Day with her family by doing a garbage cleanup in her community. Social distancing doesn't mean you can't go outside and enjoy nature, as long as you do so responsibly.

"Family garbage cleanup for #EarthDay2020! Today I’m especially grateful for my parents, who have taught me so much about sustainability, have always led by example, and inspire me to do better each day!

If you’re bored in quarantine or going crazy in your house, bring a bag and some gloves along on your next walk - it’s a great way to get outdoors and help your community while social distancing! 💚" 

Carleton University is committed to embedding continuous environmental and sustainable improvement to further enhance performance in all our operations. A commitment to sustainability allows us to reduce our collective impact while ensuring that both existing and future generations of students, staff and faculty continue to enjoy our unique campus.
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