As you know, yesterday was Earth day, a day which has been celebrated globally in one shape or another for almost 50 years now (2020 marks the 50th Anniversary). Its creation in the 1970's was a catalyst to some of the biggest environmental wins in history. These include the 1972 Clean Water Act, the banning of DDT insecticides and the 1973 Endangered Species Act. While we (Bikeables) wholeheartedly support the day and the awareness it raises, we also think it’s important to reflect and remind ourselves that Earth Day is so much more than just being "green" for one day of the year. It is about making environmentally conscious decisions every day, from the way you commute to work, to the food you buy, to the local groups and initiatives you support.
With an aim to keep the enthusiasm around Earth day rolling, we have compiled a list of local organizations and initiatives that you can (and should) support if you really want to keep the spirit of Earth Day alive for 365 days a year:
1. Environment Hamilton
Lead by the energetic and incredibly hard working crew of Lynda Lukasik, Juby Lee and Beatrice Ekoko, we are truly amazed at all of the projects and initiatives this organization spearheads. From BAM (Bicycle Air Monitoring), to the Stack Watch program, to the Good Food Box, these folks never sit still. Coming up in early June is their annual Carbon Cycle, Lake to Lake bike ride with a camp-out at Lake Erie. For more information or to RSVP, click here.
2. Support a local CSA Farm
Why is this so important? Well, not only do CSA farms offer fresh, quality food that has little or no pesticides, they are dedicated to proper land stewardship involving crop rotation, as well as natural and sustainable growing practices. In choosing to buy and eat CSA foods, you are supporting local, sustainable farms/businesses, and are actively investing in the security of our Ontario farmland for future generations. Small- and medium-sized organic farms need your help in creating financial stability. In turn, these local farmers will be less likely to feel the pressure from land developers knocking on their door. Click here for a map of CSA farms in Ontario, or if you prefer having a CSA box bike delivered right to your door weekly, you can check out our Manorun Organic Farm CSA weekly delivery :).
3. Buy local and organic food whenever possible
It's a simple one, but worth highlighting. Here are a few reminders of why we should all try to buy a little more locally:
Locally Grown Food Tastes Better- It only had to travel a few km vs 1000’s of km, which translates to fresher, sweeter and crisper foods.
Local Produce Is Better For You- Produce loses nutrients quickly, meaning the less distance it needs to travel from farm to plate, the better.
Local Food Preserves Genetic Diversity- Local farms grow a huge number of varieties to provide a long season of harvest vs. large farms' tendency to grow single cash crops.
Local Food is GMO-Free- Local farmers don’t have access to genetically modified seed, and most of them wouldn’t use it even if they could.
Local Food Supports Local Farm Families- Local farmers who sell directly to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food.
Local Food Builds Community- As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely.
Local Food Preserves Open Spaces- As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetable increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely.
Local Food Keeps Your Taxes in Check- Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes.
Local Food Supports a Clean Environment and Benefits Wildlife- Good stewards of the land grow cover crops to prevent erosion and replace nutrients used by their crops. Cover crops also capture carbon emissions and help combat global warming.
Local Food is About the Future- By supporting local farmers today, you can help ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow, and that future generations will have access to nourishing full of flavor, and abundant food.
4. Support public transit and say yes to LRT
Yeah, we went there. Look, it’s a contentious issue, and we get it. We understand the hesitation and viewpoints of opponents. But at the end of the day, Hamilton is going to continue to grow in population, and for it to continue on its recent economic upward trajectory then we need modern, green and efficient public transit infrastructure. Beyond the environmental argument, Hamiltonians are proud of their city and that is what makes living here so great. Let’s continue to make Hamilton a great place to live by ensuring it's accessible to all, no matter where you fall on the economic ladder. A strong middle class built this city, and a strong middle class will continue to progress this city. Sign the Yes Petition Here.
5. Ride your bike more
With days getting longer and the weather nicer, it is time to wipe off the cobwebs, oil up the chain and hop on those two wheels. For every km you decide to ride your bike instead of driving your car, you are avoiding spewing on average 130g of CO2 into the atmosphere. Not only that, recent European studies show that utilizing your bike regularly for your commute can reduce your chances of developing cancer by up to 45%, and heart disease by up to 46%.
Hamilton is a great city for cycling - whether you are using the Cannon cycle track to move East to West, or just out for a cruise through Bayfront Park, summer is the perfect time to reduce your dependency on the automobile, and hop on an your two wheeler.
Cycle Hamilton is a great, new organization that is focusing on improving the existing cycle infrastructure in Hamilton to make cycling safer and more accessible for all.
Bike for Mike, in its 7th year is coming up on Sunday, May 7th. It is a great fundraiser, with proceeds going towards providing bikes for young children and families, as well as improving existing cycle-related infrastructure in our beautiful city.