“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall
Try these daily kindnesses for the earth, for your neighbours and for yourself. Making just a few small changes can have a big impact, so think of adding them not just for a day, or even a month, but everyday.
1 OK, let's just starting simple. Someone behind you in the grocery store lineup just has one item or they are an elder, why not let them go ahead?! What have you got to lose--3 minutes?
2. Going Plastic Free--can you do it for a day? For a week? Longer?
This is not so easy to do. Years ago, I had taken a course in which the professor challenged us to go plastic free for 2 weeks. Easy homework I thought! It was mid summer with lots of local produce, no problem! Not so much! The very first day, I had to pick up some liquid medication for our sick cat. That medicine, of course, came in a plastic bottle. I failed in the task, but started over. The challenge made me aware of how much plastic there is in our lives. Nearly 90 per cent of plastic waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, lakes, parks and oceans in Canada. That’s about 8,000 tonnes every day (davidsuzuki.org/action/stop-plastic-pollution/).
Small step reminders:
A. Avoid single use plastics
Bring your own mugs! Not all, but many paper cups actually have a thin plastic lining, not to mention the plastic lid. Gratefully, many coffee shops have gone back to filling personal mugs. It's a good time to get back in the habit or slow down and stay in for a coffee and ask for a mug--avoid that paper cup!
Bring a water bottle! The new water fountains at places such as the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay are set up to easily fill personal water bottles. If you need more than water, don't buy plastic liquid containers!
B. Start looking at what you buy: is there an alternative that offers non-plastic packaging?
C. We can limit our personal consumption, but there is the bigger picture. How can we change things on a bigger scale? Letting the manufacturers and the government know how you feel is just a start. Have a look here: https://davidsuzuki.org/action/stop-plastic-pollution/
D. Make your own! It is so simple to make your own laundry detergent and other cleaners.
It's cheaper, healthier and no big plastic bottles! Check out the workshop in January with Pender Earth at the Community Hall here and learn how to make your own laundry soap.
3. Buy locally! Not only will you be supporting the local economy, it's an environmentally friendly way to give. To get you started, the Saturday Christmas market is on at the Community Hall through December, and the Conservancy Nature Centre at Hope Bay carries many locally made and sustainable gifts, open Wednesday to Sundays from 11-3.
4. Find out whose territory you live on and the proper pronunciation
Hopefully, by now you have heard land acknowledgements when you go to meetings or events on Pender. Pender Island is on the un-ceded lands of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Please check out this page for information, land acknowledgements and pronunciation: https://wsanec.com/learn-settlers/ .
5,15,20. Walk, bike or carpool to work or an errand
Why the repeat? With climate change, we have become more aware of the carbon footprint of fossil fuels. So why not help the earth and your wallet as a bonus.
Of course, not all of us can walk long distance or bike, but we can carpool--or combine those errands to limit trips. Heck, we even have an electric bus on the island, as an alternative for those larger groups!
Try this carbon calculator from the District of Saanich. It's a great way to see where you are at and even challenges you to decrease your emissions.
Again, we can limit our personal consumption, but there also has to be pressure and change at higher levels.
6,13. Plant a native tree or shrub
Let's help the biodiversity and connectivity on our little island home. When the soil is soft and wet , it is a good time to plant these trees and shrubs. We have some trees and shrubs still available, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Wave at everyone you pass
Basically, why not? You'll often hear old timers say that they remember when everyone waved at everyone. It was nice!
8. Donate to a local non-profit
Think of donating to KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest or other Conservancy programs: you will help support land protection, education and restoration efforts on Pender.
Please remember there are many organizations not only this month, but year round who help our neighbours during these tough economic times. Santa's Sac, the Food Bank and the gift tree outside Dockside at the Driftwood Shopping Centre are only a few.
9, 17. Walk on a trail or visit a park you have never been to
We have so many fantastic established trails on this island. Just remember to stay on the designated trails to minimize impacts! Check out the Pender Island Parks Commission trail book online or pick one up at the Nature Centre gift shop if you prefer a copy to carry.
10. Make your own ornament
We can help with this! If you are heading down to Hope Bay for the Santa ship on Saturday December 10th, stop by the Nature Centre and make your own ornament.
11. Go offline for a day
With work and entertainment, I know I spend far too much time online. Disconnect for just 1 day. Imagine the things you could do!
12. Make a meal from local and seasonal ingredients
Much of our carbon footprint involves what we eat, where it comes from, what it takes to produce and what we waste. Buying local and seasonal foods can help decrease that footprint. Some other ideas:
Try winter gardening. We are lucky enough to live in a place where this is a possibility for some foods. In my garden, I usually have kale, whether I wanted it or not!
Try Meatless Monday. Not everyone can be vegan or vegetarian, but you can reduce the amount of meat in your diet.
Learn to preserve seasonal foods, so you can minimize waste and have access to some of your favourite foods in winter.
Don't forget to eat the leftovers!
14. Help a neighbour remove some Daphne
We have many neighbours who would like to remove invasive plants from their property, but just cannot physically do so. When the ground is wet and soft it is a great time to help them with the Daphne. For info on safety and how to remove Daphne, please click here.
16. Make a gift from recycled material
This is just fun! Get creative! One of my favourite gifts, from an old room-mate, was this recycled bottle. Hmmm...upon a closer look, I need to dust.
18. Volunteer! We know volunteering makes Pender go round. We and many organizations have volunteer opportunities. Email us at email@example.com for info on opportunities to help with Conservancy programs - indoor or outdoor, office or field, we have lots of options for you to help with conservation and community education on Pender.
19. Wrapping gifts? Use something reusable or reused.
Check out N2U or Recycling for ideas and supplies.
Reuse cloth napkins for wrapping
Artisans on Pender make gift bags
Did you save last years wrapping paper? Reuse it!
Newspapers are a rare commodity on island nowadays but if you have some, maybe stamp some designs on top
What do you do?
21. Check out the stars
Aah, the shortest day of the year! The light starts returning tomorrow! If it's not raining, what better thing to celebrate than that night sky at 3pm:).
22. Give a gift to the people that make your everyday life easier!
We have so many people on this island who have tough and often thankless jobs. They have worked through COVID, staffing shortages and quite frankly, grumpy us. Maybe bring a little homemade something to the ferry staff, drop something in your post box for the mail carrier, to the clinic, to servers at your favourite restaurant or to the cashier in the store. It's so easy to thank them!
23. Introduce yourself to 2 new people
During the COVID shut downs, we had so many amazing new people move to the island that we never saw. There are so many faces on the ferry I don't know anymore. Time to meet them!
24. Make a list of things you are grateful for
I forget sometimes those amazing people and things in my life. It's nice to remind ourselves of what that could be.
25. Enjoy the day
Enjoy the day in whatever way works for you! What do you enjoy?
26. Get in touch with an old friend
Our world now makes it so easy to contact people we may not have seen for years. Let them know you still think of them!
27. Learn the SENĆOŦEN name for Pender Island
Hopefully, by this time, you have seen the name around the island. S,DÁYES is the SENĆOŦEN name for Pender Island, meaning "wind drying place". SENĆOŦEN is the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. To learn other SENĆOŦEN words, click here.
28. Going on the Forum? Post a thank you
Not a gripe, just a thank you!
29. Compliment someone (a heart-felt compliment)
Simple, but sometimes forgotten.
In the words of Tracy Chapman--start all over again--don't just do these on holidays--bring them into your life daily. Be kind to the earth, to others and to yourself. Sentimental perhaps, but worth a shot!
These are just small things and there are much bigger things that you can do. Take the next steps. Check out this video, "to do list for a climate crisis" by Mary Anne Paré, in which she shares what some Penderites are doing: