Earth Day: The Three New R's
One of our guiding principles at The Den is to honour our planet, it’s the driving force behind all that we do, and it’s something we practice every single day. As part of our mission, we want to raise greater awareness around how we can all better treat the earth – through education and also celebration. Earth Day 2021 falls on April 22nd and we’ll be spending a few days taking extra care to share some helpful info and celebrate this beautiful planet we call home.
As a refillery, we feel extremely passionate about reducing single-use plastics. While it’s not always the easiest option, it can be as simple as choosing to buy products in glass or paper over plastic. Glass products are easily reused and paper is a much friendlier product to the environment. It’s an immediate and tangible change you can make today. Starting now, take note of what products you may already have that come in single-use plastic, then make a point of looking for an option that is packaged in glass – or even better comes in bulk, where you can bring your own container. Some things can be harder than others – foods like hummus, for example, are almost exclusively sold in plastic packaging – but you can make your own (it’s surprisingly simple) and save a trip to the store while you’re at it.
Not sure where you stand on your plastic consumption? You can use the handy Plastic Calculator to find out. Knowledge is power, after all, and once you know you can start making those small changes that add up to a big difference. It’s important to remember that the goal is not perfection, we all just need to keep trying in the ways that we can, to keep spreading awareness to our friends and family, and supporting businesses that also support the planet.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “Restore Our Earth”. While it’s not part of the three R’s, it could be an easy fourth addition. Depending on what generation you hail from, there are the infamous three R’s that you learn in school; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. While these are still great practices there are some new R’s to get familiar with; Remove, Refuse, and Rally. Here is what those look like:
Remove. Pick up trash in your neighbourhood, when visiting parks and beaches, really anywhere you are outside – if you see it, pick it up. Make sure to check local safety guidelines first, and always use gloves.
Refuse. This one’s simple: Just make a habit of saying “No straw, please,” and “I brought my own cup, thanks.” It’s a small step, but an easy way to see what you can live without. It also leads by example, when other people see you saying “no thank you” the seed is planted that maybe they, too, could refuse some of these things.
Rally. Does your city or province have bans on single-use plastics? Send a letter or call your local elected leaders, urging them to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastic items. Many places already implement these types of restrictions, all it takes is someone to get the ball rolling.
In addition to the R’s, there’s plenty that can be done to lead by example, raise awareness, and encourage others to do their part. A few of our lovely local business buds doing their part in our neck of the woods are Zoë's Bakery and Cafe – they continue to accept to-go coffee tumblers and, as always, compost their food waste. Speaking of composting, neighbouring plant-based Yayu Cafe also composts their food waste through local legend MFR. (If you’re familiar with Marie-France Roy, you know what we mean. If not, check out her work with POW and give her a google to see her self-made cob house.) Tofino-based Gaia Grocery organized a spring beach clean for Saturday, April 17th in conjunction with Surfrider Pacific Rim – another legendary local organization doing their part for the planet 365 days of the year. One of the unsung heroes of our coastal communities is Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild, often working behind the scenes to stock some of our favourite eateries and local’s homes alike. Striving to make local food more accessible and affordable while providing a reliable market for some of our province’s best producers – reducing the distance our food has to travel and supporting a local, low-impact food selection.
Is your community celebrating Earth Day? If not, maybe this is the time to take initiative and start something with your circle. Socially distanced beach and park cleanups are an easy way to enjoy some sunshine, bring the community safely together, and show up in a real, tangible, feel-good kind of way. While we come together, virtually and in the great outdoors, to celebrate this day let’s take that spirit of appreciation with us through the rest of the year. Finding small ways, each and every day, to improve how we operate and make change happen. We can do it together!
Written by Andrea Turner