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Living Sustainably. Paul van der Werf. Living sustainably. Let’s spend some time talking about our impact on the environment Let’s spend some time talking about what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment Informal – I am here to learn from you

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Living Sustainably

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living sustainably

Living Sustainably

Paul van der Werf

living sustainably1
Living sustainably
  • Let’s spend some time talking about our impact on the environment
  • Let’s spend some time talking about what we can do to reduce our impact on the environment
  • Informal – I am here to learn from you
  • Let’s leave today with a few practical ideas we can incorporate right away
living sustainably2
Living sustainably
  • We hear lots of words like:
    • Carbon foot print
    • Sustainable
    • Green
    • Environmentally friendly
  • What does it all mean?
  • How can we turn words into actions that have a real impact
what is our impact on the environment
What is our impact on the environment?
  • Our impact comes down to one simple concept and that is consumption
  • “The act or process of consuming.”
  • What do we consume every day in our lives?
what is our impact on the environment1
What is our impact on the environment?
  • Eating
  • Heating
  • Transportation
  • Building
  • Others?
what is our impact on the environment2
What is our impact on the environment?
  • We can measure our consumption using a number of measures
    • Waste
    • Energy usage
    • Water usage
  • Londoners throw away about 250 kilograms of waste per person per year

Weight of 250

  • In London has decreased since 1990
  • In Canada continues to increase
  • Business waste increasing even faster
  • Londoners consume about 2,500 kwh per year
  • One 100 watt light bulb on for 24 hours uses about 2.5 kwh
  • One Compact Fluorescent Bulb uses about 0.5 kwh
  • Energy is required to make electricity. Carbon dioxide and pollution result.
  • Londoners consume about 250 litres person every day
  • Think about what that means throughout the year

Volume of 250

Filling up tank 4 times

per day

quantity vs quality
Quantity VS Quality
  • Need to think about consumption in terms of:
  • What impact does the quality of our consumption have on the environment
    • Pesticides versus no pesticides
    • Green power versus conventional power
  • Quality is the impact of our consumption beyond the amount of resources used – manifest as pollution and other impacts
consumption is tied to money
Consumption is tied to money
  • Everything we consume costs money
  • Everything we don’t consume costs money
  • We have largely been taught to ignore this
  • There is a greater appreciation of this right now
what we can do
What we can do
  • Understand that our environmental impact is very closely tied to our consumption
  • Find ways to consume more smartly
  • Find ways to reduce the wastefulness built into our consumption
  • Find ways to manage the wastes created by our consumption
smart consumption
“Smart Consumption”

We need to engage in what I like to call smart consumption. This is a thought process where we think about the environmental impacts of our purchases in three distinct stages

1 . What is the environmental impact of making this product;

2. What is the environmental impact of using this product; and

3. What is the environmental impact after this product has lost its usefulness.

  • City has lots of good programs to deal with waste
  • Maximize their use







  • Backyard Composting – Video
  • E-waste Recycling – Video
  • Replace your water guzzling toilet with an efficient 6 litre or dual flush toilet – rebates available
  • Water your lawn only when necessary, and according to summer water restrictions
  • Always run dishwashers with a full load. This will save water, energy, detergent and money
  • Take London Transit, walk, and/or ride your bike to your destination. The most energy efficient and least costly mode of transportation is muscle power.
  • Don't be a lead-foot - hard acceleration and speeding wastes fuel. For highway driving, every 10 km/h above the speed limit increased the amount of gas burned by 10%.
  • Home energy audits.
  • Mayor’s Sustainable Energy Council. New web page with some good information for residents (and business)
quality of consumption
Quality of consumption
  • Previous tips focus on quantity
  • Quality focuses where items are purchased
  • What is the composition of consumption
organic natural vs conventional
Organic/Natural vs conventional
  • Organically produced food does not use pesticides
  • Why use a chemical if we don’t need to?
  • Cleaning supplies.
  • There is a cost premium – narrowing as demand increases
local versus global
Local versus global
  • We live in a global world that we have created.
  • Why not support local businesses that promote sustainability?
  • The only way they will survive is through your consumption.
  • Benefits of local buying can include significantly reduced energy consumption (e.g. for food) or better quality products
  • Consume smartly
  • Make a commitment to reduce consumption where possible
  • Understand that it some cases doing the right thing costs a bit more
  • Understand that there rebates and grants available to do the right thing
  • Embrace change
sources of information used
Sources of information used
  • The Clear Network
contact information
Contact Information

Paul van der Werf

My green workplace