COLUMN: Beginning the journey towards a more livable future

Small steps can help point us in the right direction

My name is Miranda Clark. Like most of you, I lead a busy life. I am an academic student, a competitive dancer, a working teenager and a social person.

Yet I constantly spend time focused on the terrifying fate of our planet.

As a teenager, I look to my future with excitement and positivity at the thought of shaping my own life and discovering the immense wonders of our world. Unfortunately, our treatment of the environment could extinguish my plans for the future – and everyone else’s as well.

I want to be able to teach my future children the best ways to build a snow cave or share the simple beauty of hiking and camping in our vast variety of forests and landscapes, just as my parents did for me.

I don’t want the snow and glaciers to be melted or the trees burnt down.

I have grown up in a family that appreciates nature and our environment more than anything else. We use the outdoors as our playground to explore, and as a challenge to embrace.

I cannot watch as climate change and pollution eradicate our home and humanity’s future. We simply do not have time to waste.

We must change now.

In the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned about the fate of our world. Because of this, my family and I began to educate ourselves and shift our lifestyle away from consumerism and waste. We initially focused on the problems with plastic. Simple solutions already exist, but have not been embraced by society or supported by government. Plastic waste alone could significantly impair our way of life.

As I invested more time in trying to decrease my family’s plastic consumption, I discovered a variety of waste-free alternatives that are not widely used. I have worked to try and reduce my family’s plastic footprint slowly, but surely. Simple shifts every day have substantially decreased the contents of our recycling and garbage bins.

We now use bar shampoos, bamboo toothbrushes, laundry strips, jarred deodorants and toothpaste, as well as purchase whatever we can in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging.

Additionally, I have become more involved in the community to spread awareness for this urgent cause. I began an Instagram account and a website, “familyfootprint___,” to share with others how they can make simple changes in their everyday lives.

I have also been working with some organizations, including Green Century, Sustainabiliteens and government-based environmental groups, to educate and initiate positive thinking and change in our community.

In this column, I hope to inform local citizens about the need for climate action and the ways in which individuals and our community as a whole can make a significant difference by making small, simple changes. If each person altered one thing to reduce their footprint each week, we would begin the journey to a more livable future. We must act now. You can join the battle simply by reducing your waste.

Miranda Clark is a Grade 12 student at Earl Marriott Secondary. She writes monthly, offering tips on ways to reduce waste and minimize our environmental footprint.

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