Adjusting to a Green Culture

I spent the morning pulling dandelions out of my lawn with a fancy gadget called an “easy weed ejection system” (rolls eyes).  One of the many things I learned when I repatriated last year is that I can no longer use weed killer to get rid of the darn things, as the run-off pollutes Lake Ontario.  There have been many “green” initiatives which have taken place while I’ve been living overseas.

Another one is that we must pay for plastic shopping bags, in order to discourage their use.  So I now carry a purseload of re-usable shopping bags with me wherever I go, so I don’t have to deal with the guilt of knowing I’m the only one at the checkout who doesn’t have my own bag.

And don’t even get me started on garbage.  I can’t tell you how many times the trash I’ve hauled to the curb has not been collected by the garbage men because it was in the wrong bin or bag, not cut down to the required size, or put out on the wrong day.

If I sound like I’m complaining, I don’t mean to.  After living for 7 years in Dubai where I must have had an enormous carbon footprint – all that air conditioning, bottled drinking water to say nothing of the flights back home – it’s a relief to know I can now lead a more eco-friendly life.  But this morning it struck me that for a repatriate it’s these small changed details which constantly reinforce the feeling that you no longer understand how your own country operates and they can be very disconcerting.

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2 thoughts on “Adjusting to a Green Culture

  1. I had a reverse surprise after being so accustomed to sorting my garbage when living in Halifax. I was shocked when I first moved to Amsterdam and all of the waste in our flat went in the bin. Things have changed since then and here in Belgium recyclables are sorted out. Although in the city there is no separate compost-able waste. I ended up starting a small compost bin on my terrace to compensate.

    • Dubai is also starting a recycling campaign, but I have to say Toronto’s program of curbside pickup is hard to beat as it’s so convenient and comprehensive. However it’s a huge learning curve. Surprisingly it’s got more difficult now more things can be recycled – differentiating between different types of plastic can be very hard. And why can I recycle styrofoam trays but not styrofoam packing peanuts? Must be a real headache for new immigrants – even tho’ information is available in many languages, you have to know that in order to ask for them.

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