Sara Cowden-Roe, B.A., M.A., B.Ed., OCT

Keeping Our Communities Clean

Canada is a beautiful country, with an abundance of nature right outside your door. For international students, it’s sometimes surprising to see our wide open skies, tall forests amongst neighbourhoods, and well kept natural reserves where a variety of animals live. Truly, Waterloo is no exception, and TEMS students are lucky to see this nature up close. 
Because Canadians find nature to be connected to our culture, it is important for us to do our part in keeping it clean and healthy. Our guardian students, though they are international, feel the same way and often volunteer their time to help keep our community clean.  This Earth Day will be no exception.

Here are 7 ways to keep nature in mind this Earth Day.

1. Spend Time Outside

It seems simple, but spending time in nature helps you to appreciate it. Listen to the noises of the forest, or smell the grass beneath your feet. It might just be that moment of calm you’ve been needing. 

2. Walk or take public transit if you can

It’s not always possible to walk or take public transit, especially when you live in a place with Canada that is so large. We’re lucky to have a good transit system in Waterloo, Ontario with a light rail train, as well as being close to many walking paths. When students make the choice to walk to their destination, it’s not only good for their bodies but it also helps them appreciate nature as well (not to mention doesn’t use the carbon a car would!)

3. Leave no footprint

When spending time outdoors, we should be careful not to leave a footprint in nature – clean up after ourselves, be careful not to damage any vegetation. We want to leave the place the same way we found it so other people can experience it as well.

4. See the little things

It can be as simple as picking up litter on your walk home from school, or remembering to recycle your paper product instead of throwing it in the trash. The little things count when it comes to making good changes in your environmental habits. 

5. Be kind to animals

Animals like squirrels, birds, rabbits, foxes, even the occasional deer and wild turkey will sometimes wander into our backyard. We respect them by giving them space, and making sure we haven’t left anything out that might harm them (like a discarded balloon). 

6. Recycle properly

In Waterloo we practice three types of recycling: blue bin for plastic, blue bin for paper, and green bin for food waste. Following the guidelines for proper recycling helps ensure we’re doing our part when it comes to reducing waste. It may take a little extra sorting time, but it’s worth it!

7. Hold organized clean up events

Sometimes, clean up events help motivate everyone to pitch in. Our students love participating in a clean up (not just because it means time away from studying!). It’s a time to come together and do a good thing for your community. Make it an annual event!
Make a change in your habits now – go on and enjoy our beautiful country, and help us keep it that way!

Thanks for reading!