I have learned that Torontonians are incredibly environmentally conscientious. Now, I used to think that California is no slouch on this issue – except for our love and passion for our cars. My dad had us recycling aluminum cans before this was in vogue. And, “green” is the word all over So Cal right now. But they’ve got nothing on what’s going on up here in Toronto.
First, they’ve got a really good public transit system that people actually use all the time! They’ve got carpool lanes on their busy streets, bike lanes everywhere – that people actually use – and they’re constantly talking about how to improve what is already pretty good. They also have an intense recycling program that is in place everywhere, from street corners to apartment buildings. (They gave us our little blue bucket for our apartment and told us that if we loose it, we’ll have to pay $25 to replace it!)
In So Cal, environmentally conscious folks bring their own bags to the grocery store. California almost approved a state-wide ban on plastic shopping bags this summer, but it was voted down. In Toronto, the law against plastic bags has been in effect since 2008. You have to pay 5 cents per bag if you want one. Very few people buy bags and almost everyone has their own reusable bags here. I was tickled when I saw another woman using a Trader Joe’s bag, like mine, here in Toronto, but I wasn’t able to catch up to her to talk to her about it.
I think all this is actually pretty cool. You don’t hear anyone complaining or arguing about it. Everyone seems to be on board and wanting to do more for the environment.
But, what’s weird is just how much being environmentally conscious is in the minds of Canadians up here. We heard 2 different sermons at 2 different churches where the preacher was giving examples of heinous sins. Both times one of the examples they gave was environmental degradation! It was, like: murder, rape, abuse, environmental degradation. Wow. That is commitment.