Summertime is often synonymous with vacations, adventures, sports and social activities, as well as special events and festivals. Here are a few suggestions for how to have an awesome summer while respecting the environment.
Many people spend their summer vacation away from home, setting off on adventures across the province or the country. Considering that in Quebec, transportation is responsible for 40% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, why not think twice about how you get around?
There are many ways to do so without having too much of an impact on the environment. The first option would be a bike trip. Why not? It's a great way to get fresh air and enjoy the scenery while getting some exercise. There are tour packages for cyclists available, but you can also create your own itinerary and use other forms of transportation with your bike, like the train. A cycling vacation does require some physical fitness and organization, but the experience is well worth it!
If cycle touring is not your cup of tea, there’s always public transit. In Quebec and in Canada, we are very well served by passenger buses, trains and even carpooling services like Amigo Express. You could also follow carpooling groups on Facebook; it's super easy and a fun way to share the road and meet new people. And when you visit new cities, public transit is always easier, cheaper and much less stressful than getting around by car. Plus, it frees up your attention so that you can admire the urban scenery and architecture.
If you prefer to have more privacy during your getaway, opt for an electric car! Pleasant to drive, fast and with an ever longer battery life, electric cars will charm you while taking you to the most beautiful landscapes on your itinerary. Here are some suggestions to help you understand why electric vehicles are a great way to get around for your vacation.
Eco-Friendly Sports and Leisure Activities
For many, summer is an opportunity to get in shape. Why not combine health and fun with eco-friendliness? It’s easier than ever to enjoy eco-friendly recreation and sporting activities!
Équiterre has been working to raise awareness about organizing eco-friendly sporting events. For the past three years, Équiterre has hosted its eco-friendly race, La course Changer le monde, on Mount Royal, and for the first time this year, it was also held in Québec City, on the banks of the St-Charles River. It’s the only 100% eco-friendly and zero-waste race in Quebec.
What does a zero-waste race look like? It’s an event without promotional materials, t-shirts, medals, packaged snacks, and free of plastics. Participants are invited to bring their own water bottles. We serve healthy snacks such as fair-trade bananas and nuts in bulk. It goes to show that it is possible to organize events without consuming excessively. And of course, it’s a great opportunity to help Équiterre with its fundraising. You can still make a donation (open until August) to show that your support eco-friendly events : www.coursechangerlemonde.com.
This summer, many festivals in Montréal are going green
You would think that nowadays many events are becoming more eco-responsible. Yet, it’s still not that obvious. Studies show that we consume up to five times more at events.
However, more and more events are using Ecocup glasses (reusable glasses with deposit). Using this service incites people to not throw away their cups while significantly reducing waste since these cups are washed and reused.
There has also been a change in consumer equipment, including compostable utensils and dishes. Gradually, waste sorting stations (bins for recycling and composting) are also becoming more available.
Other good news, some events completely ban the sale of plastic water bottles! This is one of the most important issues relative to events. A veritable ecological pest, each plastic water bottle takes up to 1,000 years to decompose. In addition, only one in six bottles is recycled! And, throughout its entire life cycle (manufacturing, bottling, transport and landfilling), a water bottle is responsible for 2,000 times more energy consumption than the simple treatment and delivery of tap water. Bringing your own bottle is a very good start!
Plus, there are more and more reserved spaces to park bikes around festivals and major events. So, take your bike or public transit to get there!
Advice for Picnics and BBQs
When the weather is nice, everyone loves having a tasty feast with friends and family. Barbecues are ever more accessible these days: some are small, round or square, and some have wheels. You can take them anywhere! However, watch what goes on the grill!
A recent study published in Science magazine reveals that reducing your consumption of meat and dairy products is probably the most effective thing you can do to reduce your ecological footprint. In addition, most barbecue and picnic foods, such as industrial sausages or highly processed cold cuts, contain ingredients that are harmful to your health. Knowing this, what will you eat at your cookout? There are countless delectable vegetarian and vegan options you can grill!
For example, more and more companies are producing faux meats made from tofu, seitan, legumes or vegetables, as well as vegan cheese made from nuts. There's plenty to choose from! Also, if you have time and want to make them yourself, it’s quite possible, and it will taste even better. Here are some mouth-watering ideas to get you started. From Huffington Post. From the Journal de Montréal - in French only).
Of course, fruits and especially vegetables are always great on the barbecue! Try organic options from local markets. If you’ve signed up for an organic basket, it’s even more fun: you’ll discover new vegetables that you would never have thought to cook on the barbecue! There’s still time to sign up! (https://www.fermierdefamille.com/en/)
In Quebec, our beer, wine and artisan spirit producers make an exciting array of great products. There are so many local, organic products that are just as tasty and affordable, to make your summer feast a success.
And finally, be green: don’t buy plastic cutlery and dishes. Opt instead for compostable and/or reusable ones or bring your own dishes from home!
Équiterre wishes you a sunny, energizing summer, but above all a very green one!