SOS, Canada – Yours truly, the Environment
“Imagine if trees gave off Wi-Fi signals, we would be planting so many trees, we’d probably save the planet, too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe”
Climatic changes as a result of global warming are happening everywhere – the earth’s mean surface temperature has risen, polar ice caps are melting, many animals are migrating to cooler regions because their homes are unfit for habitation. But till the effects become glaringly obvious, we’ll end up sitting around waiting for dead birds to fall out of the sky and for neon green water in our sinks, such is human nature. Greenhouse gases, believe it or not, before the concept of global warming came along, were initially required to keep the earth at an optimal temperature, without which there would not be enough heat trapped within our atmosphere to sustain basic survival. But now the use of fossil fuels has surpassed optimum levels taking a serious toll on our precious ozone layer. And as civilization grows, the problem grows.
Here’s how it works – emissions being the key problem, the levels of carbon dioxide emissions have escalated dangerously, and the earth, previously protected by the ozone layer, is now heating up like an oven. As a result of this overdose of pollutants, the ozone layer is starting to deplete, but we already knew that, didn’t we? Canada, albeit with its densely forested areas and the Kyoto protocol (from which it eventually withdrew itself), which is the only legally binding international agreement that aims at keeping greenhouse gas emissions in check, is still contributing largely to global warming. To mark this, according to its CDI (Commitment to Development Index) in 2013, which assesses environmental efforts, Canada’s environment score has dropped since the last CDI assessment in 2003. “This reflects rising fuel production and its (Canada) withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only treaty governing the emissions of heat-trapping gases. Canada has dropped below the U.S. to the bottom of the environment component.” This is not surprising with places like Sarnia that has 40% of Canada’s chemical industries packed into one area, being so polluted, it’s been termed the “chemical valley”; and Montreal has been ranked the 12th most polluted place in the world by WHO.
“There is no planet-B”
So what do we do? Raging wars against insensitive corporate giants that are solely responsible for most environmental issues, with their dumping of effluents into water-bodies and mindless destruction of forest land for expansion, will be met with million-dollar PR campaigns, to “handle” the situation through bureaucratic and unsuccessful lawsuits. Putting our hope in high tech stuff that is designed to sequester emissions and genetically engineer supposed solutions isn’t the way to go, and neither is hoping that someday, the world will be saved by divine intervention that will change the way we lead our lives before it’s too late. In spite our unfair practices, nature still has a solution for this tyranny, trees. Trees function to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, the main gas that causes an over-heated atmosphere. So keep growing trees, it’s that easy. According to studies done, 450 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the point of no return that will lead to irreversible dangers. The level according to studies done in 2014 was 400ppm, so we’re not far behind. Hence, if we don’t take restoring our green cover seriously, we’ll be in for a tough ride.
When we look inward to our homes, there are many things that contribute to our very own carbon footprints. With our yellow light bulbs, deodorants and coolants containing CFCs and inevitable e-waste contributing to global warming within our very homes, we are equally to blame, personally. While trying to escape the dangers of the toxic environment out the
re, we don’t realize that the air we breathe within the confines of our humble abodes poses several threats as well. Sadly, since we can’t go planting trees in our homes, we need to eliminate products that contribute to carbon emissions.
Window Covers Canada
Window dressings, in actuality, are not just elements interior decorators use for aesthetic appeal. Window dressings are said to reduce energy consumption up to 45%, as they lessen the amount of heat gained through windows and lock heat in for places experiencing very low temperatures. One of the most energy efficient shades in Canada is the cellular shades, designed with a honeycomb-like structure that provides insulation and thermal protection as they trap air, keeping it cool during summer and warm during winters, taking the load off a home’s HVAC system. Note that energy saving is not only for the wallet but the environment as well. Shades come with a Green Guard certification that promises that they’ve passed stringent environmental requirements ensuring a healthy indoor environment. These shades that are meant to improve public health and the quality of life are tested for chemical emissions such as VOCs, which is a major source of indoor air pollution.
The Green Guard Environmental Institute, a non-profit organization, functions as a reliable third party certifier that guides purchasing and production principles with around 400 green building codes, standards, guidelines, appraisal systems and procurements policies. Even if your shades are made out of petroleum-based materials like PVC and polyester, they will not pose a threat to your health. This is very important because when you think about it, PVC can be quite scary, as the cheaper qualities that do not conform to established standards give out lead dust when exposed to heat, forms layers on the shades, making a very toxic environment, especially for children. Shades from well-known brands, like Graber, for example, are Microban certified to prevent the formation of mildew, stains and odour, keeping bacteria and fungus growth at bay.
Window shades also come with dual colours, which have a darker colour on one side and a lighter colour on the other, so the lighter side reflects heat, and the darker side absorbs heat. The window shades in Canada have to be placed in a way that the lighter side faces the warmer side, outward during summer and inward during winter. Whichever window treatment you pick, ensure that the shades are installed close to the window so that an air pocket is formed between the window and the shades, offering better insulation.
Some window treatment companies, like Graber, Crown, and Norman, take environmental responsibilities to the next level; they actually have a corporate “green team” that continuously works towards creating more eco-friendly products. Apart from the Green Guard certification, they’ve got certificates from the United States Green Building Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, OEKO-TEX, URS Corporation that has audited them to their Green House Gas Protocol Standards, and Green Built Home and for good enough reason. Their concept of sustainable yield forest management that allows them to use their own renewable hardwood is an excellent initiative that ensures that the precious carbon cycle, i.e. the production of oxygen and the absorption of carbon dioxide, is not thrown off balance. Their window treatments are also crafted from renewable substances like bamboo, jute and grasses. Better still, they recycle all materials, be it metals, plastics, paper, fabrics and waste woods, in their plants and design packaging that uses 44% of the post-consumer recycled material. They even conserve water by using a closed loop cooling system to manufacture plastics.