Why the Library is Getting Greener
While some people may think that going green is just the latest fad, St. Thomas Public Library believes that going green just makes sense; it creates new technologies, new jobs and helps when everyone does their part for their environment, now and in the future. As a public organization, the library would rather be part of the solution, and help others to be, than part of the problem. As a provider of public services and a gathering place for St. Thomas residents of all ages, St. Thomas Public Library encourages others to help make the planet a cleaner, safer, and healthier place to live.
In summary, St. Thomas Public Library is providing information to help the community embrace change, and is setting an example for the community.
What the Library is Doing
- Providing recycling containers for glass, paper, aluminum, cardboard, and plastic
- Selling re-usable canvas bags for carrying your loaned material
- Re-using plastic shopping bags at book sales
- Creating art and crafts using recycled products (books, CDs, plastic containers, etc.) in the Children’s and Teens’ Services Department
- Providing the public with environmental information
- Establishing partnerships with public organizations to facilitate awareness programs
- Using environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products
- Using low odour and low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint for all renovations
- Recycling books through donations and book sales
- Recycling printer cartridges
- Using energy efficient lighting wherever possible
- Composting lawn waste
- Choosing ground cover plants to help the soil retain water, and reducing water requirements in warmer weather
- Composting foodstuffs by providing composter in staff lounge
- Using porcelain and glass cups and plates, rather than disposable, for social committee events
- Establishing a staff Green Team to help the Library get greener
Staff are encouraged to:
- Turn lights out when leaving an area
- Turn computers and monitors off or on stand-by when not in use
- Use scrap paper and double-sided printing
- Turn off power bars at the end of the day
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Use their own cups, plates, and utensils, rather than disposable
- Walk to work or carpool, whenever possible
The Green Team - Back to the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
The Green Team was established for three reasons:
1. To encourage change
2. Monitor what can be monitored
3. Increase public awareness
The Green Team puts the ideas in place, and monitors actions, at the library so St. Thomas Public Library can set an example for the community.
The Green Team is made up of staff members from each department. The Green Team meets regularly to discuss what else the library can do to be more green, establish partnerships, and plan awareness events. The members of this team will change on an annual basis.
Pedometer Toolkits offer solutions to many problems. Appreciate what the area has to offer by getting back to Mother Nature. Save electricity by walking rather than going to the gym, and teach your children better habits by spending time together and staying fit.
Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? You're about to find out.
This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. After answering 12 easy questions you'll be able to compare your Ecological Footprint to what other people use and to what is available on this planet.
Caution: This quiz may surprise you, shock you, or make you think. Please remain calm... but not too calm!
St. Thomas' Compost and Recycling Guidelines
St. Thomas has an outstanding waste management program. Recognized as a national leader, our local efforts in managing solid waste, recycling and waste water management have been the model used for development of similar programs throughout North America.
Tips From the Green Team
Members of the Green Team and other staff of the library have been researching ways individuals and families can become more environmentally friendly.
Many cleaning products contain harsh, toxic chemicals. By making your own cleaning products, you not only help your environment, but you keep your home safer for your family and save money.
Most homemade cleaning products are versatile, work better than store-bought products, and are easy to make!
Homemade Beauty Recipies
Your body is every bit as delicate as the environment. Why not make some simple changes in your life that will benefit both? By using inexpensive, ecologically friendly products, you can create dozens of beauty products for your hair, skin, and body.
Coffee and Tea Tips
- Avoid bleached disposable coffee filters and buy unbleached reusable filters - or spend an extra buck or two on a gold fiter that you can wash and resuse everyday.
- Buy a couple of portable mugs, one for work or school and one for weekends about town, so you're never without.
- Staying at the coffee shop? Ask for a ceramic mug rather than getting a takeout cup.
- Minimize your eco-footprint by buying in bulk. Brew that oolong in organic, fair-trade loose-leaf form instead of bags.
These tips comes from the book "Ecoholic [When You're Addicted to the Planet]: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada"
The Top 5 Eating Habits to Heal the World
1. Support local growers, be it through farmers' markets, farm-fresh food box deliveries, or just keeping your eye out for local labels at the grocery store.
- The Horton Farmers' Market on Manitoba Street, a half block north of Talbot Street, is open Saturday from 8 am to Noon May to October.
2. Go vegetarian or reduce meat/dairy intake - meat production uses up 20 times as much energy as growing grain.
3. Choose fair-trade coffee, sugar, chocolate, and anything else you can find so you can be sure you're not supporting "sweatshops in the fields."
4. Buy certified organic products to avoid pesticide panic and spare waterways, wildlife and workers from encounters with toxic pesticides.
5. Pass on resource-intensive, packaging-heavy fast food and heavily processed junk.
These tips come from the book "Ecoholic [When You're Addicted to the Planet]: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada"
10 Environmentally Friendly Things You Can Do For Your Children
1. Walk or bike your kids to school, or, if that's not feasible, ride your bikes on weekends - a family that bikes together saves the planet together!
2. Keep them inside on smog-alert days (going for a car ride when there's a smog-alert is a big no-no!) And be honest: explain how pollution from cars, smokestacks and leaving the lights on makes it hard to breathe!
3. Make sure their toys are PVC-free - you don't want them breathing in off-gassing plastic softeners.
4. Show them that less is more: don't reward them by showering them with toys - the planet doesn't need the resource extraction, chemical pollution and landfill clogging that comes with making and eventually trashing toys.
5. Feed them organic foods whenever you can afford it so they get a pesticide-, hormone- and antibiotic-free diet.
6. Say no to high-fat, high-sugar, chemical-laden processed foods - there are plenty of natural alternatives, even for packaged kids' snacks.
7. Use natural shampoos, creams and soaps: what you put on your tot's body is just as important as what you put in it.
8. Create a non-toxic nursery or kids' room, full of earth-loving children's books.
9. Resist the urge to swaddle your baby in landfill-clogging disposable diapers. If cloth is out of the question, get unbleached, chlorine-free throw-away diapers.
10. Teach them to love nature. Take them to the park, on little hikes, or for picnics in conservation centres, where there are often all sorts of earth-friendly educational actvities for young 'uns.
This tip comes from the book "Ecoholic [When You're Addicted to the Planet]: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada"
Government of Canada
This government produced website covers a wide variety of topics concerning natural resources including: earth sciences, energy, forests, minerals, metals, and mining, natural hazards, etc.
For Farmers: NRC has a renewable energy tool for farmers!
Another information-packed, Government of Canada website. This website covers everything from grants and rebates, to acts and regulations, to "turning the corner". Basically, this website lets the country know what the Government of Canada is doing about the environmental crisis.
Using Less - Living Better!
Just because it isn't April 22 doesn't mean you can forget about energy conservation and eco-awareness for the other 364 days in the year.
Visit the Earth Day Canada (EDC) website for official Earth Day merchandise, Earth Day FAQs, trivia, resources, public service announcements, and useful links.
Earth Day is a name used for two different observances, both held annually during spring in the northern hemisphere, and autumn in the southern hemisphere. These are intended to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the Earth's environment. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day, which was founded by John McConnell in 1969, each year on the March equinox, while a global observance originated by Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, and since January 1970 also called Earth Day, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22. (Wikipedia)