From the editor

When I was very young, eco-consciousness wasn’t yet a thing. There was no household recycling pickup, and certainly no green bins. Still, our parents made us kids use both sides of the paper — and the reverse side of cardboard packaging — for drawing pictures; chose quality items that would last; and passed outgrown clothes and toys along to other families. We brought glass containers for our restaurant leftovers and cotton bags for shopping.

Their efforts stayed with me as I grew up, but it wasn’t until Kyle and I became parents that we got really serious about reducing our footprint. The idea of village-sized landfills (remember the one the size of 100 soccer pitches in China that was filled 25 years ahead of schedule? That’s truly the stuff of nightmares) and oceans that I’d swam in as a child being full of trash worried me. Would our girls be able to enjoy the open water, or even go outside without checking the air quality index?

At our house, nothing goes into the trash until we’ve run the gamut of options — donate, reuse, repurpose, compost or recycle — which pays off in the form of less than a small bag of garbage every two weeks (I go through our trash to ensure nothing’s been missed. Even my husband says I’m hardcore). We combine errands to eliminate unnecessary vehicle trips and walk when possible (we’re lucky to live close to the downtown core, so this is actually feasible).

I know many others who are making similar efforts. Most of the people in our area’s Buy Nothing Group are just as determined to find homes for their unneeded items, and our neighbourhood park is strangely devoid of litter. One unifying thing may be that most of these people have or love children, and nurse a common wish for them to enjoy a cleaner, more sustainable world. In that vein — themed ‘Caring for our planet’ — Parenting Times’ May-June 2022 issue aims to inspire our readers to make a difference.

Veteran writer Sheryl Bennett-Wilson interviewed the masterminds behind several grassroots eco-friendly initiatives born in the Ottawa area. Janhabi Nandy spoke with local educators whose environmentally focused programs have changed the way our children interact with the natural world. Our columnists (themselves parents) discuss their own environment efforts: Read Jon Willing, Chris Hunt and Kita Szpak. And don’t forget photojournalist Mike Carroccetto, who explored a new line of Earth-friendly cleaning products.

We hope this edition motivates and entertains you. After you’ve dog-eared it, please pass it on, upcycle it into a collage, or chuck it into the black box. We won’t mind.

Best wishes,