Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seven actions you can take to help the environment

Spring is here and it is a great time to help protect our precious land, air and water. Together we can make a difference. Here are seven actions that can make a big difference.

1. Attend a community tree fair

This spring, we will be hosting tree fairs at community parks all around Calgary, with free resources and demonstrations showing you how to care for your trees and plant new trees. There will also be lots of fun activities for kids, entertainment and food options. Together we can recover our trees that were damaged in the September 2014 snowstorm and help our trees grow to what they once were. For locations and dates, visit the "Events" tab of

2. Reduce idling

When vehicles are left running while parked, they continue to produce emissions that contribute to air pollution and climate change. Turning off the engine is a great way to reduce emissions and save money. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning your engine off and restarting it. If you want to start an idle free zone at your school or workplace visit for idle free posters that can be downloaded and printed.

3. Plant some smarty plants

This summer enjoy a beautiful yard that is easy to maintain. Smarty plants are part of The City of Calgary’s YardSmart program and are plants that don’t require a lot of water and still thrive in Calgary’s unique climate. Since summer water usage can increase by 50 per cent, becoming water and YardSmart can reduce your summer watering bill and this means more savings for you. Visit to find a list of smarty plants and other YardSmart actions.

4. Use a rain barrel

A good rain shower can quickly fill a rain barrel and provide a free source of water for your yard. Your plants will love the rain water and will flourish. Green Calgary is hosting a number of rain barrel sales this spring and summer, to see the dates and locations of the sales go to

5. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

Reducing the amount of material that gets sent to the landfill is important to everyone. Thanks to the efforts of all Calgarians, we’ve recycled more than 350,000,000 kilograms of material in the last five years. By reducing, reusing and recycling, we are doing more with less – and that is great for the environment. The City of Calgary has created a searchable online tool called What Goes Where and it has helped thousands of Calgarians find out how to give a second life to materials. Check it out at the next time you are wondering where something goes.

6. Just compost it

At this time of year, nearly a third of our residential garbage is yard waste. Rather than putting your old leaves, branches, and plants in the garbage, give these materials a second life by turning them into compost. Bring your yard waste for composting to any City landfill for free until the end of May. Visit for more information on the program and landfill hours.

7. Eat local

Local food is miles better. The average meal travels 2500 kilometres to reach your plate – that’s a lot of fuel, energy and carbon emissions. Growing your own food or eating food that is produced locally is a great way to save energy and help protect the environment. The added bonus is that local food is fresher and taste great! If you're looking for more information on local food or are interested in joining a community garden, visit

Please visit to find out more information on spring in Calgary.

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