Discover the knowledge GreenLearning obtained through the Random Acts of Green App 

This month, Abigail Shinger – Communications and Programs Specialist at GreenLearning tried to rack up as many “green” points as possible using the Random Acts of Green app. As someone who works daily on developing free programs and resources for teachers and youth about the environment and sustainability, she gets to try a bunch of fun activities that often result in behaviour change and this app is no different. In this interview-style article, she shares a quick timeline of her journey – including ways that you, too, can rack up some green points!

What were your first impressions after downloading the app?

My first impression after downloading the app was how easy it was to sign up and become a member of the Random Acts of Green community. The dashboard was super easy to navigate and I was able to start learning about the carbon footprint of my daily habits and how to change them right away!

How did you change your transportation habits to reduce GHG’s?

Typically I would commute about 30 kilometers to work Monday to Friday, one way. This takes me about 30 minutes and creates a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to work from home. The emissions saved from cutting out my commute earned me 900 green points for one day of not driving to work. I was awarded 30 green points for each kilometer not driven. 

You tried to reduce waste by thrifting. How did that go?

When I think of reducing waste, I immediately think of recycling and composting. While these are both really great ways to cut back on the amount of things we send to the landfill, there are so many other ways to reduce your waste! One of the most fun and exciting ways I was able to reduce my waste was from purchasing used clothing. The excessive textile production needed to keep up with the fashion industry results in a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Buying second hand is becoming more trendy,  causing curated vintage or thrift shops to pop up everywhere so I was able to support some local businesses that fit my style while shopping sustainably. For each item of clothing I purchased I saved 289 grams of greenhouse gases and I earned 120 green points!

From what you learned, what can others do to conserve water daily?

One of the main ways I was able to conserve water without taking fewer showers was by changing the way I shower. Instead of leaving the water running the entire time I turned off the water while I soaped up and turned the water back on to rinse. This was a simple and easy way to cut back on my water and energy use! By doing this I was able to save 655 litres of water in one week – I also earned 600 green points. 

Was finding a green way to do laundry difficult?

I found that doing my laundry in a sustainable way was not only better for the environment but also for my clothes! I made small adjustments like washing in cold water and was able to save almost 70 grams of greenhouse gas emissions per load which also helped me earn 7 green points! Washing my clothes in cold water helped stop my clothes from shrinking and kept colours looking sharp. Another great way I was able to reduce my carbon footprint in the laundry room was by simply air drying my clothes, this saved 318 grams of greenhouse gas emissions per load and gave me 10 green points! Air drying extended the life of my clothes by preventing shrinking, fabric pilling, and damage. 

How did  you reduce your carbon footprint with every meal?

Through the Random Acts of Green App I learned that diets high in animal products like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy contribute more than twice the CO₂ emissions per day than a plant-based diet. So I tried swapping out some of the animal products to find some plant-based favourites! One easy swap that I tried this week while earning green points was putting oat milk in my coffee rather than cream. For not eating meat for a week and reducing my egg and dairy intake I was able to save 15,050 grams of greenhouse gases and earn 2000 green points! Trying more plant-based foods was one of the most impactful changes I made when reducing my carbon footprint using the Random Acts of Green app!

To find out more about more about GreenLearning and their free education programs on energy, climate change and green economy, please visit their website at: www.greenlearning.ca