We are a dirty bunch

I got thinking about the amount of waste we create as a society and as individuals on a daily basis.

This past weekend, the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society hosted its 4th Annual River Clean-up.

Seventy-five volunteers scoured the river bottom and shores of the Cowichan River and retrieved over a ton of garbage.

Witnessing this got me thinking about the amount of waste we create as a society and as individuals on a daily basis, and what this means to our environment, not just here at home, but in our province, in our country, and in our world.

So I did some investigating on the internet, and some of the statistics I found were shocking.

By six months old, the average Canadian has consumed the same amount of resources as the average person in the developing world consumes in a lifetime (Recycling Council of Ontario).

In a lifetime, the average North American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. A 68 kg adult will leave a legacy of 40,825 kg of trash (Natural Resources Canada).

In 2002, Canadian governments and businesses disposed of 31 million tones of municipal, commercial & industrial, and construction and demolition waste. That’s 2.7 kg of waste for each Canadian per day! (Statistics Canada, 2004).

These are only a few of the statistics I was able to find, and whether or not you are a tree hugger, I think these statistics would make you stop and think. We need to do something differently.

I try to remember my cloth bags when I got to the grocery store, but I have to admit that most of the time I forget. And though I recycle and compost as much as I can, I have to admit that I don’t spend much of my day concerned about where my waste is going.

Sad, but true.

Perhaps every little bit counts, though. If I can change my behaviour one small step at a time, maybe I am contributing, even a small amount, to the solution and not the problem.

It will be interesting to hear some of the solutions offered at the CVRD meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. See page 3.

— editor@lakecowichangazette.com