Speaker 1: this is LifeS peak a
Speaker 2: podcast about well being mental health and building resilience through knowledge. Here's Marianne Wisenthal.
Speaker 2: I'm speaking
Speaker 1: today with award
Speaker 2: winning environmental journalist and Eco advocate Candice Batista Candice is also a documentary filmmaker and the founder and editor in chief of the Eco hub, which features shortcuts and smart ideas for healthy green living with a goal to empower people to shift their habits and live more mindfully.
Speaker 2: She joins me today from Toronto Canada, welcome to the Life Speak podcast.
Speaker 1: Thanks so much for having me. How are you today?
Speaker 2: Well, I'm excited to speak to you.
Speaker 1: So you've been
Speaker 2: helping people go green for
Speaker 1: Over 20 years. When
Speaker 2: did you know that this was
Speaker 1: going to be your life's work?
Speaker 1: I think I was born an environmentalist actually, I don't think you could do it for as long as I've been doing it if it wasn't ingrained in your blood. So I grew up in South Africa and I was very lucky and blessed to go on safaris on a regular basis rather. So
Speaker 1: for me, a typical family vacation was seeing animals in their natural environment. So
Speaker 1: I had a very deep appreciation and love for animals in the natural world from a very early age and I spent most of my school years doing project on ecology on conservation on elephants and giraffes and all that kind of thing. So I think it was kind of just in my blood.
Speaker 1: And then as I got a little bit older and realized you know, I was fortunate enough to travel around the world as well with my dad and was fortunate enough to see how other countries were functioning and doing different things.
Speaker 1: I grew up during apartheid. So the media and news was always very interesting to me because what I saw in other countries,
Speaker 1: it was such a discrepancy as to what we were allowed to watch and what we were allowed to see. And so I kind of fell in love with journalism. And in that time journalism was
Speaker 1: respected and not like it is today with fake news and all this other nonsense.
Speaker 1: But to journalism is, you know, seeking the truth and showing all sides of the story. So that's kind of how I fell into
Speaker 1: television and eco living was kind of combining my love for the planet and my love for
Speaker 1: the natural world with my love for television and specifically journalism and how it's, you know, really about telling the truth.
Speaker 1: Unfortunately, we're just in a really weird place right now with truth and journalism.
Speaker 2: How can people know
Speaker 1: what they're reading and hearing
Speaker 2: is the truth about
Speaker 1: the environment and where we're at?
Speaker 1: Well, don't get your news from social media. I mean, that's the first thing we know that
Speaker 1: big social media act. You know, those are all corporations that have one goal in mind and that's to make money. They're not really concerned about telling the truth.
Speaker 1: I would look for a reputable companies that are longstanding and trustworthy and it's harder and harder to figure out who that is. Honestly, it's becoming more and more difficult to know what is true and what is fake news. And I think social media is unfortunately really driving that trend
Speaker 1: and pushing confusion and conspiracy theories and all kinds of stuff. So
Speaker 1: you know, I think you've got to go outside of your box. So if you're only getting your news from facebook, try and get your news from, you know, maybe watch television for an hour or maybe
Speaker 1: go to a few other online platforms that aren't sponsored by big corporations and that kind of thing.
Speaker 1: It's hard and it's getting harder 20 years ago. If you ask me this question, I'd be able to list, you know, a bunch of resources. But today I would say, you know, looking at websites like mine
Speaker 1: the ecolab dot c a treehugger dot com,
Speaker 1: environmental defense, those kinds of websites where it's reputable information and there's no Bs
Speaker 2: As we're talking now, the United Nations Climate Change Conference or Cop 26 has been taking place in Scotland and rural leaders are discussing their commitments to mitigate climate change.
Speaker 1: What are your
Speaker 2: impressions of what is being promised?
Speaker 1: It's a whole lot of Bs
Speaker 1: I've watched these summits over the last 20 years, all of these leaders get up and they tell us how bad it is and they tell us that they're on target or they're gonna have emissions that reduce emissions by this type of year and about this many years and Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah. That's literally all I hear.
Speaker 1: The problem is as Canada is so behind when it comes to its emission targets
Speaker 1: There's lots of new government funded reports coming out right now that says that Canada is only on track to reduce emissions by about 16%. That's far very far from the 40% reduction by 2030 that they actually out laid during the Paris agreement.
Speaker 1: Why are we so behind? Well I think it's our over reliance on trying to make fossil fuels more efficient
Speaker 1: rather than rapidly phasing them out.
Speaker 1: So Canada has a very large environmental footprint. So does china so does the U. S. And so does India.
Speaker 1: And we're just not seeing action and I don't think that any action will come out of this. It's a lot of talk for some reason the environment and climate change has become a political issue and it's not a political issue. It's a moral issue. You know we as a species
Speaker 1: are destroying the only home that we have and unfortunately our government leaders because they're wrapped up in partnerships and different kinds of things with big fossil fuel industries both here in the US and other parts of the world.
Speaker 1: It's virtually impossible that they would be able to reach any of the targets that they talk about. So in my opinion the next two weeks. You know we're going to see lots of news coverage on this.
Speaker 1: We're going to see all these big leaders standing up and talking about it. But honestly when they come back,
Speaker 1: I have absolutely no hope that they're going to actually meet any of the targets that they put forward.
Speaker 2: That's depressing.
Speaker 1: It's very depressing.
Speaker 1: Think of how I feel. You know, I've been doing this literally for a little bit over 20 years now and sometimes I can't believe I'm still talking about this stuff. I literally have to take a moment and say that in all these years, the 20 years that I've been talking about this
Speaker 1: not much has changed
Speaker 1: and it doesn't seem that we're on track to change anything
Speaker 1: moving forward, we need a complete and utter overhaul of our system.
Speaker 1: And right now we are just so addicted to fossil fuels. We're so addicted to plastic packaging and plastic conveniences.
Speaker 1: You look at plastic, plastic is a fossil fuel industry
Speaker 1: and the plastic producers get unbelievable kickbacks and tax incentives from the government, you know, to continue producing more plastic.
Speaker 1: So when you see leaders standing up there kind of speaking out of both sides of their mouths, they're telling the fossil fuel industry one thing and they're telling everybody else, another thing
Speaker 2: I want to bring it back to home because when you hear that you think to yourself, I'm recycling and composting, I'm avoiding plastic. It can really feel like a drop in the bucket,
Speaker 1: What do you
Speaker 2: tell people who say, I just don't see the point when big corporations are producing
Speaker 1: a lot more greenhouse gasses.
Speaker 1: Well, I mean it's really about what kind of life you want to live and what kind of legacy you want to leave for your family and your Children.
Speaker 1: You know, if everybody walked around with that kind of mentality like, oh well, you know, they're not doing it so who cares? We'd never get anywhere in society with anything. And you know, we've seen in history that one person can make a difference. You can look to people like Gandhi like Mandela,
Speaker 1: these are one man or one person who made a huge difference in the world in a very positive way.
Speaker 1: Now we're seeing young people with Gray to tune berg as the master of the ship kind of leading that charge and
Speaker 1: I think that all of those things are important for me.
Speaker 1: I've wanted to give up many many times. I thought, why am I even bothering with this recycling? You know,
Speaker 1: the thing is for me is that it makes me feel good as a human being. I feel
Speaker 1: better. I don't want to be a part of destroying the planet. I feel as humans, it's our responsibility to be stewards of the planet.
Speaker 1: I'm not trashing the planet in so many different ways. I mean we have a biodiversity crisis that we're dealing right now and I think the biggest problems that come with governments and action is that they're not addressing the root cause of fossil fuel pollution
Speaker 1: and that is the production and overproduction of goods. So as far as the person goes, it's the responsibility falls on companies and government, but the responsibility also does fall in the consumer
Speaker 1: as a consumption society. We have the power to stop buying so much correct.
Speaker 1: We do have the power to do that. And it really comes to when you look at going green and it's not about changing your light bulbs and going for beeswax wraps and composting. Yes, all of that's important.
Speaker 1: But honestly, the most important thing that a person can do is to just stop consuming so much stuff.
Speaker 1: That's where the problem lies is that we have a government that are not looking at the root cause and not addressing the root cause of fossil fuel pollution and a lot of that is consumption
Speaker 1: our consumption and just our throw away society is also driving fossil fuels. So we have to take a look at ourselves the garbage and the stuff that we're producing on a regular basis and say, okay,
Speaker 1: it's time for me to step back and make a change. And if everybody did that,
Speaker 1: we would start to see the effects of the regular person. But unfortunately people that are living this green life for this eco friendly life are a very small portion of society.
Speaker 1: And it is not easy. It's not easy to walk this path because society is just not set up in a way that helps me make more mindful choices when I'm out. We are in a linear economy,
Speaker 1: we're in the take make and throw away society as opposed to being in a circular economy
Speaker 1: where we extract resources from the natural world and we reuse them over and over and over again. So we make products that we know we can reuse and reuse and turn them into other things. A lot of the time with recycling, people think that recycling is, you know, the be all and end all and it is not
Speaker 1: recycling is the smallest component. And actually most of the things that are being recycled are actually being down cycled. So they're taking plastic and they're turning it into other plastic goods that are cheap quality that are landing up in landfill. Anyway,
Speaker 1: I want to go
Speaker 2: back to something that you mentioned earlier that sort of keeps you going and keeping up the fight and recycling and living sustainably because it makes you feel good, it's good for your mental health.
Speaker 2: The things that we're reading in the headlines, even if you only read headlines and nothing else,
Speaker 2: we know that if we don't make drastic changes, that the future is
Speaker 1: quite bleak and
Speaker 2: this is having quite an impact on people's mental health. I know it's affected my own. I can see it's affected yours. Just how much of an issue is eco anxiety.
Speaker 1: Well, I think it's more of an issue today.
Speaker 1: One because of the amount of news that were exposed to, We are in a 24 hour news stream or turning on our phones. The second we wake up, we go on instagram twitter or whatever it is, so our brains don't have time to take a second to actually absorb the information and really understand what's going on. So, eco anxiety is a real thing.
Speaker 1: We're seeing a growing and we're seeing it from a number of different perspectives. So you can have anxiety about the state of the planet, what's the future? What is the future for my kids
Speaker 1: that can create anxiety and stress in the body?
Speaker 1: You can have anxiety of stress if you're seeing somebody, you know, a co worker, a colleague not recycling something, probably throwing something in the compost bin that should go in the recycling bin, you know, even that can elicit
Speaker 1: stress and anxiety because you're trying to do good and then you see other people just not caring, right?
Speaker 1: So it is a problem, It's not an actual diagnosis,
Speaker 1: but it is a real thing. I think it's interesting because social media is doing two things in my opinion. One,
Speaker 1: it's raising awareness, it's allowing us to see more of the problems, but at the same time, because it's so fast and so much is happening, it makes us more complacent, where we're like, this is so big, I can't even tackle it on out.
Speaker 1: So with eco anxiety, the key is to a number of different things. So the thing is to spend as much time in nature as you possibly can.
Speaker 1: Studies have shown that even looking at pictures of nature or even going for a walk in your own neighborhood and looking at trees can reduce anxiety and stress monumentally.
Speaker 1: Also learning different breathing techniques if you feel that you're getting stressed or anxious in the moment based on something that you've just watched,
Speaker 2: try and breathe
Speaker 1: in your belly. You know, we tend to breathe in our chests, which is where we hold all our energy typically when we get upset. So learning to breathe in your belly and there's lots of mindful and meditation apps that you can look at to help with that. That's helped me immensely.
Speaker 1: And then it's also looking for things that you can take part in and it's taking action. So yes, all the little things that you do at home at work, but it's also donating and
Speaker 1: connecting with groups and organizations that you trust and that you like and that you want to help them get their message out. That could be through a protest through sitting at home and just writing an email to a brand or a government agency, sometimes it's just as simple as that is just taking that action,
Speaker 1: which in the end will actually help you feel a little better.
Speaker 1: But yes, it's a very hard subject. It's hard subject matter to deal with in a lot of the times myself included, you can feel very helpless and very overwhelmed
Speaker 1: because you keep seeing all of this news cycle and it's important to take a break from social media. It's important to understand that that is just a constant stream of information. A lot of it is nuanced and a lot of it is just you're just reading the headline.
Speaker 1: So take a break and also understand that it's okay to feel the way you feel.
Speaker 1: We've seen a real shift in how people look at mental health and how we approach mental health. And I think that that's a really great thing.
Speaker 2: I've heard you say the simple act of thinking twice before buying something can have a big impact. Can you explain what you mean?
Speaker 1: Well, I mean, you know, we all have impulse buying. I mean I've done it a million times in the past
Speaker 1: and have I done it lately probably.
Speaker 1: But the thing is is that if you're in a store you're online and you're looking at an item and you're thinking to yourself, do I want this? Do I need this? So I really need this? What am I going to do when I'm done with this? Is that recyclable. Am I going to be able to get rid of this responsibly. Once you start thinking about those things do I have something in my home that's similar to this that I could use?
Speaker 1: Most likely. Yes.
Speaker 1: So it's just about thinking it's about being mindful both as to what you're using that product for and how you're going to dispose of that product. But then also thinking about the person on the other end of that product. We tend to think of our products as these innocuous things that we buy, they come into our homes and we throw them out.
Speaker 1: But somebody touched that item, somebody somewhere in the world held that
Speaker 1: think of it with clothing. I'll use that as a specific example.
Speaker 1: Fast fashion is a real issue and it's not just the environmental problem. It's also the issue of how we're treating the people that are making the clothes that we're wearing. If you're buying a T shirt, that's 5 99 you should question that. A t shirt should not cost 5 99. If you just think about the extraction of the cotton. So the cotton was growing,
Speaker 1: they used herbicides and pesticides on the cotton. Then the cotton was picked. Then that was sent to a factory. Then it was turned into fabric. Then that fabric was sent to another factory where the item is now where the garment is now made into a pattern and the pattern is sewing. Then somebody folds that and launders that and irons that, then it's put on another truck and gone to another factory when it's then shipped to you.
Speaker 1: So if you think about the life cycle of just a T shirt and I'm not even talking about the environmental footprint, I'm just talking about how many people were involved in that t shirt, How can it possibly be $5? Somebody somewhere is paying the price. And it's typically the workers that are making the items, picking the cotton
Speaker 1: and actually making the items. So
Speaker 1: it's really about thinking, you know, like do you want to buy something that's harming another person? And if you think about it before you buy it, studies show that probably, you know, most of the studies have been done from a financial standpoint where they say, okay, would somebody buy this if it costs less or costs more typical? Something to do with like a monetary thing,
Speaker 1: but you can apply the same principles probably you think, no, it's too expensive. I'll put it back
Speaker 1: so you can look at it from the same perspective as if you think about the person and you're knowingly supporting
Speaker 1: fast fashion. Will you put the item back? My hope is yes, you will.
Speaker 2: I read the blog that you posted quite recently on the eco hub called the worst of the worst fast fashion brands
Speaker 2: and it was extremely eye opening for me as a parent of between,
Speaker 2: who loves all of those fashion brands
Speaker 2: and I think anybody listening right now really, if we're going to do one thing right now, go and read that article because I think it's extremely eye opening,
Speaker 2: You mentioned a very startling statistic, 92 million tons of textiles are discarded each year and end up in landfill.
Speaker 2: How can someone listening right now be a more responsible consumer
Speaker 1: with fashion or just in general
Speaker 2: in general
Speaker 1: stop buying so much stuff? Honestly, that's the biggest advice that I can give is that we live in a very privileged country
Speaker 1: and we have a lot of stuff at our fingertips and a lot of us are especially in the green sector, are very privileged,
Speaker 1: it's us that have the responsibility to make the change. We can't put it on marginalized communities and poor people, you know, telling a poor person not to buy something from a fast fashion brand that is just not the way to go.
Speaker 1: It's all extremely privileged educated, middle aged white people and women usually because we make most of the buying choices when it comes to
Speaker 1: where you buy your kids clothing, where you buy your food.
Speaker 1: In most households, women are still making that decision.
Speaker 1: I mean we need more women in power. We really do. We need more people, women and people of color in power,
Speaker 1: it really does come back to that. But honestly, the biggest advice that I can give is to just stop buying so much stuff.
Speaker 1: The thing with fast fashion, it's so interesting because you mentioned, you know, your teenage daughter is really into those brands,
Speaker 1: I mean you literally can't blame them because they go on social media and they see all these big influencers buying these clothes that are super cheap,
Speaker 1: They're coming out with 52 seasons of clothing, tens of thousands of garments are produced every year, you know, that wasn't the case, 20 years ago.
Speaker 1: 20 years ago, you had four seasons or two seasons even, you had your summer spring stuff and your full winter stuff, that was it
Speaker 1: today, we've got just clothes coming out every week, new clothing is coming out, so do you really need all of that stuff? How many black dresses do you need? How many pairs of black shoes or black boots do you need?
Speaker 1: You know, so it's stopped buying so much stuff and being mindful of the stuff that you are buying, that's really what it comes down to.
Speaker 2: I want to talk about families because we've already touched on this a little bit,
Speaker 1: what
Speaker 2: advice can you offer to parents who are looking to raise kids to be more aware of their own footprint because so many of the shiny fun toys for little kids
Speaker 2: are made of plastic, so how young can we start talking to our Children about this and their impact?
Speaker 1: I mean as soon as they have an understanding of the world you can start talking about that, I mean you're going to know your kids better, Every kid is a little bit different,
Speaker 1: but kids are unbelievable and we are seeing a lot of schools do a lot of great things
Speaker 1: and most of the times the kids are teaching their parents about recycling and about other things. The best thing to do is talk to your kids, talk to them about what they're doing in school, what are you learning in school about recycling? Let's talk about it. What are you learning in school about composting? Let's talk about it. What are you learning about fast fashion?
Speaker 1: Are there programs that you have seen that you might think are interesting that you could bring into your classroom,
Speaker 1: you know, there's an organization called Fashion Takes Action, it's one of the biggest non for profit organizations in Canada, that's directly related to slow and fast fashion. And they actually have a school curriculum based on fast fashion that they go into schools and they teach. So it's maybe
Speaker 1: looking for things like that as a parent that you can say to your school, Hey,
Speaker 1: I think this would be really interesting. What do you think, have that conversation, have the conversation with your kids.
Speaker 1: And the biggest thing is kids leads by example, if you're not doing it, your kid's not going to do it.
Speaker 1: You know, it's the same thing with being physically active if you're not physically active, but you're trying to make your child be physically active and you're not physically active, you have to lead by example,
Speaker 1: Children look up to their parents, Children love their parents, right? Most of the time,
Speaker 1: you know, most kids want to be like their parents
Speaker 1: lead by example, if you're gonna talk the talk then you've got to walk the walk.
Speaker 2: So that's looking for brands that are using ethical sustainable practices, not purchasing things in the first place, but if you have to look for those brands and also buying a second hand.
Speaker 1: Yes, 100%. I was just gonna say that when it comes to kids toys. Yes, it's difficult, but kids usually have one or two toys that they are obsessed with and then you bring other toys into the house and they land up sitting in a toy box forever.
Speaker 1: And this has happened a million times with parents that I help. You know, when I go into people's homes and help them to go green produce chemicals in cleaning products or whatever it might be.
Speaker 1: You can rent toys,
Speaker 1: there's toy libraries where you can go grab a toy, your kid can play with it for a while and when they get bored of it goes back to the library. So that's one way to do it. And then yes, it is being a parent and saying,
Speaker 1: I'm not bringing plastic toys into the house because of this reason and explain it to them
Speaker 1: that plastic toys don't get recycled. They're typically made up of lots of different materials.
Speaker 1: If it's a plastic toy car, you've got the rubber wheels, you've got little bits of metal holding the tires together, you've got the plastic shell, It's typically cheap, hard plastic. Most of it is PVC or what's known as polyvinyl chloride because it's a very hard, durable plastic, which is what they like to use for kids toys because they
Speaker 1: play with them and they rough around and
Speaker 1: throw things and that kind of stuff. So ultimately it's your decision. You have the power as a parent, not your kids
Speaker 1: and uh, you know, you're the boss, so use that to your advantage, you know, and it's a great teaching moment. We're not using this product because of this issue.
Speaker 2: In the past 18 months, I've noticed major coffee chains are no longer serving people in reusable cups and, you know, we're seeing more takeaway containers at restaurants.
Speaker 1: What kind of
Speaker 2: an impact has the pandemic hat on our behaviors around and attitudes towards sustainability. Do you think that this has been a big setback?
Speaker 1: I think yes or no, it's an interesting conundrum because on the one hand,
Speaker 1: yes, we've been producing quite a lot of ways, like, when you think about masks, the one time use masks in the hospital and you think about, you know, we've created a lot of stuff that we need that we can't really get away from. But then on the other hand, we've also created people ordering food in,
Speaker 1: not being able to bring your reusable bags and coffee cups. So yes, the waste has definitely increased.
Speaker 1: But I think the pandemic also showed us that
Speaker 1: if we really want to change something, we can
Speaker 1: as a society collectively, the government and the people can come together
Speaker 1: and make change
Speaker 1: with the pandemic has proved that people stayed home. You know, the government said, you have to stay home, stay home. People stayed home. So we've seen that there are certain things that people are having to do now, they're having to shop more locally because we've got barges of containers sitting in the ocean with stuff on that, oh my God, that we can't buy.
Speaker 1: So we have seen a reduction in consumption because people couldn't go out.
Speaker 1: How much impact does that have on people's psyche And just overall, I'm not sure.
Speaker 1: I think that it's hard for people to give up the things that they love
Speaker 1: and going green or living a more sustainable life.
Speaker 1: You do have less. You are wanting and needing less
Speaker 1: if people actually did it, it's actually very eye opening.
Speaker 1: It's also just like because you're not tied to these material belongings, you're not tied to having to always worry about cleaning out this cupboard because there's so much garbage crap in it that you've bought like two things of the same thing because you you didn't realize you already had a spatula
Speaker 1: now, you've bought another spatula. Now you've got two spatulas.
Speaker 1: We're just in this kind of, bye bye bye. I think the pandemic has changed echo people because we've had to be more resilient and more clever when it comes to how we shop
Speaker 1: for us. It's easy for me, someone like me, it's easy because I already do that.
Speaker 1: But for other people it's been more challenging
Speaker 1: friends and colleagues that I have, it's been more challenging because they realize the waist. But then at the same time it's hard to find, especially when you're out great replaceable or great reusable or things that replace non reusable or single use items.
Speaker 1: We also saw other interesting things happening. You know, we did see pollution levels go down. We did see certain animals in certain environments returning and coming back to areas that we've never seen them in years and years and years because of how our daily lives are
Speaker 1: exposure to cars and and we're seeing more wildlife. I mean, you see it, you know, the pandemic has brought unfortunately sadly more wildlife into cities because they haven't been a lot of people. So now wildlife, their habitats are being ruined and destroyed so they're hungry. So they're coming closer and closer to humans and instead of humans not
Speaker 1: participating in feeding them, they are feeding them.
Speaker 1: So it's making the situation much worse because when something happens,
Speaker 1: you know, the coyote bites someone. Unfortunately the onus falls on that coyote, but there's so much more to the story, The coyotes they're eating from somebody's hand because people are feeding it
Speaker 1: again, it comes back to being mindful and understanding your impact on the world and understanding the kind of impact that your decisions have in the world on a daily basis.
Speaker 2: I think when it comes to sustainability, most of us as individuals were really just trying to do our best,
Speaker 1: what is something
Speaker 2: that you've noticed that so many of us are doing in our day to day lives that's harmful to the environment. But maybe we don't even realize we're doing it
Speaker 2: something you want more people to know about.
Speaker 1: I think it would be really the waste the volume of waste people create.
Speaker 1: So I mean coffee cups are a great example
Speaker 1: in Canada. I think we're using about a billion coffee cups a year.
Speaker 1: It's an insane number.
Speaker 1: And the fact that we could just change that by having people just carry their own reusable coffee cup
Speaker 1: or understanding that each time they buy a coffee, what's happening to that coffee cup,
Speaker 1: it's going in the garbage and it's easy for me to say that because I've been doing it for so long. But I understand that it's difficult like if you're out and about and you're in a rush and you need to grab water and there it is in the water bottle, you're going to grab it and off you go to the races.
Speaker 1: I think also bottled water bottled water is the biggest scam ever.
Speaker 1: You're buying water that you think is this filtered beautiful water from the mountains and some of them are.
Speaker 1: But a lot of them that we buy locally, it's just like tap water, they're taking water from our resources here and putting it in a bottle and selling it to you for three bucks. Like
Speaker 1: that concept to me is just crazy because
Speaker 1: you can carry your own water bottle and you can fill it up,
Speaker 1: you can fill it up at home. Coffee cups might be a little challenging right now because of Covid but a water bottle, anyone can carry that
Speaker 1: and the waste that comes with plastic water bottles, they're not being recycled
Speaker 1: and when they are recycled recycled into other cheap plastic things that eventually end up in landfill anyway.
Speaker 1: So if you want to make an impact, stop buying any kind of drink that comes in plastic packaging. And it's also important to understand that the companies that are making the drinks that we drink, these guys are responsible for massive amounts of fossil fuels thanks to their plastic production.
Speaker 1: People don't tie those things together because he's going to think about that, right?
Speaker 1: But when you start to like unpack it and look a little deeper, you understand that they're also producing plastic bottles, that's another part of their business
Speaker 1: and it's a huge part of their business, because that's what they put the product they're selling in.
Speaker 1: So any kind of thing that you see from big companies like that when they're talking about how they're coming up with biodegradable bottles and they have these great recycling campaigns where they show someone, you know, picking up empty bottle and putting it into the trash that's all greenwashing.
Speaker 1: Those are just companies that are pillaging the planet and then they put out these commercials on tv and on the internet and different things and you as a consumer, see this commercial and you're like, oh, you feel good because you think, wow, look what they're doing.
Speaker 1: But it's all green washing at the end of the day, they are massive fossil fuel producers, they get massive subsidies from the government to make their plastic bottles. And unfortunately we know the impact that plastic is having.
Speaker 1: Just in the ocean. You're looking at about eight million, I think it's eight million tons of plastic waste going into the ocean every single year.
Speaker 2: Going back to recycling. I've heard you use the term, which I love called Wish cycling,
Speaker 2: can you tell me about that?
Speaker 1: Oh my gosh, yes, we've all been guilty of that. I've been guilty of that a bazillion times. So you're standing in front of the recycling bin and you're holding a plastic product and you're like,
Speaker 1: mm does this go in the recycling bin? I really hope it goes in the recycling bin and you throw it in the recycling bin, wishing and hoping that the person on the other end removes that item, if it's not recyclable, they'll take that item out and put it in the right then, and that just does not happen
Speaker 1: when you put something in the recycling bin that shouldn't be in the recycling bin, That entire recycling bin is now going in the garbage
Speaker 1: because they can't go in and sort all of that stuff,
Speaker 1: so you taint the whole recycling bin
Speaker 1: and that's why textile ways to such a big thing because people put clothing, they protect styles in the recycling bin, you cannot recycle textiles in Canada in the recycling systems that we have.
Speaker 1: Lot of people are so confused by the term recycled clothing
Speaker 1: recycling something means that you are taking a product,
Speaker 1: breaking it down back to its original fibers or you're stripping it down, there's like a process for that and you're making it into another item
Speaker 1: that typically does not happen with clothing,
Speaker 1: clothing recycling rates in Canada specifically are very low, I think it's like eight or 9% or maybe 15, but it's super low, so anything that you're throwing into the recycling bin is going right into the garbage.
Speaker 1: So knowing that now you probably are going to say, okay, I'm just going to throw my clothes in the garbage, but that's a real issue
Speaker 1: because we need better textile diversion plans in Canada in the world really to make sure that these clothing fabrics are being stripped down and made into other good quality clothing pieces and there's lots of companies doing good things. So when you drop your stuff off
Speaker 1: value Village or any one of those donation boxes, you're not recycling your clothing, you're up cycling, your clothing,
Speaker 1: that clothing gets picked up and sorted and put on the shelves,
Speaker 1: the stuff that's not put on the shelves unfortunately goes to garbage and the stuff that's not sold gets baled and shipped to developing nations, mostly in africa from Canada.
Speaker 1: So there's a very big misunderstanding about recycling clothing. And then when you look at companies, they have these clothing recycling programs where they entice the person to bring in their old clothing for a gift card or other clothing.
Speaker 1: And that's another form of greenwashing, because when you look at the volume of clothing that those companies are making those are fast fashion at its worst.
Speaker 1: So when you've got the volume of clothing which comes with textile waste, textile pollution, workers rights, child slavery, it comes with a lot of different things.
Speaker 1: So you look at it from that perspective, we have to make a differentiation between recycling and up cycling.
Speaker 2: At the United Nations Climate change conference, as Sir David Attenborough recently said, we must use this opportunity to create a more equal world and our motivation should not be fear but
Speaker 1: hope so
Speaker 2: during these difficult and uncertain times, what's making you feel hopeful,
Speaker 1: I'd have to say, my community
Speaker 1: community that I've built
Speaker 1: Over the last 20 years, those are the people that feed my soul because
Speaker 1: many, many times when you've been doing this for as long as I do,
Speaker 1: you can sound like a Debbie downer because I'm at the point in my life and my career where I'm just like, why aren't people getting this? You know, I'm frustrated?
Speaker 1: And so I think he's right. I think we also have to understand that eco living is not accessible to everybody.
Speaker 1: Not everybody can make the decisions that I make on a regular basis and that comes from my privilege where I was brought up how I was brought up.
Speaker 1: So I think we have to have an understanding of that. But as far as hope, I think it's my community, you know, there's lots of times when I reach out from my community and say, and that's my readers or followers or whomever, sometimes I'll reach out and I'll say, you know, I'm having a bad day, I'm so upset about this or I'm just so over this, I just want to give up
Speaker 1: and then I get a, you know, messages from people saying, please don't, you're such an inspiration. I've changed so many of my behaviors and my habits based on the articles that you wrote and that's really what gives me hope and the younger generation because at some point,
Speaker 1: all the people that are great as age are going to have voting power
Speaker 1: and when they have voting power,
Speaker 1: they're going to start to vote for different people.
Speaker 1: And that's I think where we're going to see major change because right now we're still stuck in the status quo, where it's just the same guys, it's the same rich guys that are sitting at the top, They all look the same and we need massive change. And I think that the younger generation, once they start
Speaker 1: being able to vote collectively
Speaker 1: in groups at one time, I think that's when we'll start to see change. And that gives me hope.
Speaker 2: Candice, thank you so much for speaking with me today.
Speaker 1: You're very welcome
Speaker 2: for
Speaker 1: more about this episode. Go to life speak dot com slash podcast.