1. Don’t be Car-bound
With the right gear, attitude, and planning, a trip to work, school , etc. without a car in winter can turn into an opportunity for fresh air, exercise, and fun! Whether it’s walking, cycling, transit or carpooling, there are many options out there to allow you to have a low carbon footprint year-round. This includes your child’s trip to school walking to school in winter. Need a hand getting through that uneven snow? Make your trip easy and fun by using a toboggan to haul your groceries, supplies or children around town!
Green Action tip: If you’re used to getting around by car, but want to try something new, www.GoManitoba.ca is a the place to start. See your route options and find matches to carpool with, or bike and take transit with.
2. Composting in Winter is COOL
One way to keep your waste low in the winter is to simply continue composting! Some people get leery of going out to their backyard bin in chilly weather and end up putting compostable items in their regular trash. That’s a lot of organics you can keep from the landfill over 6 months, so keep it up! Don’t want to compost outdoors, or can’t? Try vermicomposting indoors!
Green Action tip: One way you can keep composting AND stay warm is to store your weekly compost in a 5L pail outside your backdoor. The compost will stay frozen (so it won’t smell) and you can keep your toes toasty until the pail is full! Check out more of our winter composting tips here.
3. Thermostat Resistance
Finding your home a bit chilly? Most people want to run to the thermostat and turn up the temperature, but this uses a lot of energy (and can be expensive). Instead of turning up the heat, put on some thick socks, a warm sweater, or cuddle under a blanket!
You could also take it one step further by taking Polar Beat International’s thermostat challenge at work, home, or school!
4. Dress to Impress (Yourself)
It’s true. If you are dressed poorly in this kind of weather, you won’t be impressed. Be sure to dress appropriately so that you can embrace the winter season and continue to be active! Bundle up and try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, skating, or winter cycling to get around or just for fun! There are plenty of beautiful trails and parks in Manitoba for you to explore and enjoy this winter – so bundle up!
Green Action tip: Stay away from disposable, chemical based hand warmers! Instead, make your own with leftover/ unwanted fabric and rice or flax seeds.
Tempted to turn into a snowbird and head South this winter? Hopping on a plane uses A LOT of greenhouse gas emissions and increases your personal carbon footprint. Enjoy a staycation instead! There are plenty of options in Manitoba from yurting and cross-country skiing to fancy hotels and nordic spa experiences.
Green Action tip: Consider sharing a ride to one of our many wonderful winter destinations through the single-trip matching feature of GoManitoba.
6. But First, Coffee
Nothing beats holding a warm mug in your hands, and feeling that warm deliciousness of your morning coffee (or tea) as it coats your throat and stomach on the way down. DON’T FORGET your reusable mug/ thermos if you’re buying coffee from your local coffee shop. This helps cut down on single-use plastics and reduces your contribution to the landfill (disposable coffee cups are NOT recyclable either). If you’re making coffee, tea, or hot chocolate at home, be sure it’s fair trade and sourced sustainably.
7. Celebrate, Don’t Hate!
There may seem to be less incentive to being outdoors during the winter, but having a more positive outlook towards it leads to a lifetime of wonderful winter activity. It’s about embracing winter for what it is and steering away from the negativity. Redirect conversations about the “horrors” of winter to the opportunities and benefits of the season instead. Help others by tackling exaggerations about the cold, amount of snow, and length. Learn more about appreciating winter here.
Green Action tip: Celebrate walking, cycling, cross country skiing, etc. in winter by participating in Jack Frost Challenge on February 3-9, 2019!
8. 100-Mile Diet
Can you really buy local food in the depths of a Manitoba winter? Of course you can! Farmer’s Markets aren’t just for summers, and local food sources don’t dry up in the winter. Try a winter CSA for grains or protein, visit St. Norbert or the Downtown Farmer’s Market, or order local food from Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative. Even easier, make a commitment to reduce your food waste by meal planning, shopping with a grocery list, and designating a shelf in your fridge for “eat me first” foods that need to be eaten ASAP. You could even try a pantry challenge to save money and use up odds and ends from your fridge, freezer, and shelves!
Check out www.savethefood.com or www.lovefoodhatewaste.ca for more tips and resources on how to cut your food waste and grocery bill. Keeping food from being wasted and keeping food waste out of the landfill reduces the environmental burden of agriculture and methane emissions from landfills.
9. Don’t Idle
Did you know it only takes 30 seconds to warm up your engine when driving in the winter? In modern fuel injected engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on cold winter days before driving away. This is MUCH BETTER for the environment than letting your car sit idling for long periods of time. We explain how this works on our drive it to warm it page!
10. Say NO to Snowblowers
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average snowblower creates ~one pound of carbon monoxide emissions per hour. These small engines emit a disproportionate amount of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxide because they have no emission controls. The exhaust from the gas you burn goes straight into the air that you are breathing. Making the choice to use a snowblower also means you are losing out on some valuable exercise. So break out those shovels, folks, and remember to stretch and pace yourself!
Need more information to help you decide? Click here for more information on whether to throw snow or blow?