Categorized | Environment

Sorting the Garbage

Posted on 20 January 2011 by admin

By Priyanka Jain, Toronto

“As a Canadian child, I think it’s important that we educate our parents, aunts and uncles about what we are learning in school, or learning from our friends, so they can be more aware and have an appreciation for the environment,” Ahmad said.

We see them in the newspapers, at the grocery store, and in most public places; advertisements encouraging environmentally friendly actions are everywhere. This includes recycling, eco-friendly grocery bags, conserving electricity, carpooling etc. Although most Canadians have been habituated to things like recycling and re-using grocery bags as it has gradually become society’s norm, the question is whether or not immigrants and their families are able to grow into such habits.
Most native Canadians understand the effect pollution, excessive use of electricity, petroleum etc. has on the environment; therefore, they actively participate in these environmentally friendly actions. However, for a newcomer to Canada who has never recycled before, or used any other type of transport asides from their four-wheeler, getting used to this new conserved way of living could be an instant culture shock.
Some immigrants are not used to the routine of recycling, or keeping eco-friendly grocery bags in the car, and as a result these conservational actions are not of importance to them.
Sonal Sachdev, 21, a university student who moved to Canada five years ago from Dubai said that her upbringing was much different, in terms of being environmentally friendly. “In Dubai everything went in one garbage bin; when you’ve been brought up for 16 years, why bother to change your habits now,” she said.
Sheela Menon, a mother of two who has been living in Canada for the past 20 years, says that she is the one who has to encourage her two teenagers to recycle at home.
“They follow my lead; kids, teenagers don’t really give enough thought about being environmentally friendly,” Menon said.
Although Menon had no knowledge of the eco-friendly way of life when she first came to Canada, because her neighbours and peers were enforcing it in their families, she says “the truth all makes sense and you start encouraging it”.
For immigrants coming to Canada today, it is extremely important that today’s young generation educate their parents about the eco-friendly way of life, and how to help the environment in every way possible. Parents and grandparents who are settling in Canada have most likely never been exposed to alternative methods of transportation, or recycling, so it is important to promote environmentally friendly actions at home, and tell them why It is significant.
Farishta Ahmad, 19, along with her two younger siblings were born and raised in Canada. Its Ahmad’s 10-year-old sister who encourages recycling and re-using bags in their household.
“My sister tells us all the time what she’s been learning in school, and slowly my parents catch on as to why we’re doing all this,” Ahmad said.
Ahmad admits that before, they recycled solely out of habit, without knowing exactly why they were doing it. Although her parents knew to separate the recyclable garbage from ordinary garbage, they only did it because it was the routine thing to do. Now with the knowledge passed on by their youngest daughter, Ahmad and her family are more aware as to why they are taking certain actions.
“As a Canadian child, I think it’s important that we educate our parents, aunts and uncles about what we are learning in school, or learning from our friends, so they can be more aware and have an appreciation for the environment,” Ahmad said.

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