Sitting on the fence

A good citizen!
Marc Thivierge

Marc Thivierge, of Saint-Armand, submitted this article further to our most recent Sitting on the Fence topic (Vol 5 No 4 February-March 2008) in which we requested our readers’ suggestions. Marc took it one step further : be wrote an entire article !

Forget the Kyoto Accord and all the jive talk that surrounds it. Forget the visibility-seeking monger politicians who tell us they’re looking out for our welfare when, if truth be told, they want the money too ! While they stage conferences and seminars all over the world, not much is being done here on the home front.

My father used to say : ”Peace begins at home. How do you want the world to be at peace with itself when you can’t even be at peace with yourself, let alone your next door neighbour ?» He also used to say that charity begins at home. So transfer these comments ; to the war on pollutants, if you will. And take it one step further : if you wish to get things done, you must start at home, i.e., your own space.

So we go ! The following suggestions belong on a list of some of the actions we can take to protect the environment in order to be solid citizens, good neighbours, first-class Quebecois and fine examples for the rest of Canada, but most of all good citizens of the world.

I have a small parcel of grass on which I never use pesticides. NEVER ! And here is a trick to help get rid of those dreaded weeds. When spring comes, say April or May, I sprinkle a small amount of corn gluten on my lawn. It controls crab­» grass, creeping bent grass, foxtail, lamb’s-quarters, and other weeds just after they germinate before you even notice them. A five-pound bag costs only about $10. Do this a few times throughout the summer. This information comes to us from The Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides web site at Furthermore, when summer comes along, I have a simple timer device on my hose : it does its job in the middle of the night when water evaporation is infinitely small. If you don’t want this and prefer doing it by hand, try watering before ten in the

First, click on tips for living green, then select among more than a dozen categories. Whether it be green tips for everyday living, in the yard, indoor pets, or at work, Greenpeace has assembled virtually all one needs to know to help our planet live longer and save energy. Tips such as :

  • Fix any leaky faucets, toilets or water pipes. Even a small drip can add up to a lot of water over time ;
  • Choose water-based latex paints over solvent-based paints when painting your house. Never use lead-based paints.

Hydro-Québec also has a very comprehensive Web site : The site even contains a test for you to determine if your home is properly insuulated, and what to do to save money and energy. It is called the «Energy Wise Diagnostic» and offers a whole range of tools to help us become savvier in this area of our lives. Other noteworthy tips are also available.

And then there is the Canadian government’s Web site To tell the truth, this is one major challenge ! The results you obtain can throw you off guard. I thought I was being a good green citizen. Weil, after having completed the official test, I’m sorry to say l’m not. l’ll need to revise my green position and modify my green ways to some extent to reach the national average. And that is a minimum. Go see how you do ! You will find heaps of information such as the incentives and rebate page, and how to save fuel.

One very significant point is that if you do something such as recycling your old newspaper instead of simply throwing it in the rubbish bin, thus adding to the land­fill dump, though you may think it’s inconsequential, you are still contributing in a small way to improving the world in which you live. Consider that 20 percent of all pollutants come from the home front.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. Did anyone see the keys to my 4 X 4 ?

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