Saturday, October 17, 2009

What you can do?


Here are some things you can do in your own home to be an eco-friendly citizen.

Keep your refrigerator and freezer at an ideal temperature

  • To conserve and save energy, the ideal temperature for a refrigerator is 5°C and -18°C for a freezer.
  • Defrost your freezer on a regular basis. A layer of ice 5 cm thick triples your energy consumption.

Run your dishwasher only when it is full

  • By running your dishwasher only when it is full, you will save both water and the energy used to heat the water (80% of the machine's energy consumption).
  • Follow the recommended dosage for dishwasher soap. Using more cleaning product does not yield better results, and pollutes the discharged water even more.

Put your rubbish bin on a diet

  • So that your rubbish can be used for other purposes, follow your community’s recycling and sorting instructions.
  • Do not use plastic bags that cannot be easily recycled.

Use tap water

  • Drink tap water.
  • Do not leave the water running when you shave, clean your hands, brush your teeth, etc.
  • Take showers rather than baths.
  • Use a shower head with an aeration system. The injection of air bubbles gives an impression of using the same quantity of water, but actually uses 30-40% less.

Use rechargeable batteries

  • Get in the habit of plugging electronic equipment into an outlet, rather than relying on battery power.
  • Keep used batteries and bring them to locations that collect batteries for recycling.

Return expired medication to the pharmacy

Never pour paint, solvents or other hazardous products onto the ground, into the sink or down the toilet.

Bring them to a waste collection centre.

Put a sticker on your mailbox to indicate that you do not want to receive advertising material and circulars to help minimise printed matter.

Lower the thermostat by 1°C in winter in your living room.

This can save up to 7% on your heating bill.

Unplug your electronic devices and do not leave them on standby (television, DVD player, computer, etc.) and use energy-saving light bulbs.

Depending on the home, this can reduce electricity consumption by 10%.

Reduce the volume of water used to flush your toilet to save up to 10,000 litres of water each year.

After cleaning vegetables, reuse the water on your plants.

Make donations to charity organisations, and give away clothes and objects that you don't use anymore.


Here are some things you can do in your garden to be an eco-friendly citizen.

In the summer, water your garden in the evening

  • When temperatures are cool, there is less evaporation, making watering more effective. Conversely, in the autumn, it is best to water in the morning to avoid frost at night.

Use organic pesticides

  • Certain plants act as natural insect repellents (French marigolds, dahlias, chives, onions, garlic, basil). Use organic liquid fertilizers and soapy water to kill unwanted insects.
  • For aphids, introduce ladybirds, who will be more than happy to eat them.
  • Not all garden insects are harmful. Feel free to learn more about this topic.

Be a clever lawn mower

  • For a small lawn surface, use a mechanical lawnmower that doesn’t use petrol or electricity. It doesn't pollute, doesn’t make a lot of noise, and features a protective mat that encourages regrowth.
  • For large lawns, practice “mulching.” Choose a petrol or electric lawn mower equipped with a “mulching” system that cuts the grass very finely and leaves it on the ground to act as a natural fertilizer. This saves time (no need to pick up the cut grass and take it to the dump) and money (by using less petrol). It also improves lawn quality by protecting against draught and disease and reducing moss.

Opt for steam weeding

  • This method consists of destroying weeds by applying steam or pressurised hot water heated to 95°C. The plant dries out and stops growing. This method has real ecological, practical and financial advantages.

Compost biodegradable waste

  • Deposit waste such as fruit and vegetable peels and parings from plants and flowers in a receptacle that ensures proper ventilation. After a few months, this waste can be used as top-quality organic fertiliser for your garden.

Hoe regularly to aerate the soil and reduce watering frequency.

Collect rain water from gutter run-offs in containers

  • Use this rainwater to water flowers or the lawn, wash the car, etc.

Here are some things you can do in your workplace to be an eco-friendly citizen.

Print only when it’s absolutely necessary.

Reuse the backside of printed sheets as draft paper

  • This means avoiding crumpling paper so you can reuse it.

Set your printer to print both sides and in black and white only.

Avoid using plastic cups and disposable items.

Opt for refillable and reusable office supplies

  • Buy recycled products when possible.

Use heat and air conditioning in moderation.

Turn off the lights in empty rooms and use natural light when possible

  • Position your desk or workstation near a window.

Remember to turn off and/or unplug machines and electronics after use (do not leave on standby).

Sort your rubbish for recycling whenever possible.

Conserve water and report any leaks.

Use email when possible and avoid sending correspondence by post

  • You can add a signature line to your emails saying, “Respect the environment: print this email only if absolutely necessary.”

Consider using audio and videoconferencing to replace business travel

  • These are good ways to save time and reduce business travel. Of course, try to keep relations warm and friendly nonetheless.

Offer to car share with workmates

  • Car sharing not only reduces pollution, but also divides travel costs among the vehicle’s occupants
  • When possible, take public transportation, walk, or bike.


Here are some things you can do to be an eco-friendly driver.

Keep your tyres inflated

  • Up to 3% over-consumption can result from tyres under-inflated by 0.3 bar. For motorway driving, increase the air pressure by 15%.

Choose a fuel-efficient vehicle

  • Cars are responsible for 57% of carbon dioxide emissions from road transportation.

Adopt eco-friendly driving habits

  • Driving safely and smoothly can help save up to 40% of petrol used. Avoiding unnecessary breaking and abrupt gear shits can lead to savings of up to 20%.

Have your car inspected

  • A well-adjusted engine can produce 20% less pollution and use 10% less fuel.

Don’t drive over the speed limit

  • If speed limits were consistently respected, approximately 3 million metric tonnes less carbon dioxide would be produced.


Here are some things you can do when you are out and about to be an eco-friendly citizen.

When you travel

Never dump anything into a body of water

  • Oceans and rivers are too often used as rubbish bins for our chemical waste. The toxic nature of certain products can result in damage to aquatic habitats and the death of thousands of animals.

Help keep public areas clean

  • Don’t litter. Throw away your waste in bins and follow instructions for sorting recycling if available.
  • As an example, a paper sweet wrapper takes five years to decompose, as opposed to 500 years for a plastic bottle.
  • Don’t discard cigarette butts on the ground; dispose of them in a bin.

Think before you drive

  • The distance travelled of 50% of all car trips is less than 2 kilometres. Such short trips are the most polluting.


When possible, buy in bulk and opt for concentrated products (laundry detergent, softener, etc.)

  • Packaging represents one fourth of the weight and a large portion of the volume of all household waste.
  • Choose cardboard packaging that can be recycled.

When possible, buy products that are more respectful of the environment, especially those certified by NF Environnement or European Ecolabel.

Choose produce grown organically or by integrated farming methods.

Avoid buying single-usage disposable products

Buy fair trade products

  • Fair trade products are a way to ensure a better redistribution of wealth in developing countries. They allow small-scale local producers to enjoy a better standard of living and to educate their children.
  • The modes of production for fair trade products are more respectful of the environment.

Prioritise locally-made products

  • Reduce costs and the harmful consequences associated with transportation.
  • Buy fruit and vegetables when they are in season.

Use cloth and reusable shopping bags

  • Always carry a reusable bag to avoid using disposable bags.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

YES 2009 16-17/11/2009 in Malaysia


The Youth Engagement Summit (YES2009) is a platform to create a cadre of engaged, active youth leaders dedicated to making positive changes happen in their communities and in the world. Youths are not just leaders of the future, they are today's leaders in their own schools and communities.

Hence, it is with this in mind that the Youth Engagement Summit has been established to bring together youth's, active youth leaders, world leaders in business, government, entertainment, and the general public to a platform where opinions, discussions and experiences can be shared.

The 2-day summit which is hosted in Kuala Lumpur this November, brings together some of the most inspiring, engaging Global Change Icons.

SEACHANGE is a movement of organizations, programs and like-minded people who want to help you. Tell us what change you want to see... and SEACHANGE connects you!

  • Win a FREE trip to YES2009 worth USD$2,500
  • Meet youths who share your goals
  • Get help with your personal change goals
  • Be part of activities, opportunities, and surveys for youth

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Student's Guide to Community Service

Ideas and information on how young people can help make their communities better places to live.

The Prudential Insurance Company of America
751 Broad Street
Newark NJ 07102-3777

An abstract drawing of teens holding hands.


In this fast-paced world, it's surprising there's time for you to attend classes, do homework, take part in extracurricular activities, and still manage to relax and have fun with family and friends.

Yet despite busy schedules, many young people like you are concerned about what's going on in their neighborhoods and communities, and are looking for ways to get involved. Here are some facts:

  • In a survey of nearly 1,000 young people commissioned by Prudential, 95 percent of those interviewed said they felt it's important for people to volunteer.
  • Almost two-thirds of those respondents said that individual responsibility is the best way to address community problems.
  • 67 percent indicated that they devote some of their time to volunteer activities.

A picture of two girls and one guy smiling.Why Volunteer?

Why are so many students interested in serving their communities? Because they want to:

  • Make a difference
  • Develop new skills
  • Prepare for college
  • Explore career paths
  • Have fun working with friends
  • Feel good about themselves

Although the efforts of one person may seem small, every act of service can have an important impact on someone ... and millions of individual volunteers can create a revolution of sorts. Whatever your reason for volunteering, once involved, it's easy to get hooked - to "catch the spirit" of community involvement. Volunteering can expand your horizons and become a satisfying, lifelong commitment.

What's Right for Me?

You may make an instant decision to volunteer in your community. But don't be hasty in selecting a project or organization. First, take time to think about what problems or issues in your neighborhood or community concern you.

Then, as you search for the "right" volunteer activity, ask yourself:

  • How much time do I have to commit?
  • What talents or skills do I offer?
  • What do I want to get out of my involvement?
  • Will I enjoy this type of service?

There are many reasons to volunteer. But one should be universal - volunteer for something you can enjoy.

Don't limit your thinking. You may want to volunteer in the structured environment of a large organization, or you may prefer the more informal "family" feeling of a smaller group. Perhaps you want to create your own volunteer activity by engaging your friends or family, or maybe just work alone on a project. When you've selected or narrowed your volunteer interests, you may want to talk to your parents, friends, a teacher or club sponsor, a counselor, or someone at your church or synagogue. They might have suggestions on how to go about making it happen. Call organizations and local government offices that offer services to the public. Read your local newspaper. Watch and listen to the television and radio news for ideas.

After you've made a choice, commit yourself to it. Give it your energy - and adequate time - to determine if it's a good fit.

What Can a Volunteer Do?

This information can help serve as a compass to point you to some of the many possibilities for volunteering. Combine these suggestions with your own ideas and creativity - and go for it.


A man delivering books, magazines, flowers and candy.So the medical or healthcare field intrigues you. Take heart, opportunities abound. Consider volunteering at a local blood bank, a medical clinic for the poor, a nursing home, an emergency medical squad, or a cancer or AIDS facility. Maybe you'd enjoy entertaining kids in the hospital, or collecting books and toys to help them pass the time. Many young volunteers also get involved in walkathons and other fundraising activities to fight major diseases, or to provide medical care for those who cannot afford it.


A girl surrounded by cats and dogs.If animals are your passion, here's a flock of ideas. Check with your local zoo, animal shelter or humane society. Volunteer chores can include cleaning cages, feeding and exercising the "residents," assisting with adoptions, working in the office, or planning fund-raising events. Or consider raising a guide dog for a blind person. Perhaps your interests are more in tune with endangered species. Think about volunteering at a wildlife refuge or nature habitat where you can steer your commitment to awareness campaigns or fund-raising activities.


A woman reading a story book to a little boy and little girl.If you enjoy reading, you've got a skill that's easy to share. Community shelters (for the homeless or abused) often house children who are as hungry for fun and stories as for a square meal. Libraries, children's hospitals and Head Start programs may jump at the offer of organized story hours. On a more personal level, you can read to an elderly neighbor or someone who is blind. Or check into a local organization that needs readers for a "talking books" program.


A man and woman dancing.Young volunteers with an interest in the arts can share those talents, as individuals or in a group. Check with senior centers, shelters, daycare programs, local parks, or recreation programs. Offer to serve as an usher at a community theater or help find stage props and costumes. Or offer assistance at an arts center or a local art gallery. You could present theatrical skits, musical revues, magic shows, concerts or other forms of entertainment at senior citizen homes, hospitals or other community facilities. Not only does your contribution help keep cash-strapped arts alive in your community, but it also helps build a lifelong appreciation for the arts and brings enjoyment to many.


A woman and little girl playing basketball.Share your athletic talent and interest as a coach or coaching assistant in sports or recreational activities. "Help wanted" signs are often posted at volunteer organizations serving people with mental or physical challenges; YMCA, YWCA or Red Cross chapters; local civic organizations (like the Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary or Lions clubs); city parks; and recreation or neighborhood programs for low-income kids. They often seek volunteers to help out with Little League, swimming, softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, gymnastics, or other recreational activities.


A girl in a wheel chair playing baseball; and umpire behind her.Be a special friend to people with mental or physical disabilities. Not only will your skills contribute to the programs, but you may help change public perception about people who have special challenges. Volunteer to help with local, regional or state Special Olympics competitions held in many communities. Local groups and residential facilities often need volunteers for field trips to museums and amusement parks, recreation and sports activities, or arts and crafts programs. Contact community centers or other facilities for disabled persons, or ask your mayor's office for options.


Concern about our environment is serious stuff. And your commitment can start right at home. If you're not doing it now, start recycling your own newspapers, glass and aluminum. Then get your neighbors involved. If your school doesn't have a recycling program, talk with your teachers or principal about getting one started. The company that supplies your school cafeteria might lend a hand in this effort. Young volunteers also have been known to recycle tires, motor oil, telephone books, greeting cards, Christmas trees and computer ink cartridges.


A woman and girl with a walker racing.Perhaps you don't want to take on the responsibility of organizing and planning. There are other ways to help your favorite causes. There are many activities in which you can let your feet do the talking - at dance marathons and other indoor activities or at outdoor events, such as bicycle races, walkathons, and charity runs.


A female detectiveSo you have an interest in police work as a career, or are concerned about crime in your community. Contact your local police department to see if you can help develop or get involved in a student-watch program. How about developing a school watch program? Talk with your principal or school counselor about establishing a student patrol that keeps an eye out for and reports theft, graffiti and other crimes at your school. Or think about educating other young people about avoiding drugs, dealing with strangers, or staying safe on the Internet. Another possibility: volunteer to take part in "teen court" justice systems that operate in many cities.


A chef carrying a tray of soup.Perhaps you've been concerned about homeless or needy people. Their needs are many - from shelter to food and clothing. Community projects and church-affiliated organizations such as Habitat for Humanity need volunteers to construct housing for the poor. Volunteer to help prepare or distribute food at community or church-sponsored soup kitchens. A local low-income housing project may need some help in a community garden. Or you can plant and tend your own garden, and then donate the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor to a local food bank, or sell them to support your favorite charity. Many young volunteers also have had success with school or community campaigns to collect food, clothing, books, toys, school supplies, eyeglasses, toiletries, backpacks and holiday gifts for the disadvantaged.


A boy presenting that it's bad to drink alcohol.Perhaps you'd like to educate fellow students and others in your community about an issue that's important to you. For example, you could warn fellow students about smoking, drug or alcohol abuse, AIDS, or negative peer pressure. Or you could promote important ideals such as racial tolerance, a clean environment, or traffic safety. You might want to put together an educational presentation and take it to schools in your area, or launch a general awareness campaign in your community.


A girl digging dirt to plant some flowers.Here are some earthy ideas to sink your hands into. Your local parks department may welcome an offer to plant trees and flowers in public parks, along walkways, or in downtown areas. Local environmental groups, landscaping companies and the National Arbor Day Foundation often give away tree seedlings. Talk to your principal about ways to beautify and maintain your school grounds. Or consider cleaning up litter on a regular basis from neighborhood streets, local streams, highway shoulders and other public places. Another idea: offer to help paint over graffiti on school or city property.


A man with a little girl and little boy on his back; playing horseyIf you like helping other kids, or are considering a teaching career, volunteering can work for you. Schools, churches, libraries and community centers often have tutoring or mentoring programs for youngsters. Local camps, especially those for sick or low-income kids, frequently need counselors. Other places to consider: children's hospitals, daycare centers, shelters, programs for "latchkey" kids, homework tutoring phone lines, and Big Brother or Sister programs. Some city or county courtrooms are interested in activities for children who must come to court with a parent; ask about setting up a room with books and toys, and volunteer to help care for these children. If you prefer, you could organize your own "camp" to get local children involved in sports, music, science, theatre, gardening or some other activity.


A boy with a lot of books and a book fair sign hanging on him.If you want to do something in your own special way, put on your creative thinking cap. On your own, or with a few friends, you can raise money for your favorite cause through bake sales, car washes, and garage sales. Or form a volunteering club at your school that can work on a wide variety of service projects.

Do's & Don'ts of Successful Volunteering
A handy man carrying a ladder, watering can, hammer and wood.

  • Do be flexible. It is rare to find the "perfect" fit right away. Keep an open mind - you might discover something new that interests you.
  • Do be persistent. Volunteer coordinators are often busy, so don't assume they're not interested in you if they don't call you right away.
  • Do attend orientation meetings. Keep in mind that informed volunteers are the best volunteers. These meetings will help you do the best job possible.
  • Do take necessary training classes. Ask about them before you decide to get involved and be prepared to learn what will be needed.
  • Do be responsible. Show up on time and follow through with your commitments. People will be depending on you.
  • Don't expect to start at the top. You have to work hard and prove your worth before you are given more responsibility.
  • Don't think that volunteering has to be a group effort. You can start your own volunteer program and do it on your own time.
  • Do expect to get plenty of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from your volunteer experiences.

Local Resources for Volunteer Ideas

  • Principal, counselor, teacher
  • Churches and synagogues
  • Organizations such as the United Way - and their many affiliates
  • Mayor's office
  • Civic service groups, such as the Elks, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions clubs
  • Local arts centers, community theaters
  • Food pantries, shelters for battered women and the homeless
  • Zoos, animal shelters, conservation groups
  • Hospitals, hospices, nursing homes
  • Residential facilities for disabled persons or abused children
  • Newspapers, television and radio
  • Schools and libraries
  • Local community and volunteer centers

We hope this booklet has given you some ideas for volunteer service and information on where to find organizations in need of young volunteers. There is little doubt that your help is needed, whether in your school, your neighborhood or city, or through your church or synagogue. Match your interests with the many volunteer opportunities available.

If you are still stumped, on the next page is a list of some national service organizations that offer information on youth volunteerism. Write or call them for additional ideas.

Ready, set, go - Catch the Spirit of volunteerism!

Arthur F. Ryan
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Prudential Financial

Making a Difference in Your Community Through Service

There you are, heading to school and you see something that practically screams, “People do not care about their environment.” Perhaps you notice there are cups and bottles along the route your school bus takes. Or, you go on a hike and see a stream with garbage dumped in it. Or you realize several students at your school live near you, but you all drive your own cars instead of carpooling.

This is an important moment. Will you act on what you notice, or ignore it and hope it changes by itself? Let’s hope you choose to act. But, what can one person really do? The answer to that question is: a great deal. One person can act alone or join with others to change the way things are.

After you decide to do something about a problem, find out why it is happening. You may have to talk to others – classmates, parents, teachers or community leaders – or do some research.

Once you understand the problem, the next step is figuring out how to get people to stop doing whatever is causing it. You’ll soon discover that people act according to what they know and think. If people think it’s OK to take their used car oil and pour it down a storm drain, that’s what they’ll do. But if they learn that oil can cause a water pollution problem, they may dispose of it properly, which is to take it to a service station.

Figure out how to teach people about what causes a problem and how to solve it. Who are you trying to get the word out to? What is the best way to reach that audience? This might be a project that needs more than one person. Get organized. Find out who can help and team up. You can form partnerships and work with others who will give you support or ideas. Get your team together, set up a timeline of when you are doing what. Then, go to work and get the project done.

As you read this, you may think: “Well, sure, it sounds simple, but doing something isn’t that easy.” True. But, following up on the decision to do something will help your community and develop your ability to act on what you think , plan ahead and lead others to accomplish a goal. Even if it is something you do by yourself, the results are the same.

Take that first step. Decide to solve that environmental problem. Once you take that first step, you’ll understand that you can make a difference.

For more information/ideas:

About the author: Terry Ippolito is the Environmental Education Coordinator for EPA’s region 2 office in New York. Terry came to EPA in 1988 after being a science teacher, grades 1 through high school, and school administrator. Her work at EPA enables her to combine experience in education with a commitment to the environment.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Climate Change Connection

The solution to climate change is not up to the experts, it's up to all of us.

Climate Change Connection (CCC) publications

Download a PDF brochure by clicking below or contact us and we'll send you as many as you need.

Steps for Climate Friendly Living - "Solutions Tabloid"

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We are Climate Change Connection Card

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Puzzled About Climate Change?

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Healthy Communities Don't Idle Card

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A Guide to Creating Climate-Friendly Farms in Manitoba - Crop Edition

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A Guide to Creating Climate-Friendly Farms in Manitoba - Livestock Edition

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2009 Manitoba Climate Change Funding Guide

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Funding Calendar

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Creating Climate-Friendly Communities: A resource guide for community leaders

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Creating Climate-Friendly Communities Summary

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The Bottom Line on Climate Change: A Manitoba Business Guide

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Hot Topic #1: Breaking Records

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Hot Topic #2: Hurricanes - Is there a connection to global warming?

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Hot Topic #3: Kyoto Protocol

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Compendium of Climate Change Resources in Manitoba

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Climate Champion Pledge

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You are what you wear

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Climate Change Connection: 5-year Summary Report

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2007 and Beyond: A Community Climate Change Consultation

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Click a topic below to see what we can do to reduce our greenhouse gases and prepare for a changing future.

Personal solutions
Community Agriculture


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Climate Matters: The Scoop on Climate Change

Our climate is changing. How do we know this? Why is this happening? What’s wrong with warmer temperatures? What can we do about it?

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Let's Talk About Climate Change

A presentation developed to present and discuss climate change with younger audiences (kindergarten to Grade 2).

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Top 10 reasons to re-think using your car

Wanna fall in love? Maybe you should take the bus! This, and nine other fantastic reasons to check out transportation alternatives on this curiously compelling list. Get the facts behind the Top Ten here.

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Urban design and Winnipeg

Over the centuries, cities have been designed with a number of purposes in mind, including defence, the easy transportation of goods, and even intimidation! Winnipeg has a unique design history that is intimately linked to a golden age in public transportation. Yes, Winnipeg used to have picturesque and highly effective fleet of street cars! More recently, personal vehicles have played a greater role in the further growth and development of our city. Will the Winnipeg of the future be even more greenhouse gas intensive... by design?

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Climate Change and transportation

The majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the youth sector are associated with transportation choices. Choosing a personal vehicle like a car or truck might seem like a simple, straight forward decision -- but do you really have all the facts? Sure vehicles create greenhouse gas emissions, but what about death and obesity rates among youth? You might think twice next time you need to get somewhere!

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Communities as Part of the Solution

Communities contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. How do Manitoba communities become part of the solution? Understand how communities can take action, how communities can implement Kyoto, and how you can join other communities in reducing greenhouse gases.

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Understanding Kyoto

Manitoba must do its bit to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. What does it mean for us? Understand what potential barriers we will meet and what opportunities we can benefit from as we start to embrace the carbon economy.

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Municipal Mitigation Options

Up to half of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are under the direct or indirect control or influence of municipal governments. What role do Municipal governments have in climate protection? Learn how Municipalities can reduce GHG and benefit from it.

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Power Smart* for Business

Learn about the energy efficiency measures and improvements installed through Manitoba Hydro’s Power Smart programs. Find out what you can do, how you can save money, and how you can gain a competitive advantage while reducing greenhouse gases.

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Manitoba Hydro’s Earth Power Program

Learn about geothermal energy. How they work, the benefits, and the trends. Find out about Manitoba Hydro’s Commercial and Residential Earth Power Programs.

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Climate Change Solutions Already Exist

Most of the technical solutions to climate change already exist. There are so many attractive alternatives to fossil fuels out there. We just need to use them.

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