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Embracing the “Three R’s”

Embracing the “Three R’s”

I was 11 years old the first time I heard of the “Three R’s”; my sister came home from school and enthusiastically explained about reusing, reducing and recycling. We set up several blue bins and began filling them with plastics and other disposable items.

It seems recycling has been the easiest R to embrace, given it most resembles the act of throwing something away. But what about the other Rs? Reducing our consumption and reusing things we’re conditioned to see as garbage requires we change not just a habit but a lifestyle. Like most of us, I am guilty of defaulting to convenient yet environmentally harmful choices – air travel, a home heated to T-shirt weather, grapes in December…

In 2020, the library aims to increase programming around climate action, with an emphasis on action at the local level. Currently, the library features a “Zero Waste” display, highlighting furoshiki and other gift-wrapping techniques with scarves and reusables. “But the daily planetary bad-news bulletins are daunting,” you say. “What difference will a swaddled gift make?”

But the benefit is psychological, too. After all, how can we imagine transforming our way of life if we can’t even part with wrapping paper?

So my challenge to myself – and to others – is to ditch the wrapping paper (literal and metaphorical). While reducing and reusing may sound challenging, there is a substantial social benefit, too. The Repair Cafe, which happens the last Saturday of every month at the Gibsons Public Library from 1-5 pm, buzzes with social activity. Starting Dec. 28, they will be joined by Fibreshed where the public is invited to mend, stitch and patch our much-loved clothing, reducing textile waste and promoting a culture that values sustainability. The Intergenerational Knitting program begins Tuesday, Jan. 14, where children and adults transform donated yarn into practical and artistic creations, with many more opportunities in the works.

See you at the library.

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