Our Fragile Planet – Join Us for Free Environmental Programs

March 31, 2017 | Tita

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Our planet is facing unprecedented challenges to its well-being including climate change, pollution, species extinction and habitat destruction to name a few. We have a responsibility to mitigate – and reverse – the damage wherever possible. Join us for free, engaging programs around the city and learn how you can make a difference.

Let’s start with the basics. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? Reuse broken home appliances, electronics, clothing, computers, jewellery and more by learning how to fix them yourself at our Repair Cafes. Can’t fix the electronics? Drop off your electronic waste at our Inorganic Market so they don't end Repair_Cafeup in a landfill site. Plastic pollution has been reported in all bodies of water and releases chemical contaminants including BPA, lead and pesticides. Learn more.

Did you know that the three Rs have been updated to include 'refuse' (just say no to excess packaging and plastic bags) and 'rot', as in dealing with your organic materials through composting? Learn how to do it right with Composting 101; end up with rich top dressing for your garden – and a better harvest come fall.

GardeningWhat better way to start helping the planet but through something we do three times a day, anyway? Learn how to grow your own food; why buying local is better; and how to choose the best foods for the environment. Talk to a master gardener about a weedless garden or how to use pollinators – bees, butterflies and more – for a healthy ecosystem. You can also get tips for low maintenance gardening. Intensive agriculture and industry are responsible for the prevalence of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, which are toxic and are taking over our waterways. Learn how you can help.

Part of protecting our beautiful planet is appreciating what we already have. "Our oceans are an amazing treasure of biodiversity, healthy food and awe" says marine biologist and visual artist Andrea Seibt, who is speaking at St. Lawrence branch. Closer to home, learn about the Bruce Trail, the oldest hiking trail in Canada, with 890 km Bruce_Trailof trail between Niagara and Tobermory. Built and maintained by volunteers, it spans the spectacular Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. 

Explore our lost rivers buried under curving streets; they come above ground only in High Park – or sometimes in our basements! Learn about the unexpected flora and fauna that can be found in High Park from local naturalist Richard Aaron. Or explore Accidental Parkland, a documentary project on the changing nature and value of Toronto's urban waterways, both waterfront and ravines.

Environmental education is key to us making the effort to protect our flora and fauna. Wild Ontario from the University of Guelph teaches us about native birds of prey, bringing along non-releasable birds who have been through hard times – stolen from their homes, hit by cars or even shot! Want Oberon_owl_birdmore bird talk? Birding 101 gives you the basics of birdwatching.

Nature has so much for us to learn. Discover how 3.8 billion years of its "research & development" is inspiring engineers, scientists and architects to use biomimicry (from the Greek words bios for life and mimesis for imitation) to  develop everything from gecko-like adhesive tape to "echolocating" canes for the blind by imitating designs from nature.

We have a responsibility to think beyond our own backyard and recognize climate change as the greatest threat facing humanity. Extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency. Our planet is heating up because of human-caused carbon pollution, both due to fossil fuel use and animal agriculture and it’s putting our water, food and health at risk. We can solve this!

Information is power. Check out this presentation from Environmental Defence, where they discuss the economic and environmental risks of tar sands pipelines. How we can begin a managed decline of the tar sands and still build a thriving clean economy? Environmental Defence's toxics workshop provides information on the health and environmental risks of chemicals we're exposed to from Blue_Whale_Storyflame retardants to phthalates, lurking in furniture and personal care products.

Atmospheric pollution has created extraordinary challenges for the Arctic in particular. Learn about climate change, ozone depletion and the future of our planet. What are the impacts of pollution and climate change on keystone species like the blue whale?

George_KourounisFrom chasing hurricanes and tornadoes, to exploring some of the most ecologically-sensitive places on Earth, George Kourounis of stormchaser.ca is best known for the TV series "Angry Planet". Come hear George speak from the front lines, documenting natural disasters and climate change for almost two decades.

And of course, we have children’s programming too. Learn about misunderstood urban wildlife from a Toronto Botanical Gardens presenter through storytelling, nature artifacts, hands-on activities and audio-visual clips. Or celebrate Earth Day at Jones Branch with a fun craft to take home.

Want to learn even more? We also offer a wide range of books, magazines, DVDs and evideos for you to explore, enough to keep you engaged long beyond Earth Day. Our thanks to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for supporting many of these programs.