Dear Canada, Our Forests are Burning. Here’s what we can do

Tranquil lake scene in Canada with children

As a Canadian parent the scope and severity of this year’s wildfires, past catastrophic floods, and the UN IPCC reports, all keep me awake at night. But today, it isn’t fear that drives me, it is clear-eyed optimism and an undeniable urgency.

With over 400 wildfires burning in Canada the impacts of climate change are clear. Impacts that cannot be contained by a nation’s border. The effects of burning forests are showing up much further down in the US too.

This article from the David Suzuki Foundation simplifies the science and the connection between climate change and wild fires. The article is 5 years old and the situation around Canada has certainly worsened since then.

(This article was written as a follow-up to the Maple + Marigold newsletter, June 10, 2023 edition. Sign up for your copy.)

Here are a few things that I have shared before that can be implemented in our lives immediately:

  • Protect trees, fresh water and biodiversity, In Toronto and the area — that’s the Greenbelt ( Find what you can do in your area to protect nature. For infrastructure, schools and hospitals, let’s seek an alternative that supports both people and the planet.
  • Use what you have before you head to the store. This sounds a little simplistic, right? Except that the impacts of over-consumption are being felt in every industry around the world – from fashion to food to consumer products and more.
  • Reduce waste, food and otherwise. Establish Buy Nothing, Sell Nothing groups in your community. They make swapping and giving away so much easier.
  • No more single-use, disposable plastic. Plastic production and disposal are one of the largest obstacles ahead of us in climate change, and reducing our dependence on the convenience they brings is a giant leap in the direction of progress.

Lastly, individual action is necessary but it’s not enough on its own. We need corporations of all sizes and governments at all levels to do their part. Here are some more ideas for big steps that will make an enormous difference. Take what you works for you and share it:

Push federal, provincial and municipal leaders to be daring and brave. It’s crucial to:

  • cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry immediately
  • drastically reduce packaging in food and all else
  • swap to recycled paper and compostable materials

Buy from companies only if they are doing their part to reduce packaging and plastic use, and follow fair trade and fair hiring practices.

Most large-sized companies are not doing their part though. Here’s a transformative suggestion: boycott companies that produce plastic/ plastic-wrapped items and do not have an end-of-life disposal plan in place.

A final note about recycling. It’s a 1980s-style solution that wasn’t designed to handle the scale of plastic in circulation today. We must do better.

Questions + Comments

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Food Writer, Climate Advocate, New cookbook - Good Food, Healthy Planet - out April 2024
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Diana Muresan
Staying Grounded logo

Inspiration for living an abundant, delicious and doable life that brings people and planet closer together.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Use what you have, reuse what you can, reduce what you throw away, and repurpose the rest.

Good Food Healthy Planet Book

From Food Writer and Climate Advocate comes this Simple-to-follow Cookbook.


Good Food, Healthy Planet

Your Kitchen Companion to Simple, Practical, Sustainable Cooking  

Staying Grounded logo

Subscribe to the newsletter

As a subscriber you will receive a fortnightly-ish newsletter about food, people and planet, and the stories and science behind it all. You'll also receive news about Maple + Marigold and Puneeta, as well as tasty recipes, health-boosting foods, sustainable swaps and tips to live well.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.