Promoting Environmentally Sustainable Habits within MARLANT
By Isaac Ketchum,
Environmental Engineering Student, MARLANT Safety and Environment
Canadian Environment Week is celebrated every year during the week of June 5th to coincide with United Nations World Environment Day (June 5th). It was created in 1971 to increase Canadians’ awareness of climate and pollution concerns. During Environment Week, Clean Air Day (June 7th) and World Oceans Day (June 8th) are also celebrated to help bring attention to the air we breathe and oceans upon which we operate.
This year during environment week, MARLANT Safety and Environment highlighted the importance of an environmentally sustainable lifestyle. We held a nature photo contest, aiming to engage DND and CAF members regarding the beauty of our natural environment. With almost 100 photos submitted by MARLANT personnel, three lucky entries were randomly selected to win a National Historic Site day-pass donated by Parks Canada for use within Nova Scotia.
MARLANT Safety and Environment also set up information booths at HMC Dockyard, Stadacona, and 12 Wing during the week to help engage and educate Defence Team members. Joining the team was staff from Base Safety and Environment, along with a representative of Johnson Controls (Energy Performance contractor) to speak with DND and CAF members.
The 2023 theme for World Environment Day was solutions to plastic pollution. The UN estimates that 19-23 million tonnes of plastic end up in lakes, rivers, and oceans annually. Advice was provided regarding small changes that personnel can make to reduce plastic, such as making conscious decisions to avoid purchasing products with unnecessary plastic packaging and recycling as much as possible.
Various other climate change and biodiversity topics were also discussed at our information booths, aligning with the daily emails forwarded to Defence Team members during Environment Week. This included the greening of procurement, decarbonization plans, reducing waste and energy, minimizing introduction of invasive species, and climate resilient assessments for infrastructure and operations.
Ru Yap with Johnson Controls focussed on promoting energy efficient behaviors to help reduce emissions and meet Canada’s goal of net-zero by 2050. Ru sponsored an activity which compared the energy use of various day-to-day actions, and had Defence Team members guess which actions used more energy. Participants’ names were entered into a raffle for a chance to win energy-efficiency related prizes such as a solar powered mobile charger, smart plugs, LED light bulbs, and a power bar.
“We want military members and DND employees to understand what consumes the majority of electricity used. This activity allowed Defence Team members to test their assumptions regarding energy use at home as it relates to lighting, heating, cooling, appliances and electronics. For example, more than 40 percent of household energy use in North America comes from heating and cooling our homes,” Yap said.
“If we change our behavior slightly, such as wearing a sweater indoors instead of turning up the thermostat, it could really make a difference towards energy use and utility bills. Overall, there were many engaging discussions about energy efficient technology and energy saving behaviors. We are currently implementing a number of energy efficiency upgrades in our local defence facilities – as efforts continue to reduce energy consumption at work, we hope these conversations help encourage energy-saving action at home.”