If we know one thing, it’s that people in large, urban centers like Toronto are often at high risk of pollution exposure, breathing problems and other issues caused by a lack of natural resources. Fortunately, Toronto is continuously working on green efforts to increase the benefits of the area and protect the health of its residents.

As a local resident, you can also contribute to Toronto’s efforts to become one of the world’s eco-friendliest cities.

Here are some ways Canadians can contribute to the city’s green initiatives, both for the sake of nature and for the benefit of their fellow residents.

1. Contribute to Toronto’s Impressive Urban Forest

If you were to see Toronto from a bird’s eye view, you’d quickly notice a whole lot of green surrounding the city’s buildings. Roughly one-fifth of the entire city is covered by a green canopy, and it has more green space than many other cities, including Paris and New York.

In fact, there are roughly 10.2 million trees in Toronto, 4.1 million of which are on public lands.

What Can You Do?

Have some extra space on your property for a couple of green friends?

You can actually request that the city plant a tree on the road allowance in front of your home or business. There are also plenty of opportunities for tree planting and stewardship in Toronto, allowing you to contribute to the ever-growing tree canopy.

2. Update Your Older Building to Meet Modern Environmental Standards

Although many new buildings are constructed with sustainable materials and more eco-friendly technology, Toronto doesn’t want to stop with upcoming construction. The city is also working to give environmental makeovers to old buildings that have not kept pace with energy efficiency standards.

In 2011, the non-profit Tower Renewal Partnership was formed to start transforming affordable, post-war apartments into housing with innovative green strategies. Thousands of buildings in the Toronto area were built between the 1940s and 1980s and their utility systems need serious updates.

What Can You Do?

Live in an older building that has an outdated HVAC system or other kinds of old environmental tech?

Fortunately, your HVAC Toronto company can help in reducing carbon emissions in older buildings to help the city go above and beyond with environmental progress.

You can also look into the Live Green Toronto project. Grants of up to $7,500 are available for resident-led climate action projects in Neighborhood Improvement Areas.

3. Find Ways to Cut Your Greenhouse Emissions  

toronto skyline at night - ways toronto residents can contribute to ongoing green efforts

Back in 2015, TransformTO, the City of Toronto, and The Atmospheric Fund introduced an ambitious goal: to cut greenhouse emissions in the city by 80 percent by at least 2050.

This bold action is being guided by an environmental road map. According to the original plans, community-wide greenhouse gas emissions should be cut by at least 65 percent in the next 11 years by retrofitting all existing buildings to achieve the highest emission reductions feasible.

What Can You Do?

The city has gone as far as to list what local residents can do to contribute to this carbon footprint reduction goal. Here are the top steps you can take to cut your own emissions:

  • Retrofit your home by getting a home energy audit.
  • Upgrade your insulation and appliances to waste less energy.
  • Reduce your energy and water use during peak hours.
  • Install a programmable or smart thermostat.
  • Use LED bulbs and unplug any electronics when not in use.
  • Consider replacing your roof with an eco-friendlier option.

4. Volunteer with the City’s Green Sector

As of 2019, Toronto’s green sector employs more than 29,000 people. According to the city, “economic decision-makers realize that protecting the environment is also good for creating jobs and local wealth.”

What Can You Do?

Although you might not work directly for the city’s green sector, you can still do much to support these workers and the efforts they have made. Consider attending one of the city’s Live Green Toronto Events. Check the city’s festival and event calendar for a year-round guide to which events are happening where.

You can also volunteer with Live Green Toronto. These volunteers work to educate residents on the city’s environmental initiatives. All of the training sessions are drop-in. You can also sign up for shifts to work the Live Green Toronto events throughout the year.

Will Toronto be carbon neutral by 2050 as some claim that it will be?

The results of all these impressive green efforts remain to be seen, but it’s clear that Toronto has responded to the world’s “climate emergency” through bold action. With the help of its residents, the city can make great strides toward becoming one of the eco-friendliest in the world.

Feature image: Nextvoyage; Image 1: Roberto Nickson