If you want your day-to-day life to be more eco-friendly, there are a few simple ways to start. Shopping secondhand, joining a farm share, cycling instead of driving and eating more vegetarian meals are all simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint. But if you want to take your eco-living a step further, you’re in luck: Toronto is full of joyful and encouraging spaces to gain more eco-friendly skills.
Learn to mend damaged clothes or make your own
The fast fashion industry is damaging, and sustainable fashion can be expensive. Learning to fix your existing clothes (or make your own) is another option—and it’s also a satisfying and fun one. Parkdale’s The Workroom is the perfect place to learn. With everything from denim mending to sweater mending and sewing machine basics, you can learn to give your clothes a longer life and create custom clothes for yourself.
Join the movement to make urban spaces more welcoming to pollinators
Sinking your hands into the earth and giving native plants a chance to thrive is a satisfying way to connect with nature, and it is also beneficial to our ecosystem. Native plant gardening, also known as rewilding, is about creating welcoming spaces for pollinators, one plant at a time. If you’re not sure how to get started, Toronto’s Project Swallowtail can help. They have all the resources you need to begin, whether as an individual or a community group.
Help divert toy waste
For every endless shelf of shiny new toys in a shop, there are exponentially more (often perfectly good) toys sitting in the landfill. Help divert toy waste with Tiny Toy co.’s workshops, to see firsthand how our culture’s toy trash can be repurposed for play-based learning. Workshops include ‘Diverting toy waste from landfills’, ‘teaching with loose parts’ and ‘upcycled make and take craft projects’.
Learn to repair your bike
Riding your bike instead of driving not only feels great, it’s also much better for the planet. And learning how to do your own repairs is even more satisfying. Evergreen Brickworks’ Gateway Bicycle Hub offers drop-in hours for DIY bike repair. Staff and volunteers are available to support you as you make your repairs, so you can learn by doing with the guidance of experts. The major bonus is that you’ll never be stuck on a trail or the street with a flat tire again. You can be prepared with your own DIY repair kit and an arsenal of new skills.
Attend a repair cafe
Have a broken blender, toaster or small furniture item? Don’t toss it! Bring your broken items to Creative Reuse Toronto’s storefront location (68 Abell St) from noon to 4pm every Sunday. Each week, they fix small appliances, home electronics, clothing, jewellery and small furniture—so you can extend the life of your most loved and used items. You might even pick up a new knack for small repairs while you’re there (and you can lend your own skills to help with the repairs, too).
Take one of Toronto Public Library’s environmental education classes
Make use of your local library. Not only can you get all your books there (and in many cases, sports equipment and technology rentals) you can also attend the workshops on offer. The ‘Our Fragile Planet’ environmental education series at Toronto Public Library includes workshops on everything from growing your own food to repurposing old clothing.