Leaside Green

Leaside Green

Sharrows (pictured here) indicate where cyclists should ride. For motorists, they are a reminder to share the road. Photo City of Toronto.
Biking to activities can reduce traffic congestion, gas consumption and exhaust. Photo City of Toronto.

Kids say the darndest things. Over breakfast with my son one morning, he piped up: “I just read an article in a scientific journal that said the earth could be uninhabitable by 2050.”

Ouch! That certainly got my attention! All I could think of was that I likely won’t be here. But he will. And all the time spent focusing on his health, academics, sports, socializing and employment might all be for nought if climate change begins to destroy the world as we know it. I thought a litter-free Leaside was important. Time to broaden my scope.

Coincidentally, Debora Kuchme, who writes The Leaside Gardener column, contacted me about my September column on Leaside Lessens, and suggested we discuss our mutual environmental concerns. Debora continues to call attention to the negative effects of climate change and the importance of trees, native plants, vertical gardening, pollinator gardens and water conservation.

What would happen if Debora and I joined forces? You would get Leaside Life’s new eco-duo, bringing environmental awareness along with positive and easy solutions for residents and businesses in our community to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change and slow down global warming. Here is our vision:

• Lead by example to inspire Leasiders to be part of the climate solution by taking simple actions.

• Share stories of Leasider champions who are already committed and achieving positive results.

• Show support for City Council’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ and ‘Green Ways Initiative’ to commit to a net zero carbon future by reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste diversion.

• See Leaside recognized for community leadership in climate solutions.

To kick off our first column, Debora and I thought we would share some simple ‘green’ things our families are doing which are good for the environment and for our wallets.


• Use my refillable Keurig coffee pod and compost the coffee grains to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and create compost for natural fertilizer.

• Planted fruit trees in my yard – pear, cherry, apple – to help with greenhouse gas emissions, provide a home for pollinators and an organic food source.

• Replaced my old gas furnace and AC unit with high efficiency models, installed a programmable thermostat and ceiling fans to reduce our consumption of electricity and natural gas.   

• Separate recyclables, especially soft plastic bags, to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. 

Husband Doug

• Walks or rides his bike to activities to reduce traffic congestion, gas consumption and exhaust.

• Returns his wine bottles to keep recyclables out of landfills.

• Takes a three-minute shower to reduce gas and water consumption.

• Keeps his car serviced and tires inflated to decrease gas consumption and exhaust pollution.

• Walks when golfing rather than using a golf cart to conserve electricity and gas.

Son Mitch

• Doesn’t litter to keep the neighbourhood clean of pollutants. 

• Works from home or carpools to reduce traffic, gas consumption and exhaust pollution.

• Does laundry in cold water, speed cycle, during off-peak hours to reduce water usage and energy consumption.

• Puts dishwasher on when full, in off-peak hours, to maximize water and energy consumption.

• Green-bins food scraps when cooking and cleaning up to divert them from landfills.


• Plants a drought-tolerant garden and harvests rainwater to conserve tap water and reduce bills.

• Never uses man-made or chemical fertilizers or pesticides so as not to harm the entire ecosystem by entering our water supply and poisoning wildlife.

• Added two more native plant species, asters and milkweed, to create a naturally diverse garden.

• Uses a reusable water bottle with her own filtered water.

• Uses solar lights in her garden.

On their own, each of these efforts may seem tiny, but collectively, they have a huge impact on the wellbeing of our planet.

Our December column will feature ideas for a ‘green’ Christmas.

Do you have any green tips you’d like to share? Are you a business with gifts you’d like to feature in our local Green Market? Are you making any green resolutions for the New Year? Let us know at …and Go Green!

About Debora Kuchme and Cheryl Vanderburg 7 Articles
Leaside Life’s new eco-duo, Cheryl Vanderburg and Debora Kuchme, are excited to be working together on a new column, Leaside Green, to bring environmental awareness along with positive and easy solutions to create and celebrate a greener and healthier Leaside. Debora, The Leaside Gardener, continues to use her background in design, manufacturing and horticulture to bring creative and practical ideas to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change. And Cheryl continues her Leaside Litterati quest by ‘plogging’ while out and about in the neighbourhood.