A call to green malls (Day 320)…

January 14, 2008

eaton centre

I was at a dinner not so long ago where, not surprisingly, the conversation turned to the environment. It’s sort of funny: whenever I let slip that I’m doing this challenge, inevitably the person I’m speaking to feels compelled to list off all the green things he or she is doing, which in turn means I’m supposed to nod approvingly and maybe give them a gold star (OK, kidding — but really, it’s kind of a conversation stopper, unless they also happen to be living without a fridge).

Anyway, back to dinner: I was all prepared for this woman to start telling me about how she recycles everything and this one time she picked up some litter she found on the street and she always turns the thermostat down at night or whatever, but she surprised me. Turns out, she’s in the business of green malls, working for a firm called Ivanhoe Cambridge, which owns a lot of the shopping centres here in Ontario and is apparently quite the leader when it comes to all things eco.

She explained to me how they’re in the process of switching the light bulbs in all their buildings to compact fluorescents and how they purchased more than 11,000 megawatt hours of energy from Bullfrog Power, which will reduce CO2 emissions by about 8,000 tonnes. They’re also pretty forward thinking when it comes to enforcing recycling and tracking energy usage.

The only crappy thing is, Ivanhoe Cambridge’s one Toronto mall is Dixie Outlet, which is pretty damn far away in the ‘burbs — it would mean driving rather than cycling to, say, the Eaton Centre (also, upon reflection, the Eaton Centre does have a lot of natural light, so perhaps it doesn’t suck as much electricity as one might assume).

Either way, the conversation reminded me about how every single decision we make can affect the environment, so we shouldn’t just be thinking about the stores we go to, but the malls those stores are in. From now on, then, if I do need to go to a shopping mall, I’m going to make sure it’s one that cares about both its shoe stores and its carbon footprint.

Photo of the Eaton Centre (the Canadian geese aren’t real, by the way, they’re part of a sculpture) courtesy of Kurtis Billard on Flickr