Lesley Poh is a staff member in the College of the Arts
For Lesley, sustainability begins at home. She and her family have recycled newspapers, bottles and cans as long as Abbotsford has had a recycling program. Four years ago though she and her husband made a larger commitment to being more sustainable when they built their new home and installed on-demand hot water, energy efficient furnace with programmed thermostat, and the most energy efficient windows they could afford. “When we moved in, it felt good to know that we were doing what we could to control our energy consumption. Until recently, we’ve been so fortunate here in B.C. to have generated an excess of hydro electricity and sold it south of the border. Those times have changed; B.C. is now buying an increasingly proportionate amount of its power. We really shouldn’t need to build more inland hydro-electric dams. There are other sustainable energies to explore, like solar, wind, and maybe even power generated by ocean tides like a hydro-electric plant we visited while vacationing on the Bay of Fundy.”
“The new house was our catalyst for change. We both felt it was time for us to be more responsible about sustainability in general, so we decided to see how many other things we could do to reduce, re-use, and recycle. We started small by putting up an umbrella type clothes dryer, composting grass clippings, leaves, and kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells. We attended the Slow Food Cycle Tour in Chilliwack this year and were really intrigued by the worm farm demo. We have since stepped up our efforts and now compost paper egg cartons, vegetable based newsprint, and shredded cardboard as well. We have really happy worms!” With a recent announcement from the City of Abbotsford that sanitary sewer tax rates at 90% of incoming water volume will be imposed for 2012, (new bylaw No. 2053-2011) Lesley and her husband are now doing a cost analysis of installing a water collection system in the new year to service their expanding vegetable garden.
In May of 2011 Lesley decided to set a new challenge for herself and park her car during the work week. She challenged herself to walk to and from work, or take the bus. They live 5 km from the Abbotsford campus and she admitted that it was hard in the beginning. “Let’s face it, that King Road hill is a killer to face in the morning! I soon figured out the bus schedule so I could give myself a break when I wasn’t up to walking all the way.” On September 15th Lesley cancelled her UFV parking permit and now takes transit exclusively. “I have calculated (between gas and parking) a saving of at $275.00 in the first year.”
“I want to do the right thing and model sustainability for my grandchildren. They are the future for which I am accountable.” With eight grandchildren, Lesley has many of tomorrow’s citizens to teach about sustainability and accountability.