Family’s climate action journey: From carbon cutting challenge to sustainable living

Canadian Geographic’s Live Net Zero Challenge has transformed one Winnipeg family’s carbon footprint and inspired climate action.

Six months ago Winnipeggers Brigette DePape and Kari Rodrigues set out to cut down on their carbon emissions as part of the challenge and now they are beginning to see the fruits of their labour.

“It was like, okay, this is the moment of truth, have we reduced our emissions? And we were excited to see that we reduced our emissions by almost half,” said DePape.

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Depape says because they’re new parents, they’re already in a learning mindset, so they were primed to tackle a new heat pump and composting program along with car seats and diaper changing.

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“She literally went from no words to about 60 words in the span of a year. We’re also learning new language of climate action. And similar to how she’s learning how to walk, we’re learning how to walk the walk of climate action,” Depape said.

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The challenge, which comes with a $50,000 prize for the winner pushed them to reconsider all aspects of their home life from putting in triple pane windows to keep the heat in to opting for a vacation closer to home, rather than taking a flight.

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One big change they noted was going down from two gas-powered cars to one electric car. “Just from the one car to one car comparison, we’ve probably been saving about 100 dollars a month in gas, and then when you factor in the fact we got rid of two cars, it’s probably closer to $170, $180 dollars a month.” said Rodrigues.

The couple say it’s more important than ever to understand their emissions as the impacts of climate change grow and DePape says they are focused on creating a better world for their daughter.

“I want her to be able to appreciate the beauty of nature, and to be able to go for a walk in the forest, and to have abundant water around us, and clean air. That is the future I want to have for her.”

The challenge wraps up this week and whether they take home the top prize or not the couple says reducing their emissions so much means they’ve already won.

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— With files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

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