The term “sustainability” is not commonly associated with the real estate world. In reality there are many practices in this business that negatively impact the environment. Considering the current global climate crisis, it is now more important than ever to support individuals and businesses who are conducting themselves as sustainably as possible. This consideration should be at the forefront of every decision we make. Including choosing a realtor. To me, sustainability refers to examining the ecological impacts of my actions in my everyday life, whether it be in business, in extracurriculars, or in my home and adjusting them to help support a bright future for our planet.
We have all been taught that one of the best ways to live and conduct business more sustainably is to reduce our carbon footprint. When you work with me, you may notice that I often show up to meetings and appointments either by electric car or by bicycle in an effort to reduce my reliance on gasoline and reduce my emissions of greenhouse gases. My partner and I had solar panels installed on our roof in 2016 and I like to think that the sun powers my vehicle, of which I have saved approximately 4,140 Litres in gasoline since purchasing it in 2017. If weather and time permits, I may show up to meet with you on my bicycle. In fact I often am mistaken for a client or passerby as most people are not expecting their realtor to be riding a bike!
I do not pass out business cards, flyers, magnets, pens, water bottles or other swag. I believe these to be an old fashioned, obsolete method of advertising, creating unnecessary waste. For decades, it has been common practice to drop off business cards on the counter of a home that a realtor is showing to clients. With our new Sentri lockbox security systems on homes that are for sale, we are automatically updated when a realtor enters a home using a code on their mobile phone and this system is very successful. So successful, that I am actively advocating on the Guelph Realtor Board Facebook group that we cease the practice of leaving behind business cards at viewings.
One of the largest contributors to the climate emergency is the fashion industry. This industry contributes to increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, toxic substances in our land and waterways, microplastics in our oceans, and waste in our landfills. Not to mention the global social impacts of this industry. For these reasons, I choose not to buy new, fancy clothes to fit into the perception of how a real estate agent should dress. Instead, I wear out my clothes until they have holes and then I repair those holes (or not) and continue to wear them. If I need something new (to me), I shop second hand at local consignment and thrift stores.
In my personal life, biking is my passion. I mountain bike, road bike, trail bike and bike pack. I read about biking, I watch biking videos, I research biking. Did I mention I love to bike? This is more than a hobby of mine and is my individual form of meditation. There is no better way to clear your mind than out in nature and when you can connect to nature in this way, it can help you appreciate the beauty of our planet and it motivates me to do what I can to protect it. For this reason, my partner and I have enrolled our children in the Guelph Outdoor School from early ages. As the saying goes, “we do not own this planet, we only borrow it from our children”. I feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure that our children grow up with an appreciation for the Earth and I believe that educating and fostering a love for nature in my children is my biggest contribution to sustainability.
Scientists all over the world are predicting that there will be more plastic in our ocean than fish by 2050. Additionally, researchers have recently discovered that microplastics are present in the most remote places on our planet, from the deepest trench in the ocean to Antarctica, and are even in the air that we breathe. The zero waste movement is something that my partner and I discovered a few years ago. Although the term implies that the goal is to create no waste whatsoever, in today’s society that is not possible. We do however strive for as little household waste as possible in an effort to reduce our plastic consumption and reduce what is “thrown away” into our landfill. We are conscious consumers. We shop in bulk with reusable containers and bags whenever possible. We order take out in our own reusable containers. We repair household items where possible and if we need to replace anything in our home we always shop second hand. Any plastic that we inevitably end up with gets washed and reused as many times as possible before we have to throw it out or recycle. We support local and try our best to minimize food waste in our household.
Four years ago I learned that the animal agriculture industry contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all methods of transportation combined. It also is the largest contributor to global clear cutting (including the Amazon rainforest) and species extinction. Additionally, a vegan diet is less wasteful and uses less of the planet’s precious land, water and caloric energy. I felt that it was important for me to try out this way of eating and living. Today I am thriving on healthy plant-based meals and I feel good about doing my best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
I recognize that my lifestyle may not be feasible for everyone and I do my best to acknowledge and ensure that myself and my family are grateful for our position and our privilege. I do the best that I can with my resources to reduce my negative impacts on society and the environment in a holistic manner.
Wherever you are at in your sustainability journey, I look forward to meeting you there and working with you.
Whether it be your first time purchasing a home or if you are a seasoned buyer and seller, von Dehn Homes is here to guide you through the entire process. Our team is reliable and honest and we work ethically and with integrity. We practice sustainability in our everyday lives as well as in business. Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to work with diverse individuals throughout Southern Ontario.