By Greg Cowan, Habitat for Humanity Ontario Gateway North
Maybe it’s naïve to think a donated doorknob could change the world.
Perhaps it’s naïve to think such an action will have any effect on the Earth at all. However, within the Habitat for Humanity Huntsville ReStore family, we operate under a different assumption. Conceivably willfully naïve of our impact on the global environment. Full of conviction and effort nonetheless.
Earth Day in its current form started in the late 1960s in an effort to create a general education forum on a complicated global issue: environmental sustainability. The date still acts as a lightning rod to spark discussion and promote action. The Habitat for Humanity ReStores provide a forum to practice the ideals and objectives set forth year round.
By selling donated and gently used household and construction goods that may have otherwise been destined for a landfill, the ReStores are indeed impacting local waste management and sustainability. Additionally, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers donate end-of-line, scratch-and-dent, discontinued inventory, paint mis-tints and customer returns for resale.
All proceeds from sales at Habitat for Humanity ReStores are directed to the local Habitat affiliate to support its building program. That’s the model, reduce, reuse, recycle, reproduce, repackage, retrofit, raise funds, build. And it works. Each year, the more than 75 Habitat for Humanity ReStores together divert thousands of tonnes of waste from Canadian landfills.
Earth Day has never been about facts and figures. It surely will not be about self-congratulatory keynote speeches. It’s about driving conversation, ideas, and ideals. It can be about changing perception, about reconfiguring our own defaults.
Maybe next time those doorknobs will not be looked at as a nuisance, a problem, surplus junk – garbage. Hopefully, the owner will think of the ReStore as a place to unload those unwanted doorknobs. The ReStores even do pick-ups.
So while it could be naïve to believe a donated doorknob will change the world, it’s equally important to realize the thoughts, beliefs and context which prompted the donation is the very start of any real change. So today let’s continue to change.
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free, twice-weekly newsletter here.